Spalding Arts & Crafts Society News

Spalding Arts & Crafts Society News


This is where you can find details of the latest changes to our website -, plus news of exhibitions, events, members' news and activities and demonstration evening reports. Members - Email Katie to have your activites, achievements, art courses and painting holidays added.
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Dec 2017 Demo - Howling Wolf by Vic Bearcroft

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Thu, January 25, 2018 10:48AM
Demonstration 5th December 2018 - 'Howling Wolf' Wildlife Pastel by Vic Bearcroft

Report by Maggie Goodsell

Vic said he would be doing a pastel painting on black velour using a limited range of just four colours - blue, sanguine, white & black. He said he prefers a harder pastel as they are better on velour and that velour will take many layers of pastel.

Vic took this picture of a North American wolf called Nuka at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust in Berkshire. He said that the black velour background would give a more dramatic & atmospheric picture.

The initial sketch using a white pastel. Vic did this freehand but said you could use white Tracedown.

Starting a tonal sketch

Blending into the pile of the velour

Blocking in the fur using the flat side of the pastel and blending. Vic said that you need to be patient when working on black velour as it takes several layers to make an impression.

Vic called this the 'Slapping on Stage' or Stage 3 in his process. Blocking in colour without too much thought.

Vic blended in the blue & added sanguine.

More blending

Stage 4 - More white pastel to give shape & texture to the fur. Vic said that since winning a competition with a looser style than his old almost 'photographic' style he now doesn't spend days painting individual hairs on animals, preferring to give a general impression of texture with just a few tweaks at the end.

Using black pastel to tighten up areas & to strengthen shadows. Vic said that you can blow excess dust off the velour but be very careful not to spit on it as this will irreversibly damage the pile.

Adding some detail. Vic said to note that when wolves howl they do not show their top teeth.

Stage 5. Vic defined the teeth & eye & added some atmospheric breath - it is after all in the cold tundra.

Vic and the finished painting.

An excellent & entertaining demo from Vic who showed that less can be more.

Demo Nov 2017 - Jane Lazenby - pencil & acrylic

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Thu, November 30, 2017 11:21PM
Demonstration 7th November 2017

A Runaway Horse called Sebastian - Pencil & Acrylic by Jane Lazenby

Report by Maggie Goodsell

Jane started by telling us a bit about her background and how she likes to work - apparently she usually paints sitting cross legged on the floor!

The subject of the demo was to be a horse called Sebastian, who had decided that he had had enough of performing at a show & took flight. Jane said she was just in the right place to take the photo.

Jane said that normally she would just draw the subject and make alterations as she went. The time constraints of a demo make this impractical so she used trace-down for the image.

Using Derwent Coloursoft pencils on mountboard, Jane started to lay down an underdrawing. She said she keeps turning the pencil to maintain it's point.

Drawing complete

Using Atelier Interactive Acrylics, Jane started blocking in the background with a Burnt Umber / Winsor Blue mix ....

... using the same colours on the horse.

Jane working on some highlights

Colour was then added to the horse using mixes of Cobalt, Cerulean & Pacific blues with Magenta & White. Jane said Sebastian doesn't have a deformed mane - it is tied up in braids as he has a very long flowing mane which can get in the way.

Adding more detail & colour in stages

Jane returned to pencil for a bit to tighten up some areas but found the lack of tooth on the mountboard a problem so switched back to acrylics & a finer brush.

Using acrylics, Jane extended the background area.

Jane, the finished painting & the original photo.

An interesting & enjoyable demonstration - Jane's love of horses came through very strongly.

A selection of Jane's paintings. She said that the more detailed ones were commissions, the looser ones were how she likes to paint for herself

Demo Oct 2017 - Terry Chipp - textured acrylic

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Sun, November 05, 2017 06:13PM
Demonstration 3rd October 2017 - Textured Acrylic by Terry Chipp

Report by Maggie Goodsell

Terry started by showing us an example of the type of picture he was going to do and explaining his technique.

He showed us how he uses a stencil & gesso scraped on with a palette knife ...

... to create a raised shape. This must then be left to dry properly.

You can see the raised area of a door knocker in this picture. Terry was using a Frisk canvas.

Terry wet the canvas & then blocked in the colours using Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna & Burnt Umber with damp kitchen roll ...

... adding Phthalo Blue Green shades to the mix.

He then blended this.

The next stage was lifting out colour with a damp cloth.

Terry painted the shadows in with a brush, using his fingers to blend & soften the colours.

Terry used a small stencil to put the screws in ...

... and then toned them down.

He used Cadmium Red Deep on the knocker ...

.... and then Yellow Ochre for the highlights. Each time he paints something Terry then blends & smudges with his fingers.

The painting so far.

Detail on one of the panels.

Terry added a purple & red mix, dragged over the door crosswise to bring out the grain of the wood. He then decided that the top right panel needed 'something'.

He used a stencil to put some random lettering on the panel .....

... dabbing the paint on with wet tissue. He got through a lot of kitchen roll on this painting!!

Terry thought the lettering looked a bit stark ...

... so toned it down by dabbing paint over it.

The keyhole. Terry said that adding a few cracks in the wood makes it instantly look more realistic.

The finished picture - one that I would happily hang on my wall.

Terry with the finished painting which shows the size.

An excellent & informative demonstration by Terry.

Some of Terry's other paintings that he brought along.

The painting on the left is the one Terry did the last time he visited us.

Demo September 2017, Paul Talbot-Greaves - Bold & Dynamic Watercolour

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Mon, September 25, 2017 09:26AM
Demonstration 5th September 2017 - Bold & Dynamic Watercolours by Paul Talbot-Greaves

Report by Maggie Goodsell

Paul said that he never does the same painting twice & does not practise his demo painting beforehand other than drawing it out prior to the demo. As he works fairly flat & wet he came prepared with his own camera, lighting & projector.

The reference photo

Paul's initial drawing in 6B pencil on Saunders Waterford Rough 300lb paper. He explained that he had simplified it slightly, leaving out parts of the background that he didn't feel added to the painting.

Apologies for the glare on some of the pictures - Paul had a very bright light, very wet paint and the photos were taken from the projected image.

Paul used scale dividers to get the proportions right when scaling up his photo. He brought several along for sale & quickly sold out.

Having worked out the lightest values, Paul worked his way down to cover all the paper. Starting with Cerulean Blue for the sky he progressed onto Yellow Ochre for the trees with some Burnt Sienna & Sap Green; Yellow Ochre & Burnt Sienna on the buildings with a bit of splatter for texture.

Winsor Blue, Alizarin Crimson & Burnt Sienna for the road.

Paul's palette - he said he tends to use watercolour neat & mixes on the paper.

Indulging in the dark arts !!

Sap Green & Cadmium Yellow for the central fern.

Yellow Ochre + for the wall.

Detail on the main focal point

Paul sprayed the distant hills with water to give a softer effect.

He occasionally sprayed areas to make the colours run and added darks - mostly by using neat paint on a damp brush.

More detail on the focal point - shadows from the trees on the buildings & white gouache on the sign.

Almost there.

Paul and the finished picture. He said he usually let the painting dry for a couple of days before deciding whether it needed more attention. He did do a bit of tweaking & the final result is on his Facebook page.

Because the image was so large on screen & partly due to the glare of the spotlight it was difficult to see exactly what Paul was doing during some of the wetter bits of painting. It was only when I took the final photo that the full extent of the detail was apparent - until then it wasn't obvious exactly what he was doing to the dry stone wall from where I was sitting.

Bold & dynamic it definitely was and Paul managed the right balance of information & painting as the room was fairly quiet - always a good sign !

You can see more of Paul's work on his website

Demo August 2017 - Naomi Clements-Wright, Floral Oil Painting

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Tue, August 08, 2017 05:03PM
Demonstration 1st August 2017 - Floral oil painting by Naomi Clements-Wright

Report by Maggie Goodsell

Naomi started by showing us how she set out her palette with strings of various shades of each colour. She said she prefers Michael Harding & Winsor & Newton oil paints.

Working on a primed aluminium board, Naomi roughly drew out the subject with paint thinned with turps. The subject was hydrangeas in a vase with apples.

Naomi then painted the darkest areas of the picture which in this case were the leaves.

She then switched to paler greens for the leaves & apples.

Adding highlights to the background to set the tone & then some shadows

Naomi then started putting some colour into the flowers

Some highlights on the flowers

Naomi said she had been unsure as to whether to include a distant darker background but finally decided she liked the contrast it gave

Although not apparent on the photo the white cloth was painted in shades of very pale yellow

Naomi said that a painting this size would normally take her 2 days to complete so she regarded this as a painting to be finished.

Naomi with the 'finished' painting & the subject

Naomi very kindly sent an image of the painting after she had finished it - the first demonstrator to do so!

Although an established artist this was Naomi's first demonstration - which everyone enjoyed. My only criticism would be that while painting she didn't always involve us in what she was doing.

Appreciating that it isn't an easy balance to talk, answer questions and get a painting completed in 2 hours, a demonstration does seem to flow better if enough information is given to pre-empt questions.

More of Naomi's paintings

Demo July 2017 - David Lewry, Black Faced Lemur in coloured pencil

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Sat, July 15, 2017 04:24PM
Demonstration 4th July 2017 - David Lewry, Black Faced Lemur in coloured pencil.

Report by Maggie Goodsell

David came well prepared for working flat with his own mike, camera, projector & screen. He said that he would be working in dry coloured pencil not watercolour pencil - mainly using Derwent Coloursoft & Faber-Castell Polychromos.

For speed David explained that he would be doing an image of a Black Faced Lemur which he had already prepared on black paper using white Trace Down. He said he works on several types of paper with a preference for HP watercolour paper. Today he was using the wrong side of Canson Mi-Tientes pastel paper which is smoother.

David said he likes to get the eyes completed first as it gives the animal a character. As he was working on black paper which can deaden colour he put down a white base first, using circular strokes to fill in the tooth of the paper.

He went over this with cream ....

.... followed by yellow through peach to dark orange, always working the strokes like the spokes of a wheel to create the eye. He added black to the pupil & around the eye.

Both eyes done

David used a paper stump to pull the black from the pupil and the outer edges into the iris. That & the addition of a light colour across the eye really gave it shape & depth. He said that eyes usually take him about an hour to do.

Working on the fur around the eye with a grey lavender colour ...

.... then white & light grey. David said to always work the pencil in the direction of the fur.

David then turned his attention to an ear, blocking in the outer edge with white ...

.... and then filling in with bold pencil strokes.

Man at work !

Returning to his grey lavender, David started work on the nose.

He followed this with white and then blended with a grey pencil.

Defining the nostrils ....

... and working on the muzzle. David put a series of black dots where the whiskers would emerge. David turned the paper on it's side to do the other ear, doing highlights in Chinese White. He said that his marks were sketchier the further away from the centre of the face he got. The whiskers were done in white & black.

The very impressive finished image

David sold the finished painting to one of the members and was donating the money to Macmillans.

An excellent demonstration from David who has honed his technique to suit the time available. Colour pencil is not a fast way to work, a finished picture can take several days, so we were all very impressed with what he achieved in the 2 hours. The image above is one of his workshop pictures that he says most people can complete in one day.

A couple of other pictures by David.

David's Tips

Work on good quality Hot Pressed watercolour paper, cartridge paper is too rough.

On good quality paper you should be able to do about 12 layers of pencil before it is saturated.

David suggests that if you are just starting out with coloured pencil then aim to buy about 40 as a minimum, either by buying a set or by tailoring colours to the subjects you mostly do.

Always work the pencil in the direction of the fur (or feathers).

Black animals are rarely just black, they usually have brown underneath so put brown pencil under black as black on it's own can be a fairly dead colour.

David achieves his flat backgrounds by first masking out the main image with Frisk film, blocking in the background with pencil and then blending this with a solvent blending fluid - he uses Johnson's Baby Oil but there are specialist products on the market.

Demo June 2017 - Amanda Jackson

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Sat, June 24, 2017 04:29PM
Demonstration 6th June 2017 - Turning Wave, an oil painting by Amanda Jackson

Report by Maggie Goodsell

Amanda started the evening by discussing the properties of colour, the colour wheel & colour harmonies. She said she would be using an analogous colour scheme for the demonstration i.e. colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel.

Working on MDF primed with coloured gesso & the wave lightly drawn out ....

... Amanda mixed a range of varying tones of her colours ....

... before blocking in the main structure of the wave.

As she needed this area to be dry for the later stages of the painting Amanda moved on to 'one I prepared earlier” - hence the difference in colour.

Amanda again prepared her palette with varying tones of colour in, as she called it 'strings' down the palette. She often picked up paint by drawing the brush across them & then twisted the brush as she painted to get a marbled effect.

Blocking in the darkest tones to give a reference point.

Amanda said to make sure the brush strokes follow the direction of the waves and to remember that the distant waves will be much more horizontal.

Amanda blended the colour by pushing pulling the brush between the blocks & then added some of the light foam areas of the wave.

She then mixed up all the foreground colours as she intended to do it in one go rather than in blocks.

The foreground painted ....

... Amanda used a Liquin glazing medium on the pre prepared dry areas of the wave to make them look translucent.

She then did more blending with a soft dry brush.

Adding the foam with a thick opaque white ...

..... just letting the paint not the brush touch the surface. Amanda said that she finds imagining what the water would feel like helps her to paint it.

The finished foam

Amanda removed any excess paint with a cotton bud and then used it to paint in other areas of froth.

As an experiment Amanda tried out a technique she had seen where you put black next to your brightest white to make it stand out more.

The technique seems to have worked in the finished picture.

Amanda with the finished painting and her reference pastel picture.

Another example of Amanda's work.

An excellent painting demonstration with an amazing amount of information about colour. If we only remember a fraction of what Amanda told us it should improve our understanding of how colours work.

Demo May 2017 - Andrew Geeson

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Thu, May 18, 2017 04:14PM
Demonstration 2nd May 2017 - Andrew Geeson, Loose Watercolour Flowers

Report by Maggie Goodsell

Andrew started by telling us a bit about himself & his methods. He said he had been a botanical illustrator since 1991 but 4 years ago, in need of a change, he taught himself to paint loosely. He said he thought it would be an easy thing to do but was several months before he worked out a style that suited him.

Andrew made a sketch of his subject using a few dots to position it on the paper, only joining them with a loose broken line when he was happy it looked right. The paper was Arches 140lb which he said he doesn't stretch - preferring to use the cockling to good effect.

Adding water to the flower area. Andrew changes his brush size to suit the size of painting. For this he mostly used a size 16 with a 3 for detail - both synthetic. He said the large brush size keeps him working loose.

Andrew said that he prefers to mix his colours on the paper, allowing them to bleed together and working light to dark. He prefers student colours as he finds they blend together better.

Andrew wet the foliage area, making sure the water didn't touch the still wet flowers. Once the area was painted he used the brush to lightly flick foliage paint up into the flowers.

The pot was worked in the same way.

Adding the background, Andrew again making sure the new paint didn't touch the areas already done until he wanted it to.

The finished pot of lavender.

Wetting the petals on a second painting.

Adding colour

Andrew uses the torn edge of kitchen roll to remove excess paint.

The finished sunflowers - complete with bees.

Andrew with both paintings

An interesting demonstration which hopefully inspired the group to give this method a go.

Because of the amount of water he uses Andrew has to work flat - so the camera & screen came into it's own for this demonstration. We positioned it over Andrew's shoulder & only occasionally had to remind him that we couldn't see through him !!

Some of Andrew's other paintings

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