Saturday, 7 December 2013

Charles Evans - Watercolour Landscapes

Lindisfarne Castle
Charles Evans enthralled and amuses us with his rapid painting and quick-fire humour. This painting of a scene in Northumberland took about 25 minutes to complete.

His approach is quite literally broad brush - he only had four brushes and although his support was almost vertical throughout that didn't create any problems. Any runs or large beads were soon picked up with the tip of a 1½" brush.

Once he had completed this painting he show us some techniques and after the break did a painting of Alnwick Moor in just 20 minutes. As well as my photos which show step by step progress of the two paintings in this demonstration you can see more on the News page of his website

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Max Hale - portraits in charcoal

I couldn't resist the temptation: this sketch of Max captures a moment in his demonstration as he answered a question. This is not  charcoal and it's not really creative art as it only reproduces an element of a photograph taken while he was in full flow.

Max used vine charcoal (made from willow twigs) for portraits of two LAS members. Thank you to our sitters, Jane and Tony.

Max achieved a subtlety of tone that I hadn't realised was possible in charcoal - all achieve with just three methods: pressure of application, blending with the finger and erasing with a plastic eraser.

For more information about Max's art and the workshops he runs, visit his website

The pictures that follow show progress with both portraits. Artist  and photographer had a different viewpoints of the sitters.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Nigel Street - landscape in watercolour

On Tuesday I enjoyed a morning with Hereford Art Group watching Nigel Street demonstrate how he paints landscapes in watercolour. Although at the end of the session he had not quite finished, we gained a clear idea of where he was going and picked up some useful tips along the way.
Not quite finished

Having taken part in one of Nigel's Understanding Watercolour weekends a year ago, it was good to get some reminders even though I have a slightly guilty conscience about how little watercolour painting I've done in the last year. For more information on his courses visit Nigel's website.

Hereford Art Group paint most Tuesdays and only have a couple of demonstrators a year: very different from Ledbury Art Society where demonstrations and occasional workshops are the normal pattern.

Nigel's standard landscape palette is worth a mention. He uses plastic palettes with deep wells set out in a 6x2 grid. In the two wells furthest from him he puts pigments useful for atmosphere and distance: cobalt blue light and raw umber (insoluble opaque). The soluble transparent colours are arranged on the left so coming forward from the cobalt blue he has phthalo blue, sap green (which is an optional addition to the basic palette), primary yellow and alazarin crimson or permanent dark red. Notice how the order takes you from background to foreground. At the very front of the palette he has French ultramarine and burnt sienna (insoluble and dense). Yellow ochre is an optional addition which he places to the right of the primary yellow. This is insoluble and opaque and is a good carrier of colour.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Jon Davis - landcape in pastel and acrylic

I'm always fascinated by the many approaches taken by the different demonstrators who come to us each month.  Jon Davis had prepared an canvas board by painting it with white acrylic and he already had the basic scene depicted in light black. Only the sky has been added roughly at this point in the demonstration.

Jon studied classical portrait painting in the studio of Ken Paine. While we were setting up Jon told me how that came about. He had seen Ken working and rather rudely tapped him on the shoulder and asked what he was using. "Pastels.", was the reply and after a searching gaze Ken then asked "When's your birthday?" A date was named and Ken then announced "I've been waiting 20 years for you." They shared a birthday as did Ken with his tutor and so on back through several generations.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Eric Watson - pastel demonstration

Eric Watson used pastels, pastel pencils and watercolour pencils in a very able demonstration of animal portraiture on Tuesday. He provided plenty of tips that could be used just as readily for other subjects. There are two websites where you can see his work Eric Watson and The Priory Gallery

Eric uses white cartridge paper as the smooth surface allows for easy blending of pastels and a white support provides the majority of the white in his images. Blending is carried out either with a finger or with a torchon made from kitchen paper. When working with pencil the sharpness of the point was kept for longer by constantly rotating the pencil as marks are applied. When 90% of the animal was completed he added a background by laying the support flat on the floor, brushing off loose pigment, cleaning the background area with a putty rubber and then using a scalpel to shave off pigment from the pastel stick and then using finger or torchon to blend.
Images showing various stages of the demonstration follow

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Best in Show

Congratulations to Daph Willett. Not only was her sunflower image chosen for the exhibition poster, she also had one of her pictures voted as Best in Show.

This is the first year LAS has invited visitors to vote for Best in Show. This proved very popular and also gave some added interest  for some of our younger visitors. Nearly every painting received at least one vote and there were two other paintings that were only three votes short of the winning entry.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Friday, 24 May 2013

2013 Exhibition - all set up, ready to go

Our annual exhibition of members' work starts tomorrow, Saturday 25th May 2013. Click here to see times.

We're all set up and ready for the members' preview this evening.

For more images click on

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Computer Art

When you look at David Hockney's iPad paintings from The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate or art produced by artists using Photoshop or Illustrator you may find yourself thinking "That must be easy/difficult" or asking "Can I get rid of my sketch book anytime soon?"

So if you want to know more, come along on Tuesday 7th May at 9:45 for Paul Arnott's demonstration of computer art. See for a report on a demonstration by Paul Arnott last year.

For more views on Hockney try There's also an article about using computers on the front of last year's LAS Newsletter

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Christopher Hughes - Watercolour

After more than thirty years as a full time working artist Christopher Hughes had plenty of experience to share with us yesterday. Before he began the demonstration he told us a little of his story which included working at Worcester Porcelain and running classes - at his home and studio in Worcestershire, on the Greek Island of Alonissos and online using Skype. To find out more about his work and courses visit his website

He brought along some of his painted porcelain plaques and responded to the many questions LAS members through at him about the processes involved.

I don't think many, if any, of us are likely to try painting porcelain and after painting so much fruit for Worcester Porcelain he confessed that he had gone off fruit. Vegetables were a different matter, so he had brought along an arrangement on a plate that was to be the subject of his still life watercolour demonstration (see above).

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Robin Holder

Robin Holder is, by his own description, a River Severn artist. Do take a look at his website to see more of what he does and find out about the tuition he offers.

Kempsey Church in Snow
Today's watercolour demonstration was a view across the Severn to the church at Kempsey and was inspired by an oil painting executed in the field.

You can see from this image that his palette is limited. He used raw sienna, raw umber and cerulian blue. An advantage with using insoluble pigments is they can be lifted out and that's how the white highlights on the near river bank have been achieved.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Nature in Art

I was pleasantly surprised by today's presentation. Simon Trapnell, Director of Nature in Art, is an engaging speaker who has been involved with the museum since it was no more than an idea. Through the many images presented we gained insights into the variety of the collection and, thanks to Simon's knowledge, into the work of many of the artists.

I should perhaps explain why I was surprised. Because I'm a frequent visitor to Nature in Art and always enjoy the mix of 'old friends' and special exhibitions I didn't expect to be so stimulated by an illustrated talk. I can highly recommend inviting Simon to talk to any art group. He's not an artist but he understands art inspired by nature and communicates very effectively.

One thing I have always enjoyed on my visits is seeing the artists in residence at work. There's about 60 each year. I don't know how some of them get much work done with the constant stream of visitors questioning them but I've always found them keen to talk about their art and their methods of working.

Don't try to take in everything at once. Take a break part way through your visit and enjoy coffee and cake in the restaurant ... or stop for lunch.

Take a look at the website for the programme and other details.