Wednesday, 27 June 2018


This week we were working on painting this rook, there object of this exercise was to get really dark darks and intense colours out of our palette, and paint within a specified shape avoiding un necessary brush marks.

We began by practicing random shapes, and pulling the pigment out with a splayed out brush before the was had a chance to dry to a hard edge.
One of the challenges with this exercise was to avoid brush marks which weren't describing anything, the way to do this is to practice fi

To get a more even streak free application, try not making repeated brush strokes she you are lifting your brush off the paper at the end of every stroke, this results in blobs where you have lifted off, and doesn't help each brushstroke to merge into the other, try to keep your brush on the paper at all times during a colour application, holding your brush at a shallow angle and sideways on to get the widest possible marks, practice this as an exercise on it's own till it becomes second nature to you.

This is the photo reference we were using
random shapes to get used to painting around a shape., we were also dropping small amounts of table salt onto the wash after we had pulled out the fronds bits to get this texture.

Next week we will be doing exactly the same technique as this week, but applying the technique to a cockerel, leaving it to dry, and adding detail wet on dry

As per request, next week will be the last week of summer term, and we will resume the next 10 week course starting on September the 18th 2018, however I may be planning a non teaching trip out on the river at Beccles some time during the summer and will email the details of that nearer the time

Tuesday, 26 June 2018


THIS WEEK WE WERE Exploring how to represent water as a preparation for a trip in the River at Beccles some time in the summer, above are some watercolour artists representations of water, note how all the edges of the reflections are hard edged

This is the scene in Beccles on the river we are aiming at painting

1st we drew up the scene and added the background colour
Then we practiced putting a pale lemon wash down with zig zag edges horizontally, and applying pigment in vertical stripes to represent the reflections of trees
More practices
A demonstration of a previous workshop painting showing the intended outcome with high definition dark lines in the surface of the water to indicate it's flatness.
If you were unable to attend this class, please can you follow these steps at home, as we will be continuing with this painting next week, and it is important you know the technique to apply to the finished painting next week

Wednesday, 20 June 2018


This week we were translating our lesson on composition and colour balance, see

TEACHING NOTES for the 12th of june, into painting wet in wet from direct observation, we didn't finish these, but because the flowers may be over by next week, here are your photos of the flowers you were painting. The primary object of this lesson was about controlling pigment flow.

In my own sketch, ( this is not a finished painting due to time constraints ) I have used a combination of hard and soft edges, remember hard edge is against dry paper, and soft edge is against wet paper

We looked at paintings of flowers painted wet in wet, and wet on dry ( hard edged ) and gauged our emotional response to them, this will influence our choice of how to represent flowers when we are painting them.
We chose to paint our flowers wet in wet, so that we then had a choice of where, if any to have hard edges, the first wet in wet wash being the underpainting, but the main aim of this lesson was to control pigment flow, please find the reference for your painting and complete at home.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018


This is the painting with 3 or 4 layers of washes applied once the previous wash was completely dry.
For the morning class today, as some us us have missed a few classes, I thought it prudent to re visit pigment flow control, and doing soft edged images is a good subject to practice this, we want some areas of the pigment to flow further ( tail ) than other areas ( face )

We already know that the paper needs to be soaking wet when we put our first clear wash on, to buy us plenty of painting time so that the paper doesn't dry before we have chance to put enough of our pigment done wet in wet, but to control the pigment flow depends on how dry or wet the brush is when applying the pigment, for our first wash for the tail, the brush needed to be slightly less wet than the clear wash brush.
We needed to dry our brush a little more for the body, and more still for the face and claws.


In this class I had hoped to work outside from direct observation but it was too cold, this is the scene I would like us to work towards. 
But before that we were aiming at something simpler...

We were also further exploring pigment flow control in this class, but through composition, we revisited the exercise of focal points through contrast we worked with last week,Then we copied some and invented others in tone then applied that understanding to abstracting a composition of the flowers in the garden, first wet on dry, then wet in wet

Here is a demonstration of the white garden chair composition at various stages of colour thumbnails, showing the visual pulling power of certain elements when they are added, note where your eye is lead to without the pink carnations or the shadow on the seat, similarly with the colour thumbnail of the allium composition, ( flowers ) Here I have taken elements of the garden and invented my own arrangement

Note the difference in the overall balance when I add a piece of white paper to the picture, play around with shapes in tone and colour as a box exercise like the tonal one above, and judge where your eye is drawn to, this should be the foundation of a composition to apply representational painting to, or, keep as an abstract

Fingers crossed it's warm enough next week to work outside : )

Wednesday, 6 June 2018


This week, we were working on controlling the pigment flow with ducklings, goslings and a baby owl, and whilst this is a cutesey twee subject, it is rather difficult to perform, not enough water on the brush and we would have hard edges which we need to avoid for this fluffy soft subject, too much water on the brush and the pigment would run too far too fast and spread beyond the boundaries of the drawing and we would have ended up with very long haired beasties.

We practiced our pigment flow on a separate sheet first, including 3 colour mixing to make variations of brown for the duckling using red yellow and ultramarine blue, we also needed to paint high definition wet in wet for the stripe over the ducklings eye, this needed to be done before the head had dried, otherwise the stripe would come out hard edged, and not look like it was made of furry feathers

We applied our pigment to our fowl by editing our brush marks right down to just a few, holding the brush at a shallow angle so we could get a wide flat even coverage, and only lifting our brushes off the paper towards the top of the wash, so that any excess water ran back into the body, rather than down the pear belwow the body

 We had several practices at this to gain more confidence in flow control before applying pigment to the beaks and feet using all 3 colours, but applying a clear wash 1st and then the pigment to selected areas using our photo reference as a guide, and making sure not to push the paint around too much resulting in a flat looking wash, please pay attention to the highlights on the beak and feet.
I look forwards to seeing you again next week.