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Thursday, November 3, 2016


  Dogs, especially Red Setters, are Dave's favourite subjects as well as sea and sky. As he hadn't brought a dog he would show us how he paints the sea and sky.

Dave is keen on recycling and will paint over canvases a few times to re-use them. This he had already done using a red-biased blue ie. ultramarine. Landscape is the preferred format as this gives a large expanse of sea. The paints are mixed in small plastic pots so that the paint can be kept workable by storing the pot upside down. The brushes used are synthetic watercolour ones. Paints are massaged or shaken first before opening to ensure that the pigment is well mixed with the base and care taken on closing to turn the lid back a part turn. Save old lids to replace damaged ones.


Using titanium white, ultramarine and cobalt red deep Dave darkened the top half of the painting, blending the paint in with a 2 inch brush. The proportion of water and paint used differs with the size of canvas to be covered and judging this becomes  easier with experience. Dave works in long strokes covering the whole of the canvas and finds this is easier when standing up. The paint is put on the side of the picture and then blended in.

 Transparent colours mix in with the underlying layer to give a new colour eg. yellow over blue gives green.  This was done in the lower part of the painting. The opaqueness of a colour can be increased by mixing with white. To blend these colours Dave started in the centre and worked outwards across the whole canvas. A few reflections were produced by dragging the paint vertically downwards. When the water is placid the reflections are shorter. After this stage Dave dried the canvas by waving it in the air.


  Clouds add depth to a picture. The clouds are smallest near the horizon with the largest taking up the top 2/3rds of the sky area. The shapes of the large clouds vary greatly and to help this effect clouds could be painted in the different shapes of eg. countries. They are roughly painted in grey first using a mix of the previous ultramarine and cobalt red colour with cadmium yellow and lemon yellow using a 1 inch round brush. The smaller basal clouds are painted using the same colours.  The clouds are blended into the background at the base. The shapes must be different with the edges going towards a vanishing point and light source below the horizon. This will produce a sense of disappearing into the distance. The edge of the cloud is brightened with white which is blended in with fingers, tissues or sponges etc.


  The sea is painted using viridian or hookers green plus ultramarine with some titanium white added to show up the colours. If the light source is on the lower right above the horizon then white is blended in with the fingers on the appropriate side.  


  Returning to the clouds Dave used burnt sienna to build up the colours above the opaque base. Blended in with the fingers this will change the basic colour to a range of greys. Repeated below the horizon it will produce a good reflection effect.


  The next feature to be painted were the sun's rays. Taking a small amount of titanium white Dave brushed rays away from the light source then wiped them away with a dry cloth. This process was repeated about eight times giving a blurred edge to the rays. To get the broadening effect use a flat brush on edge near the light source then twist it over onto it's flat surface as it moves away from the source.

 Dave usually has three paintings on the go at one time as he paints about three layers  for the background and allows each layer to dry overnight. He also pointed out that the opacity or transparency of a colour will vary with the different make of paint and advised making a colour wheel ( over black lines ) to test this.

  Finally Dave summarised the different steps used to produce a painting. Firstly the background is layered on then the clouds are roughed in followed by the sea. Glazing is then used to build up the colour and finally highlights added.
  Dave explained his method very clearly and we were all very impressed with the result not only of the evening's demonstration work but with all the paintings he had brought to show us. He has kindly said that he would be willing to do a workshop for us so keep a look-out for details. So we thank Dave for an inspiring evening and look forward to meeting him again soon.

Half way Stage
One done earlier
Dave and his paintings


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