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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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

Demo April 2017 - John Harrison

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Wed, April 12, 2017 11:36AM
Demonstration 4th April 2017 - John Harrison, Line & Wash

report by Maggie Goodsell

John started by telling us a bit about his background. He said that he had drawn since he was old enough to hold a pencil but then went on to become a professional drummer, retrained as a graphic designer & spent many years running a design & illustration business before becoming a professional artist.

John did a quick pencil sketch before doing a more detailed pen drawing. He said that other than for demos he prefers to go straight in with pen. He uses Unipin Fineliners 0.1 - 0.8 on Saunders Waterford 300g rough paper. He likes the rough texture as the pen produces less well defined lines.

Pen detailing on the wall. Apologies for the quality of some of the photos - as John works flat I had to take some from the screen & there was a strong cast shadow from the camera.

More pen work - John said he regards his style as 'pen with paint ' rather than painting.

Using a squirrel mop & working wet in wet John painted a cobalt blue sky and the foreground vegetation.

Working wet in wet on the house - dropping in odd colours to suggest the stonework.

Work in progress - you can see how fine the nib of the pen is. John carried on painting through the tea break with a fair crowd round him - fortunately nothing was spilled !!

The finished picture. John said that he would look at it another day to see what else needed doing.

An entertaining & informative demonstration from John.

John's Tips

Waterproof ink will move if not completely dry when water is added - this can give some nice effects.

Paynes Grey is a good colour for shadows, especially the makes that are more blue than grey

Always carry (& use) a sketchbook - John brought along several of his to show us and said that so many people asked if they were for sale he produced a book of his sketches.

Demo March 2017 - Peter Dalziel

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Sat, March 25, 2017 09:41AM
Demonstration 7th March 2017 - Peter Dalziel, Pastel Portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge
report by Maggie Goodsell

Peter started by telling us a bit about his background, including his new venture as a cruise ship art tutor for Fred Olsen. He said that he prefers to do portraits from a photograph as sitters tend to move about.

Peter told us that it is best to get an overall plan first rather than concentrating on detail too soon. This picture demonstrates the use of triangles to establish the relative positions of the features of a face.

Working from a photo of the Duchess of Cambridge, Peter sketched out the main lines using conte pastel on tinted pastel paper.

Peter used a fairly gentle background to help project the image forward.

Defining the face

Progress of an eye - Peter said to remember that when painting eyes you are basically painting part of a golf ball.

Peter used a tinged white to blend the colours on the face, taking note of the contours when blending.

Peter said that he prefers not to paint teeth but if you have to, the trick is to paint the shadow around them and then use a blender to lightly pull the pastel down to form the teeth.

When using pastel Peter, being right handed, works from left to right across the picture to avoid smudging. He said he would normally do both eyes at once to get them the same colour.

It was at this stage that Peter realised that he hadn't quite got the eyes right. In the studio he would have rubbed off the pastel on the offending eye - he thought probably the first one - and started again.

Peter said that a portrait would normally take him 3-5 hours - he managed an impressive amount of detail in just 2 hours.

Peter & the Duchess of Cambridge.

A selection of paintings by Peter in a range of media

Thanks to Peter for an interesting & informative demonstration

Peter's Tips

Peter uses a double ended blender, very useful for quickly making different marks

A blender can be used to pick up colour and use it elsewhere.

The top lip is usually darker than the bottom one.

Shading in the corner of an eye will give it roundness

When painting commissions Peter likes to see where the picture is going to hang as this enables him to paint the background in a sympathetic colour

Demo February 2017 - David Hyde

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Mon, February 27, 2017 10:49PM
Demonstration 7th February 2017 - David Hyde - Acrylics, Egret in Shallow Water
report by Maggie Goodsell

David started by giving us a bit of background about himself and his methods. He said that with acrylics he prefers to use Liquitex Soft Body - this needs less thinning than heavy body and therefore stays more opaque. He works on 2mm MDF board cut to the size of the frame. He masks out the area to be painted, allowing room for the a mount. He would also usually work flat.

The masked off area & the preliminary painting.

David worked over the background a bit more to give it more of a feel of water and then removed the masking tape. He said the colour of the masking tape can be off-putting when trying to get tonal values right.

The impressive reveal as David pulled off the Frisk masking sheet - we'd all been wondering what he had used.

David painted the feet in a bright yellow and then worked in blue on the neck. He said he alway moves the support round to get the optimum painting angle for the brush strokes.

Neck blocked in and some work on the body. David said that for white birds it is far easier to work on the white background and add shading than it is to paint white feathers.

Again moving the board around to get the right angle - in this instance working on the beak from tip to base.

David decided the water needed a bit more attention so put a bit of masking tape back. He was also unhappy with his choice of blue for the neck so toned it down with green.

Upside down again to work on the beak. In this closer view it is easier to see the shading on the feathers.

David said that he would usually walk away from his painting at regular intervals to check how it looked from a distance. He found that our large screen saved him a walk !!

Detail of the eye - David said the head & eyes are usually the first thing he paints not, as in this painting, almost the last. You can also see where David has added white highlights & 'flicky' marks for the feathers

An amazing image painted in a very short time. He said that given more time he might have put more reflection of the bird in the water but that there wouldn't have been much as the water was a bit choppy.

David said that the fine detail alone usually takes him several hours aided by nice music & a glass of wine or two - he had to make do with tea & biscuits this time !!

David with the finished painting.

An excellent demonstration from David - he was everything a demonstrator should be but often aren't.

He was clear spoken, informative, entertaining & rarely stood in front of the painting.

David's Tips

Ensure you leave each layer to dry properly or it may lift off when overpainting - a good excuse for a coffee or a glass of wine !! Some artists use varnish or glazing medium between layers to give them a stable surface.

He mostly uses plates for palettes, only moving onto a staywet palette when he is doing fine details at the end - saves mixing colours when he is tired !!

Small detail brushes wear out quickly on wood so budget for one per painting - David prefers W&N Galeria.

Putting a small amount of white in a mix will give a feeling of distance - David used this technique in the furthest leg.

When thinning the paint a lot David uses acrylic glazing mediums as too much water can cause acrylic paint to become unstable. When it's finished & dry he uses a satin varnish to even the painting up.

December Challenge 2016

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Fri, January 13, 2017 11:41PM
At our December 2016 meeting we held a painting competition. Members were invited to paint their own version of The Old Mill, Lyme Regis from this photo.
Twelve members rose to the challenge which was judged by John Gray of Riverbank Studios, Spalding

1st place (centre) Wyn Cocks, 2nd place (left) Sally Slade, 3rd place (right) Colin Twell
Prizes were donated by the SAA & Mo Teeuw

Thanks to everyone who took part & to John for doing the difficult task of judging
Wyn Cocks 1st Place
Sally Slade 2nd Place
Colin Twell 3rd Place
Arthur Beevers
Bev Healey
Clare Ratcliffe
Donna Halfteck
Gill Harker
Jon Healey
Maggie Goodsell
Stewart Picton
This one wasn't signed - any ideas ?

Demo December 2016 - Mo Teeuw

Demo Evening ReportsPosted by Maggie Goodsell Thu, January 05, 2017 05:39PM
Demonstration Report 6th December 2016 - Mo Teeuw - oil landscape

by Maggie Goodsell

Mo Teeuw kindly stepped in when the booked demonstrator - Fraser Scarfe - cancelled at very short notice. She said she would be doing an oil painting of a scene from the Norfolk Broads adding Griffin Alkyd oil paints to her mixes to speed up drying time.

Mo's reference photo

Working in a thin dark wash Mo blocked in the fields - bringing the horizon down to give a better visual effect.

She then blocked in the reflections in the foreground water and started painting the sky - aiming to do the bulk of it in one go.

The sky completed Mo started blocking in the water and .....

..... fields.

Mo then worked on the water & reflections in the foreground.

After much deliberation Mo finally put in the boat and water round it.

The finished picture.

Mo, as usual, gave us an entertaining & informative demo with lots of tips.

John Gray of Riverbank Studios came & judged our December Challenge painting competition. First place went to Wyn Cocks, 2nd to Sally Slade & 3rd to Colin Twell.

All the entries will appear on the blog as soon as I have worked out who painted the unsigned ones !!

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