Thursday, 21 November 2019


November's demonstration was a return visit by Eric Watson   demonstrating animal painting in pastels. Eric worked mainly with pastel pencils and moved to coloured pencils for finer details towards the end. His favoured support is now Clairefontaine Pastelmat which has a smooth cork grain surface. Animal reference photos for artists are available online.

More information about Eric's work can be found on his website

Below are a few images from the demo.  Thanks to Eric for an excellent demo.

Showing the difference between pencil and pastel
Eye to the left in pencil
Eye to the right in pastel

Many colours in the eye

Background added after most of the snow leopard
has been painted

Some whiskers added

Thursday, 3 October 2019


Our October demonstration was by the hugely popular and energetic Jo Francis Dowden.  An acknowledged master of the art of watercolour, Jo had driven up from the Sussex coast to a packed audience of the Ledbury Art Society.
Jo had visited us some years ago and was welcomed back by the Chair Richard Hyde.
Jo had taken a scene and traced it first, then transferring it to his Arches paper.

As light is a key element of all his paintings, Jo demonstrated how he used masking fluid (Holbein) to pick out where key light elements were.  He mixed a considerable amount of paint using Pthalo Green and Yellow with a little burnt sienna, pointing out that most of us mix way too little paint for those initial first washes! Using a hairdryer (or two) he ensured the masking fluid was dry, leaving those annoying large blobs to manage later.

"Masking creates the space" and urged the audience to use the concept of space more fully when creating a composition.  When asked about the paper he uses, he divulged a catalogue of information on the types and processes of paper making and uses across the globe!  

Placing paper scraps over the river bank he proceeded to spatter water with a sable brush (No 12 Rosemary) as sables release water far better than synthetics.

Using a larger brush he used the spattering technique further and added Cad Lemon to his previous mix to create power and strength of tone in some areas, adding that it was better to "correct your mistakes sooner" than leave them!
All Joe's pictures have no narrative and no title but he was adamant that they were about "seeing" and that value is the key.  "Value does all the work : colour gets the glory."

Using a mix of Payne's grey he added the darks and the detail of tree trunks before working on the water and the path, checking the placement of the trees with the tracing.  The water was pthalo blue and burnt umber before adding more greens and detail with the brush.  After drying he added more layers for intense darks, transitioning as he worked upwards.  Using Naples yellow and a cobalt turquoise he added further detail to the trees.  Quin.Gold was added for the water keeping it wet and adding Cadmium yellow for pure highlights before adding reflections of trees and a little blue in the water.  Using a damp brush, he lifted out the colour to portray the muddy underwater.  Carefully removing the masking Jo finalised the painting with highlights in areas of the path and bank and water's edge lightly with a brush.

The finished painting with the mass zones blended and the break zones broken up.  Jo checked in a mirror the reflections and revealed the image to warm appreciation from all.

Thanks Jo for a masterclass full of light and humour!  And good luck in the future!

Saturday, 14 September 2019


We welcomed Chris Norman to our September demonstration on the Art of Perspective.

A lecturer for many years, Chris introduced us to the principles of perspective and their importance in the composition of good art.

A keen climber in his time, Chris has viewed many a good subject from an altogether different perspective to most of us, and whilst it was not an easy subject for some to get to grips with (indeed all artists struggle!) his talk enlightened the uninitiated and clarified difficult issues for others.

Using some of his own work to demonstrate, particularly around townscapes and the complexity of roofline and sightline, Chris also explained the 'magic' of shadow in perspective.  

His paintings from France showed the use of good arial perspective, something which many artists avoid if they can.  It was a timely demonstration as members begin to plan their Autumn painting output for the Society's November Exhibition!  Grateful thanks to Chris for coming to Ledbury.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

LEANNE ELLIS Acrylic Landscapes

We welcomed Leanne Ellis to the Society demo on 7th May.
Leanne is a demonstrator for both Winsor and Newton and Pebeo and provided a wide range of
materials for the Society members to buy.  Leanne uses a maximum of 5 brushes and mixes acrylics on a specially designed palette, keeping her colour choices to a minimum.
Leanne's first canvas demonstration was a boat house on Lake Windermere.  After  roughly sketching in the outlines, she used cobalt blue for the sky, and a wide synthetic brush, she then added white for clouds in a loose fashion.

She then put in the hills and shadows, emphasising the need for these.  Using Hookers Green (Mr Hooker was a famous plant hunter!) and buff titanium she highlighted the hills.  Moving on to the lake using Payne's gray.

She showed how to create a realistic wood grain on the boat house with just a few strokes, then added the roof and trees with Hookers Green and burnt sienna.  Creating the path and shadows, she used Alizarin crimson and Payne's gray to create the final scene.  Then using her fingernails scratched grass.

For the second part of her demonstration Leanne used watercolour paper, which she wet to add light layers of acrylic.  Creating a beach scene she showed techniques for creating rocks and people.

She concluded the morning by sharing a few tips on landscape painting with acrylics.  She kindly presented the Society with one of her paintings for a future raffle prize.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019


Cheryl has a great love of animals and her work is finely observed.  For her demonstration on 2 April she chose to paint a racoon.  Using a fine velour pastel card which was black, she outline the image using white, blue and a little black.
Cheryl worked the pastel well into the ground of the pastel card, ensuring us that it would take up to several layers of pastel.  She then introduced the outline of the branch adding subtle colouring.  The definition of eyes and nose were kept til later.
Using a mixture of hard and soft pastels and pencils, Cheryl added the definition for the nose and eyes and then began to work the detail of the fur on the head and face, adding more white well worked in to draw out the features.
The finished painting was full of character and detail, with beautiful attention to fur and eyes.  Several members ordered some of the velour pastel paper to try out in the future.  Thanks to Cheryl
for a special insight into her lovely work!

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Richard Crabtree - Line & Wash

Richard Crabtree

We were pleased to welcome Richard Crabtree to demonstrate working with line and wash. Richard holds regular classes and workshops in watercolour, oils and pastels, at Avoncroft Arts Centre, Bromsgrove. You can find more details on his website

Richard began by demonstrating a range of marks possible with pens, markers and modified lollipop sticks. A cable fault prevented us from using our projector so we were glad that Richard could adapt to this and use bolder marks for much of his demonstration.

Richard produced three pictures: a squirrel, a railways scene and a rose. Images showing the stages for all three demonstration pieces follow.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Paul Arnott - Computer Art

Walking the Dog - one of Paul's digital images
on his website
Paul's demonstration was quite different to what we've been used to but very instructive for the most of us who have little or no experience of using a Wacom graphics tablet attached to his computer to paint a picture. He took us through some of the main tools available in Corel Painter 12 (his preferred software) before showing us how these tools could be used to paint a seascape. The use of layers enabled him to reposition some elements of this painting. There were plenty of tips for those of us who might be tempted to give it a go.