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Sunday, November 27, 2016




Many of us remembered Charles from his previous visit and were very pleased to welcome him again from Northumberland.

First he showed us as a photograph on his phone of the Italian scene he was going to paint. This was not referred to again. He then made a pencil drawing (using an Ikea Pencil!) of the main features, deliberately pressing hard on the outlines of buildings.

His basic palette consists of the following colours - Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Alizarin, Light Red, Yellow Ochre, Sand, Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber. He also uses only two brushes - a 1/4 inch and a 3/4 inch flat. Colours are mixed first and water added after to get the correct consistency. This gives deeper colour mixes.

With the 3/4 inch brush he painted the sky with Cobalt Blue mixed with a very small amount of Alizarin running down into Yellow Ochre on wet paper and leaving a small area of Yellow Ochre at the base. He then took out clouds with a damp brush.

Next the distant hills were painted in Cobalt Blue and Alizarin taking out some colour to give shape to the hills and adding Yellow Ochre and finally Hookers Green to form the valleys. Light Red added in places to Hookers Green on Yellow Ochre gives a variation in colour. All the mixing is done on the wet paper and Charles continues working on another area of the painting to allow the first to dry naturally - using a hair drier removes the size on the paper.

Continuing with the buildings Charles put on a light wash of Yellow Ochre and added Sand colour on top. He then dropped more Yellow Ochre and Light Red, Raw Umber and Cobalt Blue and blended them using a damp brush. Windows, shutters etc were carefully avoided. Charles rarely uses masking fluid as it leaves a hard edge. Cobalt Blue and Light red produced good shadow colour for walls etc as did Cobalt Blue, Alizarin and Burnt Sienna for shutters and edge of roof.

Returning to the foreground hills etc Charles used Hookers Green for these and the Cypress trees, producing shadows with Burnt Sienna and Cobalt Blue.

By working rapidly so that the paper is really wet mixing the colours does not produce "cauliflowers"

For the foreground stippling was the main method used to get the paint on the paper starting with a creamy Yellow Ochre followed by Hookers green and then Cobalt Blue to produce depth. The wall in the very front needed Yellow Ochre and Sand with shadows of Raw Umber and Burnt Sienna .

Charles and Painting

Italian Scene

To finish the first half Charles showed us how to paint trees using a rigger brush and a flat. The main thing to remember here is "not to fiddle" Rocks ( using Yellow Ochre and Ultramarine with Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna for shadows) and a dry stone wall (Sand then Sand and Cobalt Blue) were produced with flourishes of his credit card. Using triangles and rectangles he also produced some geese, sheep and cows. He continued with a snow scene and YP people.

Helpful tips

After the break Charles painted a moorland scene with a path in the foreground.

Firstly the sky was painted using a base of Yellow Ochre with Burnt Sienna above on wet paper Then Ultramarine was put on the top part bringing it down to the base and mopping up drips. Then a richer mix of Burt Sienna and Ultramarine was added for the cloud bases and white taken out above with a brush. The "rain" then drifts down.

Yellow Ochre Burnt Sienna and Hookers green were used on the mid and distant ground with Ultramarine in the far distance. The distant path was painted with muddy water and the near path with Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna flicking up the edges. The fence posts were also added. Finally Charles surprised us all by scratching out highlights in the foreground vegetation using his fingernails!

Moorland Scene

Charles is a very entertaining speaker and gave us plenty of information about handling water colours. In fact, it was one of the best evenings we have had and we are very grateful to Charles for travelling all the way from the North to visit us!

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