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Monday, May 30, 2016

Mike Skidmore painting Still Life


Mike is a professional artist who paints mainly portraits and still life subjects. As well as demonstrations Mike runs excellent workshops and on-line tutorials.  After attending art college in the 70's which sapped his confidence Mike now teaches his students to have confidence in themselves and not be too self critical - " look at the "best bits" and not the others and try to get more of them."


Starting with a pencil drawing of the subject on canvas Mike uses a grid system to transfer it from a photograph. The photograph is small as this helps to get the subject with the correct detail for the optimum viewing distance as the artist can only see a small amount of detail when working. The canvas is primed with a very thin layer of Paynes Grey and Titanium White. Then using Paynes Grey and Raw Umber the shapes of the gasses were painted in. Highlights were added with dilute acrylic Titanium White using a sable brush trying to get the basic shapes not an exact copy.

Mike uses a limited palette of 4 or 5 colours.  If he finds a pleasing mix of colours he stores the mix in a jar in the freezer for possible future use!

Continuing with oil paint Mike mixes a very thin glaze of Ivory Black and Raw Umber with a medium of:- 4 parts real turps : 3 parts linseed oil (boiled - raw takes too long to dry) : 3 parts Dammar varnish : 1 part Venetian turps. The final glaze is done with a blending brush. Using a cloth Mike wipes out some of the lighter areas on the glasses then softens the edges. The outlines of the glasses are then re-affirmed using a mix of Ivory Black and Raw Umber. Raw umber is used to put in the darker tones over the wet paint of the glaze using fairly thin paint.

Continuing to the highlights Mike puts in a darker base tone by  using thin Titainium White  which picks up some of the underlying colour . He then adds slightly thicker paint until the main highlight is reached which is painted with a really thick coat. This helps the highlights stand out from the darker areas.

 The cloth is painted flat first then a glaze put over the shadow areas. The highlights are put in using the sable brush and thick paint.  A mix of Raw Umber, Ivory Black and Titanium White are  used to paint the cloth between the shadows. Then using the blending brush white is worked over the shadows to soften them following the shape of the folds with the brush. Finally more highlights are added as necessary.


This was one of the best demonstrations we have seen. Mike is very informative and with his humorous way of teaching we learnt much during a very entertaining evening.


Final Painting        

Tea Break

Monday, May 23, 2016

Adventurous Artists in May


The sketching group met at the Testwood Lakes on Friday 13th. Most of us tackled the challenge of drawing trees and foliage and afterwards had a refreshment break in the visitor's centre.

The next meeting of the Adventurous Artists Sketching Group will be on FRIDAY  10th JUNE at ST. MICHAELS CHURCH, in the centre of LYNDHURST at 10.15 for 10.30 am. The church has a marvellous Pre-Raphaelite interior.

Parking on the outskirts at Boulton's Bench is free but the central car park has charges.  

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Fiona Peart Demonstration

Water-colour Demonstration by Fiona Peart

We welcomed Fiona accompanied by her husband, the well known artist Terry Harrison, to our April Demonstration evening. 
Fiona studied painting and drawing at the Flemish Academy of Fine Art in Leuven in Belgium and went on to become well known as a painter, publishing books and demonstrating and running workshops to adults in this country and abroad. Her aim for the evening was to show the difference in technique used for painting outside and in the studio.
The subject for the first part of the evening was a street scene with horse-riders and cars but based on a photograph and painted in the studio. An outline drawing was made on Bockingford 140 lbs cotton rag paper and the highlights masked out. The colours are then worked out using a limited palette. The house colours are brown and gold darkened with blue/violet for shadows. The skin colour is orange/blue and foliage green/yellow The horses are brown/orange and the road blue with gold.
The paper is attached by the top only with masking tape then wetted and, when fully stretched, taped on the other sides. Large washes are put on over the paper covering the background houses, horses and road. The aim is to get rid of any white paper (the highlights are under the masking fluid). The paper is then dried. If painting outside everything has to be done in one layer but in the studio layers of washes are used.
Fiona then continued to paint the rest of the picture using the flat of the brush to move the paint around - if the tip is used more paint is added. She used the stippling brush for the foliage using an edge of paper to make a clean edge on the roof. Nothing should be painted too accurately and she puts colours on quickly next to each other so that they mix slightly. The shadows were painted last and the paper dried thoroughly. Finally the masking fluid was removed using a tissue or handkerchief and very bright areas toned down. As a last touch the reins were added with a pointer brush.
        Fiona's next painting was of children playing in the sea as a sketch in water-colour. First plenty of colour was mixed on the palette. Fiona uses two brushes for her outdoor sketching - one for flesh colour ( Indian Red or Burnt Sienna or pink and gold darkened with her "bluebell" colour)  and the other for clothes etc.
        She starts with the hair and uses the brushes loaded with the appropriate colour to paint the rest of the body but painting only where there are shadows. This allows the viewer to complete the picture in their mind for themselves A single stroke is used for each limb varying the pressure on the brush to alter the width. Several subjects are used to complete a picture of "one" person. The colours are allowed to mix and run to give more interest. Finally shadows are painted in using the brush held sideways. Water can be added at a later time.
        Fiona is an outstanding teacher and demonstrator. We all learnt a great deal and had a brilliantly entertaining and memorable evening so "Thank you very much" Fiona!  

Finished horserider painting

Tea Break
End of the Evening