Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Acrylic Painting Class – Colour Wheel with Joel

Joel asked us to bring three colours, plus white to art class (process yellow, cyan and magenta or cadmium red, cadmium yellow and cobalt blue). Of course, I brought all six and had a play with both sets. The colour wheel was as you’d expect; but the exercise after was pretty neat.

We were to make a grey background using the three colours then paint one of the white objects on the table in various shades of grey. My grey background wasn’t really grey, but I liked it anyway. It was hard for me to draw the object and see all the shades, but with a little help from Joel I did it.

Painted two objects from the kitchen at home and liked the results; even if the background wasn’t grey.

Then painted my white Samoyed from an old picture. Didn’t finish it because I didn’t want to ruin it. Note to self... have to get out of that mind-set.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Acrylic Painting Class – Abstracts with Joel

To learn more about acrylics I enrolled in a 10 week acrylic painting class for beginners at Surrey Adult Learning Centre. My instructor was Joel Wareing and the class had a variety of people all interested in art.  In the first class we did exercises learning mark making and different painting techniques.

Assignment 1 - paint with two colours using different techniques, for example: washing, blending, stippling, sponge and palette knives. Since I was late to the class and didn't complete the assignment I haven't shown it.  Not my fault... there are so many buildings; I got lost and was traipsing around in the rain lugging all my art stuff. If you knew me, you would be laughing your head off right now.

Assignment 2 - to draw with a pencil and paper listening to different types of music.  We were to make marks on the paper according to what we were feeling. The exercise was really neat, you may even be able to tell from the marks what types of music was played.

Assignment 3 - From the 1st assignment choose a technique, from the 2nd a type of mark making. Then combine these on A3 paper. I liked the result and it was completely random.

The assignments were really well thought out and helped everyone to be free and creative. I really enjoyed the class.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Cherry Painting From Will Kemp Art School on Youtube

My father gave me a GoPro for my birthday and not being active, I've used it to video a Cherry painting. What seemed like a good idea was awkward and difficult. There is no view finder, so the iPad needed to be linked via WiFi to control the GoPro. Then after filming there was LOTS and LOTS of editing.

Cherry Painting Part 1 was done in GoPro editing software, but somehow the program got lost on my computer.  So...Cherry Painting Part 2 was edited using Microsoft Movie Maker, which was filmed and edited 6 months later. It’s my first try at YouTube so you’ll have to forgive me for the results.

The painting is from a cherry tutorial created by Will Kemp Art School. There are free videos on his website along with written instructions, a picture to download and list of all materials needed. Once again, I had to go and buy some new colours. The only acrylic paint not purchased was the green gold; made that myself. The painting took me a long time but I am satisfied with the outcome.

The background isn’t perfect because the area around the stem had to be redone. Note to self… find another way of filming. The camera kept getting in the way of my hand and the last part didn’t get filmed because the painting had to lay flat.

Perfect frame from Home Sense

The learning, painting, filming, editing process was long and tedious; must find an easier way. The experience was worth it and someday I'll be more organized to do it again. Hope you like the speed painting and I dare you to try filming for YouTube. Much respect for those artists who can create, teach film and edit...it's not easy.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Heart, Birds & You Tube - Acrylic Paintings

YouTube is the best place to find free videos on how to do any kind of painting you want. I was looking for acrylic painting techniques and found Amy Pearce and ‘How to Paint a Heart with Tissue Paper Texture’. Amy has lots of how to videos but this one was my favourite.

It’s a shame because Amy hasn't produced many new videos lately, but she has plenty of older ones on YouTube to keep me busy.

CLIVE5Art is also a great YouTube channel and I painted two Birds painting from the ‘Beginners Acrylic Painting Tutorial – Autumn Birds On A Branch’ video

Lachri Fine Art is a fantastic channel with all types of great advice for artists. Lisa has regular posts on YouTube: 'Art Critiques' on Tuesdays, 'Painting & Drawing Tutorials & Demos' on Wednesdays, 'Social Media Tips For Artists' on Thursdays and 'Artist Vlogs' on Weekends. Lisa’s videos are clear, concise and to the point; she doesn’t waste your time with lots of b.s. like some do. Lachri Fine Art videos are very professional and you can tell Lisa puts a lot of editing work into them. The video on sharpening pencils was useful and buying an electric pencil sharpener helped me a lot.  Her social media tips on Thursdays are well worth watching.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Oil Abstract Classes with Liz Hauck

At SAOS, I signed up to Liz Hauck’s e-mail list. Liz sent me a message about an Oil Abstract class, Colours of Autumn, that she was teaching. The class was small, organized and very educational. Liz talked about artists that inspired her and different techniques used in painting. She discussed how inspiration can be found and how to warm up before creating art. We drew something that we liked without looking or taking our pencil off the paper. It was amazing to see everyone’s results and to my surprise people actually knew what I intended to draw.

Liz went through a quick lesson in colour mixing; then we used cut-outs of images of autumn that she asked us to bring. My two paintings came out pretty nice and the afternoon was really enjoyable.

The first class was so much fun that when she had a second one, I went as well. This class focused on composition in abstract; we were asked to bring images we liked; of colour or shape. Liz spoke about great artists and types of compositions that work (i.e. the rule of thirds). We started with a drawing exercise, then a demonstration with pallet knives and other tools.

This class wasn't as enjoyable for me because my ideas were too preconceived and couldn’t be recreated on canvas. My creativity was just not flowing; possibly because my dog died the week before. Note to self...don't paint when you are sad.  The colours on the first image were all wrong and then in the second painting I put a tree on the left hand side and quickly regretted it.

After both classes Liz gave us very comprehensive worksheets detailing what she spoke about along with an extensive list of materials, sources and book recommendations. We were introduced to canvas pads, which tear off to use as you would paper, but are stronger with a nicer texture. I would definitely recommend Liz as a magnificent instructor and am going to take another class when she has one.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Free Rose Painting Tutorial from Craftsy

Found a useful ‘Craftsy’ app on the iPad; later realized they also have a website. Used my iPad to create the painting from a free tutorial ‘Painting Flowers in Acrylic’ by Micah Ganske.

It was really easy to follow and had the picture available to download on their website.  There was a list of all materials needed and the lessons were split up into sections.

I really enjoyed doing the lesson and would like to try another and hopefully do better next time.

Craftsy also has tutorials on: sewing & quilting, cakes & cooking, yarn & fiber arts, art & photo, home & garden. Go check it out.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Painting Abstracts Art Book Review

While browsing through the books at WH Smith ‘Painting Realistic Abstracts’ by Kees van Aalst it looked interesting. When purchasing it on Amazon, however I accidentally bought ‘Painting Abstracts, Ideas, Projects & Techniques’ by Rolina van Vliet, which turned out to be the better of the two.

‘Painting Realistic Abstracts’ mostly had examples of watercolour paintings and I wanted to work with acrylics. This book will come in handy in the future. The artist Kees Van Aalst is truly gifted and provides lots of examples of what makes a painting good; but doesn’t explain the how to. This book will be useful after I have more painting experience and know more about watercolour techniques.

‘Painting Abstracts, Ideas, Projects & Techniques’ by Rolina Vliet is an excellent book, it has tons of information about everything. Each chapter has a different subject with explanations and exercises to go with it. For every project there is an explanation on theme/emphasis, picture element, composition, materials, technique, work sequence, tips and variation exercises. The examples they provide are interesting and beautiful, unfortunately my experiments didn’t come out as nice. Taking notes on what worked and what didn’t for future projects is the right way to go. The exercises in the book are broken down into five sections; Primary Picture Elements, Secondary Picture Elements, Composition, Technique and Material, Theme and Project.

Primary Picture Elements- Exercises 1-5

1 Expressive Shapes – design a surface divided by spontaneous lines, apply colours roughly with a pallet knife. My first try there were too many colours, it looked like a child drew it. The second was using only neutral colours and I liked it better. The third used only three colours, and turned out the best.

2 Variations in shape – don’t think this exercise was properly done, but I liked the outcome.

3 Geometric shapes – didn’t like the way the two paintings came out. The first had a black background and the colours on top were not saturated enough so the back showed through. The second was using tape to get clean lines, but the tape didn’t pull up correctly. Probably should have included an example but it's too embarrassing.

4 Free shapes using oil pastel crayon – did three only one came out half way decent. Again too embarrassed to include pictures.

5 Spontaneous shapes – painting in layers, start with an underpainting and let it dry.  Using only two or more colours these paintings were pretty successful.

The first was with cadmium orange and modelling paste over turquoise, a third colour wasn’t necessary.

The second was with turquoise, yellow ochre and burgundy, square instead of landscape.

Did a few others and liked them as well; the spontaneous shapes study is my favourite so far.

Colour - Exercises 6-11

6 Mixing with colour blending – used cobalt blue, primary yellow and paynes grey, painting was very dark looking and it was difficult to blend colours. I didn’t like this exercise.

7 Mixing with a palette knife – the first painting came out muddy, the second I used a scrapper to pull colour off and it looked nicer but not great. Sorry once again...no photos.

You would think I would have a handle on colour after reading the book on it, but for some reason the colour chapter was not working for me. I got discouraged and stopped doing the exercises.

There are a great many things to learn in this abstract book and when I get my confidence back I will carry on. That should be a t-shirt 'Lost confidence just CARRY ON anyway'. It really is fantastic and one of the best I have bought so far. I would highly recommend Painting Abstracts, Ideas, Projects & Techniques’ by Rolina van Vliet. Look for more exercises from this book in future blogs.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Watercolour Portrait & Chinese Painting with Wendy

Previous class practice drawing eyes, noses and mouths came in handy for our next assignment - a tonal portrait study.

Tonal Study

Wendy supplied photos to choose from; my dad and I both love Clint Eastwood so…

Colour Study
We also did a colour study, not my favourite. I seem to have trouble when I need to add colour. 
In our last class we learned to do Chinese painting; practicing bamboo with ink and Chinese brushes on cartridge paper.

For the final project we made bookmarks on watercolour paper; it was a nice ending to the class. By adding a hole and a ribbon I now have a lovely bookmark to remind me of the class.

This type of painting interested me so adding to my library, once again, I bought a book: ‘Chinese Brush Painting Handbook’ by Pauline Cherrett. The only trouble was I didn’t have the right brushes. Wendy had lent us inks and brushes for the class so I used my regular watercolour brushes and paint.

I only achieved a halfway decent fish.  Someday I will buy brushes, read the book again, and try to make more paintings.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Watercolour with Wendy

After a few weeks of drawing in Wendy’s class we started to paint with watercolour. My plan was to buy the least expensive Cotman watercolour set to be sure I liked the medium. Brushes, however needed to be good quality and Wendy recommended ‘Rosemary & Co’;  shipping is £1 or free on orders over £30. Better watercolour paper has to be bought in individual sheets; or lesser quality can be purchased in pads. Wendy had paper for us to buy, sometimes I used the good paper and sometimes A4 paper from a pad. The pads are available in hot pressed, cold pressed and rough. Someday I’ll figure out the difference, besides the hot pressed being smoother.

To start with we did a colour wheel, mixing colours with red, blue & yellow.

My first watercolour came out better than expected, it was a tonal study so we only used one colour. 

The second was o.k. but not as impressive as with the first. For this we used two colours.
For the third we used all colours and it was the least impressive. So the moral is, for me at least, the less colours the better.
O.k. maybe I just had a bad day because the fourth was an ink and wash and it was kinda good. Other classmates had more vibrant colours; mine was washed out looking. I don’t know if it’s the paint, maybe I need artist quality. 
The sheep and bird I did at home… really liking the ink and wash technique.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

SAOS - Screen Printing with Helen Locke

Last year at Surrey Artists’ Open Studios, was a screen printing taster class, which was full. But luckily, advertised in the SAOS guide was an afternoon ‘Adventures in Screen Print’ class with Helen Locke, so I took it. She said to bring an image or object for inspiration. I chose Duck, Duck, Goose for my theme. In class we cut out our shapes with a sharp knife. Then we agreed on colours and put down the background; it’s easy but complicated at the same time. You’ll just have to try it to see what I mean.

After the background dried, the cut out was next… kinda hard to get everything lined up properly. Luckily Helen was there for us.

And voila my first screen print you also get a ghost copy.

It was a fun class and I would take it again. It would be nice to buy all the stuff and do at home but without the proper space it could get very messy. Also, all the paint mixtures were done for us and Helen was there helping us put things in the right order and giving colour advice. Also, I can’t even remember exactly how I did it.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Surrey Artist Open Studios and Photographer Lillian Spibey

Last year the Surrey Artists’ Open Studios, had a launch event at East Surrey College. I took advantage of listening to an interesting talk on photography with Lillian Spibey and had an opportunity to create an oil piece for Liz Hauck’s installation. Lots of beautiful art was exhibited as well as activities, including printmaking, which I didn’t get to try.

After years of playing with my DSLR and not really knowing how it works, a class with Lillian was really necessary. Photography had always been an interest of mine; in high school I was on the yearbook team taking photographs and developing them in black and white. After college I took photography and developing classes but that was still in the days of film. Lillian is very knowledgeable and a great instructor, the class was small and she was able to give everyone personal attention. We had a talk/lesson inside, then went out and took photos in Shere. I left having a lot more experience using the manual settings and was really satisfied.

F-Stop f/5.3, Exposure time 1/1600 sec, ISO 400, Focal Length 40mm
Exposure time 1/500 sec, ISO 1600, F-Stop f/4, Focal Length 24mm

When practicing at home, the only thing that wasn’t working was the crisp blur when you open your aperture to the largest setting (that’s the lowest number, how weird). After a lot of photos and much research, it became clear that my lens just wasn’t good enough. In Microsoft Windows file view just right click, then choose properties, then details and you will be able to see what settings the camera was on.

My lenses only opened to f3.5 on my 18-55mm and f4.5 on my 55-200mm and that was the problem.

After consulting with Lillian and my wallet, I bought a f1.8, 50mm lens…wow really fantastic.

F-Stop f/1.8, Focal Length 50mm

Exposure Time 1/4000 sec, Focal Length 50mm

Small piece of advice don’t cheap out when you buy a camera package, check the lenses they give you! I was so happy with Lillian’s class I booked another.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Cat Painting from 'Compendium of Acrylic Painting Techniques'

Leisure Painter is one of many art magazines in the UK, it's full of articles and advertisements all relating to art. There is a plethora of information; details on art clubs, exhibitions, book reviews, website news, letters, tips, views and tutorials for watercolour, acrylic, pastel etc. The adverts at the back for Holidays & Courses are interesting too; someday soon I’m going to go on a painter’s holiday.

The May 2014 issue had an article ‘From A to B’ that discussed using a pantograph; which was too difficult for me to use and a waste of my money. There was also an article demonstrating a painting by Bob Brandt called ‘Sunlit Harbour’; it was from ‘Compendium of Acrylic Painting Techniques’ by Gill Barron.

The Compendium book turned out to be very useful. There was an assignment on the glazing technique-pg147, which I tried. I wasn't as successful with the technique but I liked the painting. Glazing takes patience and I’m not a doctor....laugh here.

Annual subscriptions to magazines are less expensive; however I like to sample them all, so I'll just keep buying them as and when.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Two Great Drawing Books

Wendy recommended two drawing books ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ by Betty Edwards and ‘The Fundamentals of Drawing a Complete Professional Course for Artists’ by Barrington Barber.

‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ is for people who are timid about drawing and explains how adults who are not artists tend to draw. There are plenty of amazing experiments that are worth trying; I recommend reading it. The exercise on drawing upside down and not thinking was cool; as was the contour drawing.

Drawing on the picture plane is also a great lesson and fun to do.

‘The Fundamentals of Drawing’ is the type of book that you can use as a reference guide; it has exercises on lines and circles, 3d shapes,ellipses, basic objects, methods of shading, human figure: proportions and more.

Both books are worth owning, but my lazy self needs the structure of a class to force me to practice. Also, it's nice to have the critique of an instructor and to be around like minded people.