2022-2023 Season

Mark Fennell – May Demonstration

Mark started work on a canvas primed with Gesso and then painted with burnt sienna, white and a touch of blue.

He was working from a photograph and started by working out the overall structure of the face with a long handled, short haired flat hog brush – he was keen to tell us it was a rather worn out one with no spring left! For colours he uses titanium white (particularly recommending Michael Harding warm white), naples yellow, cadmium yellow light, and earth colours. He did a lot of measuring to get the features in the right position. For commissions he would probably grid up. Marl essentially makes a tonal picture and suggests converting photos to black and white to help get the tonal values right. He empahsised the importance of squinting, looking for shape and form. Before any colour is added to the tonal picture he mixes many shades of the flesh colours on his palette then starts with dark tones and large areas first, always leaving the eyes and details to last. I was interested that he did the shirt and some of the background in order to give him some idea of tone to measure the flesh tones against. I should add that the final picture was an extremely good likeness from the minute the bridge of the nose was added and the end result was terrific in my opinion. mark scrubbed it out in disatisfaction before he left. He would, of course, normally take several days to complete a portrait, not 2 hours or slightly less.

Mark started work on a canvas primed with Gesso and then painted with burnt sienna, white and a touch of blue.

The pallette with the colours ready mixed
Finished work –
Jason the plumber

Barbara Robjant – March demonstration

Collage – well whatever anyone thought this might be about – it was certainly altogether a more fantastical demo. The slapping on and scrubbing off of paint with such energy, it was exhausting to watch but so compelling.

Barbara had brought her sketchbook and started by attributing the process to Jan Munro. She starts with 4 shades of painted paper, white , light grey, dark grey and black. She creates a kind of sketch using an image from a photograph or sketch, but created in a tonal way with the papers. Then sticks some different papers on a board, primed with gesso. the papers can be tissue, thick, newspaper, patterned, coloured – basically anything. All of this had been done ahead as the next step required that base layer to be dry. Then Barbara started slapping on paint, splattering, using stencils, bubble wrap, salt,It was applied with big paintbrushes, cards, fingers, then some was scrubbed off with a damp j-cloth, scratched off with the end of a brush. All highly entertaining and slowly a picture emerged. when finished it gets “varnished” with Acrylic Gloss medium. The first two pictures below are the work in progress and the final picture is how is ended up when completed after the demo was finished.

You can see more of Barbara’s work at www.Barbararobjant.co.uk

Final piece

Rodney Kingston – February demonstration

Rodney painted a still life of everyday objects in oil paints. He started by roughly placing the objects, using only straight lines – so sort of drew a box or other shape that each of the objects fitted into. He worked dark to light, so placed the shadows under the objects and the space between them . then with the mid tones he defined the objects, constantly adjusting the shapes and re assessing the shadows. Despite our impatience, he waited until the very end to add the highlights!

Rodney is a graphic artist and, in order to improve his painting, he got up early at least one morning every week and took the train into London, setting himself up somewhere along the Thames and painting what he saw. After 11/2 hours he packed up and went to work. When you see the paintings, he made in that short time you realise that practice can make perfect!

Below you can see the objects he brought to paint (I hoped he would pass the biscuits round at the end!) and the painting he did in the time which again amounts to about 1 1/2 hours, all the while describing his process and materials.

Actual objects
The completed painting.

You can tell from these two photographs that I am shorter than Rodney! His view is from a higher vantage point.

Keith Hornblower -November demonstration

Church Street Rickmansworth the final painting

Keith’s background is in graphic art which might contribute to his swift drawing. He was happy to move things that improved the composition. Keith explained his wet in wet technique and he splashed water over his picture (when I do that I get cauliflowers!) He started by working out the eye level of his reference photograph, always held his 4B clutch pencil at the ‘wrong’ end, used a limited palette, unstretched140lb Bockingford paper and a large mop squirrel hair brush. His colours were quinacridone gold (a transparent yellow) Bordeaux red (similar to Alizarin crimson) Cobalt, turquoise and maybe ultramarine or pthalo blue. He said he always used a bit of muck from the palette to tone down his blue for the sky. He was always looking for ways to join shapes together and lose edges. Dark colours can only be mixed from transparent colours. The pictures he brought with him showed a fantastic range of subjects, all in watercolour. They were outstanding in my view.

Laura Reiter – October demonstration

The final painting

Laura used mount board, first gesso’d (?) Sometimes she puts a pale wash over the surface. The photo she was working from is falpping at the side, just visible. She drew the composition with acrylic pens, and water soluble pen – never pencil or graphite. she slowly built up layers of watery acrylic, blending edges. She explained hat she was always thinking about the tonal values as she went along. She draws into the final image with art crayons, emphasising different parts of the picture. all her paintings have a little bit of pink in them!

Keith Morton – September demonstration

Portrait in Acrylic

The start
The finish

Keith spent much of the first half of the available time making the marks that you see on the left.

Already it looks like the subject. The paint was applied to his prepared ground which is burnt umber. No blending was done on the painting, all colours were mixed and applied next to each other, leaving the viewers eye to do the blending.