Tuesday, 13 February 2018


For both the beginners and the improvers, this week we were consolidating what we had learned about pigment flow, and how to get big soft washes, and thin lines without leaving pools and floods.
We were also getting used to using enough pigment for dark washes.

Firstly the improvers finished the 2nd boats in mist painting by adding a distant shore line in the mist, but as we wanted it to look like the sun was shining behind the trees we wanted it pink in the middle, and blue at the edges, so we put a clear wash over the whole painting, and painted a line of pale permanent rose above and behind the boats, making sure to keep the brush dry enough so it didn't run too far down the painting, we also went from side to side without hesitating and lifted our brush off the paper at the far edge, to avoid pools forming where we lifted our brush off.
It looks slightly pinky orange on the painting below because the wash on the previous week had yellow on it, without washing our brushes out, we added a little ultramarine blue and painted over the pink leaving a gap in the middle, the repeated that step but applied a slightly darker blue further away from the centre, because the brush had pink on it to begin with, the effect below turned a mauve / purple / blue, then before the wash had dried we added the boats to the left and right with a smaller dryer brush, wet in wet, left the whole thing to dry and added the wet on dry boat in the middle, which is the only thing in the scene which should appear hard edged as it is nearer, and is not softened by mist, but kept pale enough to remain part of the over all tonal balance of the painting.

We wanted to explore how to control pigment flow, with a slightly more difficult subject, firstly we painted these rooks, what makes this harder than the boat in mist scene, is that we are required to paint with different colours within a very specific shape, which takes time, but we didn't want to get lots of un necessary brush marksso we had to keep it wet and surface water consistent, to add to this, we applied table salt to get an interesting texture, and we learned how to pull out the pigment from the main wash to create a feathering effect with a splayed out brush

For a feathering effect, we splayed out our brush and pulled the pigment out into a dry area

 First we practiced with any shape, notice that at the top of this shape there is a hard line between the feathering and the main wash, this is because this part of the wash had dried before we got round to feathering it, we don't want this to happen, so we practiced getting out paint down as quickly as possible with a very few limited broad strokes of phalo blue, permanent rose and indigo, we dropped a sparse amount of table salt on the surface, then feathered it, trying not to carry on too long and fiddle with it, remember SAS painting ; )
We then painted the right hand rook with only pthalo blue, and indigo, then the left hand one adding perm rose. we lifted the eyes out once the whole wash had dried.
The next exercise, whilst appearing simple was quite tricky, I chose this wet in wet baby owl because it would require us to control the pigment flow without the boundaries of the rook, a clear wash was applied to the paper them we had to paint in a pre drawn owl with indigo, balancing the pigment flow between flowing too far ( too wet ) and ending up with brush marks ( too dry ) we practiced this a few times till we got the right consistency, before leaving it to dry then applying the eyes beak and feet wet on dry.
We didn't get round to doing the ducklings but you can have a goo at home if you wish, the bottom one will be harder as there are 3 colours.

Here is the photo ref of the baby owl and ducklings if you want to explore this further.

Finally we moved on to something even trickier with this Koy fish painting, as we needed to try and get the fish tail really skinny whilst getting the body fat with the same brush mark, this involved quite a dry brush and editing our brush marks
 This is my first not very good demo, as you can see I didn't get the tail very skinny, whereas some of you did ; ) some of you also managed to get some of the fish scales on wet in wet high definition.
The fish head could be painted on once the body had dried by wetting the head and body area only with a clear wash, ( keeping the rest of the paper dry ) and applying pigment to the head only, allowing this to flow to a soft bleed into the body, this is also a chance to put in the scales if you didn't manage this in the 1st wash.

Next week is half term, and we will be back the week after that which will be on Tuesday the 27th of Feb 2018, week 10 of spring term finishes on the 27th of march, we may be moving towards painting these cockerels, which is a more advanced version of the rooks you painted today, it is exactly the same technique but with more colours, we will work towards this at your own pace, preparing for each stage with exercises in technique, and starting with simpler subjects.
If you have enjoyed the 1st 5 weeks and feel you would like to continue, and have not already let me know, please do so, and also, as mentioned, I will be running future courses along the south Norfolk school term times, please see the dates below.

I will keep spring term the same as it is, as we have already passed the local half term times, but I have changed the summer term as follows….
So I have brought the classes forward by 1 week, I know some south Norfolk schools run at different times but these are the dates set out by the council.
I look forwards to teaching those of you who wish to return after half term.
Kind regards
Gilly : )

Thursday, 8 February 2018


This class is aimed at absolute beginners, and those who have painted a little before, but would like to get to grips with basic application techniques.
Every painting will begin with practicing the technique required for each painting, and is designed to give the student more confidence in achieving the desired effect, and overcoming common stumbling blocks.
The classes are fun, but teaching is structured and sequential, so you will be building on what is learned week by week, through repetition of similar techniques with different subjects.
I ask for an initial 5 week commitment of £75.00 but the douse will run indefinitely.
Please contact Gilly for further information

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Beginners and improvers class notes 6th Feb 2018

This week both beginners and improvers worked on the boats in mist painting, each of us had slightly different results, which is as desired, see the difference between my exercise below, and thew original photograph below that, this is my interpretation, however I did restrict you to phalo blue, permanent rose and cadmium yellow and cad red.
The object of today's exercise was to control the amount of water on the brush when applying pigment to get thicker or thinner brush marks as you see in this example.
For the sky and sea we did a 1st wash of pthalo blue top and bottom with a really wet brush on a very wet clear wash all over, then cleaning the brush out, we went in with a small amount of cadmium yellow on the middle, and without cleaning the brush out added a wet bad of permanent rose below the yellow, then we set it aside to dry.

Whilst it was drying, we practiced thick and thin lines again as we have done before, see below, so we could add the banks of colour on either side of the boats, darkening and mixing the colours together as we painted the banks nearest us.
The for the pink hills at the top, we painted a clear wash 2 3rds up the page and applied a pale permanent rose wash into the wet wash and then  up into the dry paper so that we had a hard top edge, and a wet, soft under edge, then added a pink back embankment, then without cleaning our brushes out we added pthalo blue for one  a nearer embankment and added more blue and cad red for the front embankment.
For the boats we used what was on our brushes, and almost totally dried our brushes out to paint the skinny lines needed for our masts.

The improvers went on to paint another boats in mist painting, this time the mass of colour didn't go from the right to the left edge of the painting, but was predominantly yellow / orange to the right and variations of cooler colours to the left, we need extremely wet pigment washes for this to avoid seeing any brush marks for the background.

 As you can see from my demonstration of the 1st wash, 👇👇👇 this can be left open to interpretation, exactly what colours to use.
 Whilst this wash was drying we practiced the band of enbankment / trees across the middle 👆👆👆wet in wet, i'e with a clear wash put down 1st and pigment applied on top of the clear wash.

One thing we all need to consolidate for both classes, is
A. how much water to add to out pigments when mixing a colour in the palette, to create the right amount of pigment flow.
B . How to keep our paintings surface water consistent during the painting process.
Some of us found that the more colours we needed to apply, the longer the process took, and whilst that was happening our painting was drying in some areas and still wet in others.

We will begin to remedy this in the next class, but to sum it up, we need work quickly and finish the painting before we are happy with the result if we see a part of it is drying, although you can extend the drying time by spraying with a fine mist sprayer, or by moving your brush around the painting rather than just working in 1 area at a time.
I showed a painting in progress film at the beginning of this class to demonstrate how the 1st wash can be very simple, and how to add layers once each wash has dried, to build up the effect you want.

Please practice what you have learned at home.