Thursday, 7 December 2017

Notan Workshop

Notan by Richard

What a stimulating day we had with Vicki Norman. You can find out more about Vicki's art and the workshops and holidays she offers by visiting her website

Vicki had us rapidly produce lots of thumbnail sketches in only two or three tones. Notan is Japanese in origin and aims at harmonic relationships between dark and light. Light and dark give structure to an image and notan is an aid to getting simple clean design.

Most of the participants followed Vicki's recommendation of using Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pens in black and one in Cool grey 6 (N60). My attempts used graphite sticks which were quite hard work and, as you can see from the image on the left, did not give the even black coverage that's really needed.

Vicki gave each of us a viewfinder in neutral grey. That served two purposes: (1) we could draw a line around the inside to define edges for our thumbnails; (2) we could use it to crop what we saw whether that was an image projected onto the screen or a scene in the real world.

You can read more about Notan in Arthur Wesley Dow's classic book on composition. This is available as a free download in several formats from Project Gutenberg. The link is

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Christmas Exhibition 20 to 25 November

We have a good show in the Weavers Gallery with more than 70 paintings displayed and more in browsers and there's a good range of cards for sale.

As so often happens, the photographic images shown in this post fail to do justice to the paintings.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Marion Yeo - Acrylic Landscape

Marion Yeo is a Worcester based artist who uses nature as her inspiration. Her reference photo for the demonstration was of a forest in Cornwall.

She usually lays down some colour on her canvas before beginning a painting. In this instance she has used a two-tone background.

The next step is to indicate some of the main features - in this case the edges of the river and the tree trunks and larger branches. This was done using Payne's Grey.

She kept us well entertained with a series of quotations and stories as well as describing her working methods.

She continued to add darker values and then added some white for parts of the river and as an under-painting for brighter leaves.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Joe Francis Dowden - Amazing Watercolour

We were faced with an array of Joe’s brilliant images even before he started his demonstration. This was certainly something many of us had been looking forward to and we were not disappointed.

A good source of information about Joe Dowden’s work is his website where you’ll also find details of his books and DVDs.

Joe certainly doesn’t believe in limiting the range of pigments available to him and he was quite enthusiastic about some of the pigments that have become available in recent times, mainly thanks to the motor industry. Despite the big range of tubes he had brought he did limit the number he used in his demonstration painting.

His brushes were mainly sable but definitely not when applying masking fluid. That’s the time for the very cheap brushes. He does use a lot of masking fluid to save whites, some is painted on, some spattered. The contrast between the white of the paper and the darks created by painting create the illusion of light.

His support was 300gsm Arches rough watercolour paper which had been stretched by soaking it thoroughly, laying it on a board for a few minutes to expand and then stapled along the edges. You can see from the accompanying photo how close together the staples are. When a painting is finished he cuts it off the board. It must take a while to remove all the staples even using a tack-lifter and pliers.

Drawing was fairly minimal. He simply established the horizon and mapped in a few of the main features. Only when the drawing was done did he add masking tape to establish the limits of his painting. Then the fun began with masking fluid painted and spattered on where he wanted to save the whites.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Looking forward to Joe Dowden

Bosham - December 2007
Copyright Joe Dowden
We're looking forward to welcoming Joe Francis Dowden on Tuesday 3 October when he will demonstrate his watercolour painting techniques. The venue will be the Parish Hall behind Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in New Street. We start at 9.45 and finish at noon. Cost: £3 for members and £5 for non-members. You can find out more about Joe's work if you visit his website.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Chris Jones: Dutch Bantam in acrylic

The starting point
An excellent demonstration by Chris Jones this morning as he showed us the process he uses for painting poultry. Though when using oil paints he has to allow time for drying between stage he does add a medium to speed the drying process and is often able to continue the next day. Today he used heavy bodied acrylic paints on a heavy water colour paper that had been stretched and covered with a white gesso primer. He usually works on 6mm MDF board that has been primed on both sides so it doesn't pull out of shape or else on the back of acid-free mount board.

Before he came to us he had transferred an image from one of his drawings using carbon paper. He also had a couple of photos for reference.
A reference photo

He began by applying Mars Black to dark areas and gradually built up a tonal under-painting. The black is pervasive enough to still shows through colour applied over the top, especially in the initial colour layers that are more translucent than the heavier paint applied as detail is added.

For feather and fur he usually works with round synthetic watercolour brushes which he buys from Rosemary & Co. Most of the demonstration was done with a number 8 round. He finds that stay-wet palettes tend to dilute the paint so prefers to work with a tear-off dry palette and a wide range of pigments. The use of greys in the mix tends to unify the painting.

For more about Chris visit his website

Black used for under-painting

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Canoe Slalom

Colin Harries
I think the painting challenge based on a photograph of canoe slalom in Merano, Italy proved difficult for many. So well done Colin Harries for having a go and producing such an excellent painting. It gives a real sense of the canoe being tossed around by the very rough water.

I've also included my own attempt. I started off with watercolour but then used some light grey pastel to complete it.

Richard Hyde

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Wildlife artist demonstrates in Ledbury

American Game by Chris Jones
Chris Jones, a professional wildlife artist, will be our demonstrator on Tuesday 5th September.

We meet from 9:45 to 12 noon in the Parish Hall behind Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in New Street. The charge is £3 for LAS members and £5 for non-members.

Chris formally trained as a natural history illustrator, before turning to wildlife painting. He is particularly known for his images of poultry breeds and in this demonstration he will use acrylics to paint a domestic hen or cockerel . He has travelled widely, from African plains to the rain forests of Borneo in search of subjects. Chris has exhibited across Britain, including at the Mall Galleries, London and the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Local Exhibitions

In Ledbury
Shared Perspective July 31 to August 13
At Weavers Gallery, Church Lane, Ledbury
An exhibition of paintings by Carol Randall, Joanna Dixon, Patricial Gregory and Jane Headlam

Herefordshire Painting Club August 22 to September 2
At Weavers Gallery, Church Lane, Ledbury

ArtBurst August 19 to August 28
Eight venues in Painswick or nearby
Further details

ArtFest 2017 July 15 to August 5
At several venues in Droitwich Spa
Organised by Droitwich Arts Network

Malvern Terrace Artists Annual Exhibition August 5 to August 6
At Hanley Swan Village Hall

Tewkesbury Art Society Summer Exhibition July 22 to 29 July
10.00a.m. - 16.30 (not Sunday 23rd)
At The Methodist Hall, by The Cross, Barton Street, Tewkesbury, Glos
Refreshments available.
Disabled friendly.
Further details

Worcestershire Open Studios August 25 to August 28
At several venues

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Painting Challenge - Canoe Slalom

Several people have reminded me that I haven't set a painting/drawing challenge for some time. Now that things have settled down after the exhibition I thought I'd share one of the photos I took in Italy last month. Email a digital image of your picture to

I've chosen this one as it is uncluttered by the trees and life-savers on both sides of the river and by the various wires and poles suspended above the river to form the gates for this international slalom competition held in Merano on 20-21 May. This is a fast flowing, icy cold alpine river and half the difficulty with painting this will be keeping the dynamism that shows even in this still photograph which I took from the the vantage point of a bridge near the finishing line.

If you really want to appreciate the movement of this river and the difficulties for canoeists then take a look at this video from the day we were there.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Summer Exhibition

A Walk in Frith Wood voted Best in Show
Our exhibition was well received by the public many of whom commented on the attractive way the pictures were displayed and the variety of styles. Many remarked on the wonderful and welcoming display of flowers as they reached the top of the stairs. Many thanks to Sue Embrey who provided the flowers from her garden.

With the exhibition extended for an extra three days we recorded a total of 540 visitors - 157 came on Community Day. Thank you to all the visitors who voted for the Best in Show. Not an easy choice with 71 paintings to consider. The winning painting was A Walk in Frith Wood, by Ian Fountaine. The runner up was Bergen
Winner and runner up
, by Colin Harries. I'm glad to say both paintings were among the ten that sold. A further three paintings from the print browsers also sold as did 144 cards.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in organising, hanging or stewarding and particular thanks to the seventeen artists who exhibited.

A number of members were not able to exhibit this time but we hope that most of them will be able to take part in the Christmas Exhibition - 20 to 25 November.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Pictures from the Summer Exhibition

Here are a few pictures from the exhibition. We have a good standard and wide variety of work well displayed in the Weavers Gallery. We shall now be open for an extra three days, finally closing at 4.30pm on Wednesday 14 June.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Summer Exhibition 2017 - with extra days

Don't miss our Summer Exhibition at Weavers Gallery, Church Lane, Ledbury HR8 1DW

The exhibition will be open to the public at the following times:
     Monday 5 June, 2.00pm - 4.30pm
     Tuesday 6 to Saturday 10 June, 10.00am - 4.30pm
     Sunday 11 June, 11.00am - 3.00pm

     Monday 12 to Wednesday 14 June, 10.00am - 4.30pm

We are grateful to Amanda Wright of Weavers Gallery who has allowed us to have three extra days in the gallery. Please be aware that The Homend and part of Bye Street will be closed for road works on the first three days of the exhibition.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Graham Wilson demonstration

Rainy day at the beach
Graham Wilson produced three paintings while he entertained us with the humorous manner in which he communicated his approach to watercolour painting and working with line and wash.

He works on Bockingford Rough and uses tube watercolour pigments from Ken Bromley.
In the woods

On the beach
When he applied paint the brush was not heavily loaded and he worked wet on dry and also demonstrated the use of dry brush technique e.g. for the sea in the first picture.

For the tree trunks in the woodland painting and the masts of the boats in the third picture he painted the edge of mount card scraps and 'printed' the paint onto the paper.

The grasses in the foreground of the first picture and elements of the trees in the second were painted with a rigger. He favoured a rigger from Rosemary which is designed to hold more paint than a conventional rigger.

For more of Graham's work visit,%20Graham

Friday, 10 February 2017

Carole Baker: Landscape in Acrylic

Our demonstrator for February was Carol Baker  who tackle a landscape using a scumbling technique to apply thin layers of acrylic paint.

Carole does a lot of plein air sketching and uses her sketch book to plan her studio paintings. The image to the left shows a thumbnail and a water colour sketch for the painting she demonstrated.

Notice also that the sketchbook shows what she has chosen as her palette for this painting. As well as three primaries, she has a light violet, white and Paynes Grey.

She always works with a limited palette and keeps a stack old Ferrero Rochet boxes with a different selection of paints in each. Here's the one she used for the demonstration.

Her support was an MDF board primed with brushed on gesso, which gives some texture, and then coated with emulsion applied with a roller. She had then applied an underpainting using a mixture of the red and Naples Yellow from her palette and would expect some of that to orange to show through and add some dynamism to the picture.

The following images show the development of the painting.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Low tide at Bosham

We have yet another response to the Painting Challenge and this one's particularly creative as Ian Fountaine has managed what Canute failed to do and has stopped the tide coming in. Yes, it was supposedly at Bosham that Canute commanded the waves without success. I bet Canute couldn't paint like Ian either.

Here's what Ian wrote when he sent in his entry. "Sorry to take so long to get around to your painting challenge.  In fact, by the time I got there the tide had gone out!  Actually this is with acknowledgement to Joe Francis Dowden who will demonstrate for us in October and who painted the same scene in this manner."

If you have ever visited Bosham you'll know that it is the houses that have a wall separating them from the road below and at high tide the road is often flooded.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

LAS Challenge

I thought I had better have a go at the painting challenge I set last month and tackled it with watercolour. Some parts of my effort I found quite pleasing but I really fiddled too much with the grassy areas and the rippled water. I also found the more distant buildings a little too strong and there is one building near the right where I have distorted the perspective. I really should have used a smaller brush for the windows or at least avoid overloading it. My other problem had nothing to do with painting but everything to do with my ability with a scanner. Never mind, at least I've increased the amount of painting and drawing I do since Christmas.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Valerie Briggs - Pastel demonstration

A misty start to the day
Valerie Briggs produced two different pastel paintings during her demonstration of atmospheric landscapes. 

Her first is shown on the left. Both this and the subsequent painting were produced without reference materials. She obviously has an excellent visual memory which, I'm sure, is the result of well developed observational skills.

Before starting she gave us some useful guidance on types of pastels and the various supports available and how well they held the pigment. It seems the "dreaded velour" sheds the pigment rather rapidly. The demonstrations were on Canson Mi-Teintes. Looking at the images of the second demo painting I can see that the right hand edge of the paper is lightly embossed with the brand name - probably not something you would want to show up in your work.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

First responder

by Diana Forsyth
Here's the first painting in response to the painting challenge based on a photograph of Bosham. Thank you Diana.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Now on tumblr

Yes, we have a second blog This is a bit experimental so we'll see how it develops. You might like to look at some of the other blogs on tumblr as there are a lot of artists using it to show what they're doing.