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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Workshop Saturday 18th February

We all had a lovely day on Saturday -thanks to Mary, Kate and Claire (Chief Assistant)
Here is a photographic record of the event.

Making Collages

Concentration 1
David and Alison
Kate Mary and Collagers
Concentration 2

Montage of our pictures

Steve's Sunset
Gail's Wave

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Start getting your paints and brushes etc ready now for the workshops this Saturday. We start at 10am and go on until 4pm - tea and coffee available but bring a lunch. Should be a good day!!  



Four adventurous artists braved the cold weather and spent a convivial couple of hours in the Chapel Cafe just down the road from Totton College. Dave Butcher sketched flowers and other items on the table. Kate sketched the illustration on the cover of a book. The Cafe has a section with charity items on sale. Helen sketched a view of the shop with blue dungarees picked out in blue. Di sketched a small candle-holder. The hot drinks were excellent and the atmosphere was friendly. It is an ideal place to meet friends.

Blue Dungarees by Helen

Candle Holder by Di

Daves Flowers

In the Cafe
Kates Seaside Picture

Wednesday, February 1, 2017




John has been teaching for 38 years to a wide range of age groups and abilities. He tries to give positive criticism - " by picking out the good bits and trying to make them better."

He gave the following suggestions  and advice :-


 Colour balance and tonal balance prevent a one-sided picture. Dark colours on one side pull the attention to that side therefore balance the picture with a dark colour on the other side.

There should be a good tonal range in the picture -"put in the lights and the darks will take care of themselves" Try working in units of three in colour and tone - dark, mid, light. (Van Gogh was good at this using for example deep blue and yellow)

The direction of light and shadow should be strongly shown. Shadows at the base of subjects such as trees or animals and shadows on the ground should be obvious.  

Emphasise dark against light and opposite.

A painting needs a base so should be light at the top and darker in the foreground.

To get depth into the picture put blue-grey in the background (Monet did this with blue leaves) or cross subjects such as tree trunks or rocks. Trees should show recession and backgrounds have little detail. To bring the subject out from the background put dark lines of a contrasting colour around it( Piper and Sutherland did this with buildings)

White produces highlights and, as with red, draws attention. Green is a difficult colour so use as many varieties as possible.

When painting portraits the eyes and nose must point in the same direction. Fur and hair can have colours within the main colour eg. purple or blue. Whiskers should not be overstated and look like wire. Cat's eyes can be a problem as they can be over bright - draw the overall shape first. The neck must fade into the background and not be cut off suddenly. The space around a portrait must be carefully balanced - not be cropped too closely or badly balanced. Try to get the subject's character in the painting.

In seascapes make sure that waves are not solid. They become more horizontal away from the land and also smaller and less in number.

Spattering adds texture.

Put movement into people and animals in landscapes.

What you leave out in  watercolour makes the picture. Use acrylic ink for white.

Always do thin build -ups of colour especially with acrylic which can look very synthetic and artificial if applied too thickly at once. White added to a colour in oils or acrylic tends to deaden it.

A simple part of a painting has to be correct but mistakes can be hidden in complexity.

When painting from photographs don't make an exact copy e.g. if there is a tree in the centre put it to one side.

 Make sure that white frames don't clash with white in the picture - grey may be better.

Draw with your brush.


This was perhaps the most helpful and informative evening we have had and are grateful to John for spending the time with us - hopefully he will come again!
 Some constructive criticism