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Artists & I L L U S T R A T O R S

August 2012 ÂŁ4.20

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PAINT th e COAST

TOP ART COURSES Fi nd the right one for you

Breathtaking artwork, inspiring advice

STILL LIFE SPECIAL Expert painting tips from the modern masters

tackle tricky subjects to ow H ! D E V L O S YOUR PROBLEMS

ER LIGHT ON WATro kes Paint with fewer st

REALISTIC HANDS me Draw them right first ti

TEXTURED FUR yers Learn to build in la


Photograph: Chris Nash. Image concept: Dewynters in collaboration with the National Gallery. Design: The National Gallery.

INSPIRED BY TITIAN AN EXHIBITION AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY CONTEMPORARY ART, POETRY AND DANCE A UNIQUE COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE NATIONAL GALLERY AND THE ROYAL BALLET

11 July–23 September 2012 Admission Free

www.nationalgallery.org.uk

Sponsored by


Artists & I L L U S T R A T O R S

WIN!

A weekend wor kshop worth £ 375 in our competition on page 6

HELLO!

A few months ago, I asked the followers of the Artists & Illustrators Facebook page to share the subjects they fi nd trickiest to paint. I imagined we might get a few comments so I was overwhelmed by the sheer variety of the responses we eventually got (not least the artist who struggles to paint the knees of camels!). So this month, we have devoted our techniques pages to tackling those tricky subjects. We asked a range of leading professional artists to share practical tips on subjects as diverse as painting drapery, drawing hands and mixing greens. If we’ve missed a topic, let me know and I will try to cover it in a forthcoming issue.

Steve Pill, Editor

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR

SOPHIE PLOEG

PRACTICALS

REGULARS

Our eight-page special features four artists’ unique perspectives on the British coastline

Still life painter Anne-Marie Butlin discusses her popular floral art

News, views, exhibitions and more

52 TRICKIEST SUBJECTS

24 ARTISTS OF THE YEAR 2012

With Royal Society of PainterPrintmakers president, Dr Bren Unwin

26 7 COURSES FOR AUTUMN

Over 15 pages, we show you how to tackle the subjects you struggle with, starting with painting drapery

New practical art workshops to try

56 HANDS SKETCHBOOK

The best new art books reviewed

28 Q&A

How to draw the perfect hand

32 PORTFOLIO

With Bonhams’ Old Masters expert

59 MASTERCLASS

Your beach scenes and seascapes

35 ON COMMISSION

47 FOR YOUR STUDIO

An interactive drawing for kids

Our look at tricky subjects continues with light on water

36 MY STUDIO

65 PAINTING FUR

Elspeth Lamb’s printmaking space

Pip McGarry shows how to build in layers to create a realistic effect

58 SUBSCRIPTIONS 76 LETTERS 82 LIFE DRAWING

68 MORE TRICKIEST SUBJECTS

With David Sargerson

13 COASTAL PAINTING

The last chance to enter your work

39 FOLLOWING CÉZANNE

Sophie is a Dutch artist who currently lives and works in Bristol. A regular exhibitor at major art society shows, she is currently specialising in painting drapery and wrote our feature on page 52. www.sophieploeg.com

ISSUE 316

FEATURES

How an unwanted gift sparked a lifelong passion for his artwork

42 MY SHETLAND DIARY Chris Rigby shares his experiences painting on the Isles for a month

48 TALKING TECHNIQUES

5 PERSPECTIVES 11 COLUMNIST

30 READING ROOM

New and inspiring art materials

Extra tips on painting trees, reflections and facial features

71 WINNING WAYS An award-winning wildlife artwork

72 NEW WAYS WITH STILL LIFE The final part of Adèle Wagstaff’s series looks at new variations

WWW.ARTISTSANDILLUSTRATORS.CO.UK

AUGUST 2012 Artists & Illustrators 3


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Perspectives NEWS • VIEWS • EXHIBITIONS • OPPORTUNITIES

Stadium styles

A

Artist Zanny Mellor has found a smart new perspective on the London 2012 Olympics

s sports fans across the globe gear up for the London 2012 Olympics, a host of artists have been using the games as inspiration for fantastic new series of work. Yet while most have either focused on the host city or the colourful, lycra-clad sportsmen and women taking part, young London-based artist Zanny Mellor has found a more interesting perspective on which to base her artwork. On Your Marks collects together a range of canvases that variously borrow from graphic elements of the sporting venues that will be used for the games, including the Olympic Stadium, the Velodrome and the Zaha Hadid-designed London Aquatics Centre. Zanny first previewed her stylistic interpretations of the capital’s sporting architecture with London Olympic Build III, a large-scale canvas that was featured in last year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. And with her solo display opening this month, she is set to win a whole new crowd of fans as spectators flock to the capital. On Your Marks runs from 20 July to 11 August at Neville Johnson, London W1. www.zannymellor.com

SELL YOUR ART WITH PORTFOLIO PLUS – FIND OUT MORE AT WWW.ARTISTSANDILLUSTRATORS.CO.UK Artists & Illustrators 5


perspectives exhibitions

private VIEW Our monthly round up of the UK’s best new art exhibitions

Fond farewell

After recently stepping down as president of Nottingham Society of Artists, Yvonne Rylatt stages a farewell show. Beyond Appearances (31 August – 9 September) takes place at the society’s gallery at St Luke’s House. www.nottingham artists.org.uk

NEVER FORGET

Old World, New World (7–26 August) celebrates the wildlife art of Guy Combes and Andrew Denman at Gloucester’s Nature In Art. Guy’s The Constant Gardener, left, is among the works on show. www.nature-in-art.org.uk

GO FIGURE! Re-Figured (28 July – 25 August) explores the figure in art. Red Book by John Wragg RA is one of more than 30 paintings and sculptures on show at Hilton Fine Art, Bath. www.hiltonfineart.com

A CRAFTY COLLECTION

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham is among past artists in The New Craftsman Gallery’s 50th Anniversary Show (18 August – 9 November) in St Ives. www.newcraftsmanstives.com

Double Trouble The atmospheric landscapes (above) of rising star Kirstie Cohen will be shown alongside abstracts by former Scottish Society of Artists president Christopher Wood in the Kilmorack Gallery’s summer double header (10 August – 22 September). www.kilmorackgallery.co.uk

SHARE DETAILS ABOUT YOUR NEXT EXHIBITION – EMAIL US AT INFO@ARTISTSANDILLUSTRATORS.CO.UK 6 Artists

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Dickens and the Artists 19 June – 28 October 2012 Watts Gallery Down Lane, Compton Surrey GU3 1DQ (30 minutes from London Waterloo) 01483 810235 info@wattsgallery.org.uk www.wattsgallery.org.uk

Exploring the significant connection between Charles Dickens and visual art. Includes major works by amongst others Sir Luke Fildes, William Powell Frith, Sir John Gilbert and George Elgar Hicks. Celebrating the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens. www.dickens2012.org

George Elgar Hicks (1824 - 1914), The General Post Office, One Minute to Six, 1860 Š Museum of London, Purchased with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Art Fund and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund.


perspectives diary

WIN A WEEKEND WORKSHOP IN DAVID HOCKNEY COUNTRY Artist Tony Hogan and his wife Eileen have been running the Art Breaks in Yorkshire centre for 16 years, taking art groups out into the Yorkshire Wolds made famous by the work of David Hockney. The couple’s work also features in a new exhibition, Colour in the Wolds, Wolds which runs from 30 July to 31 August at the Gallery at the Spa in Bridlington. This month, the one lucky winner picked from our prize draw can enjoy an allinclusive residential painting weekend at the centre with Tony. An OCA tutor and SAA professional, Tony will demonstrate a range of techniques and also provide £100 worth of free Atelier Interactive Acrylics from Chroma for you to use (and take home!). For details on how to enter, see the form below. To find out more about Tony Hogan’s artwork and courses, call (01262) 420068 or visit www.hoganart.co.uk.

ART BREAKS IN YORKSHIRE PRIZE DRAW

For your chance to win this weekend workshop, simply fill in this form and return it to: Art Breaks Yorkshire, Artists & Illustrators, 127-131 Sloane Street, London SW1X 9AS Alternatively, you can enter online at: www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/competition Name: Address: Postcode: Email:

Telephone:

Please tick here if you subscribe to Artists & Illustrators

The closing date for all entries is 16 August 2012

The winner will be announced in the October issue, on sale 14 September 2012. Terms and conditions apply. For full details, go to www.chelseamagazines.com/terms-and-conditions. Please tick here if you would prefer not to be contacted by Artists & Illustrators , the competition sponsor , or carefully selected third parties .

GRAYSON PERRY SPEAKS IN CONFIDENCE ON SKY Previous seasons of Laurie Taylor’s Sky Arts chatshow In Confidence have seen the likes of Tracey Emin, Sir David Attenborough and Stephen Fry faces the professor’s rigorous questioning. This summer sees the start of a fourth series with artist Grayson Perry among those opening up. Ever the entertainer, the Turner Prize-winning potter lets loose with his thoughts on Antony Gormley, Tate Modern, sexuality and more. In Confidence: Grayson Perry broadcasts at 8pm, 6 August on Sky Arts 1. You can read our selected highlights from the interview online at www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk.

THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH ● DRAW AT THE MUSEUM OF THE YEAR Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum was crowned museum of the year, winning the £100,000 Art Fund Prize 2012.Explore it up close with Nicci Wonnacott’s six-week Drawing from RAMM’s Collection course (starts 4 September). www.rammuseum.org.uk ● GO WILD IN AUGUST August is a busy time for wildlife artists. Not only does the online registration close for the Society of Wildlife Artists’ annual show (16 August) but there’s also three major bursaries and awards available. www.swla.co.uk ● DISCOVER THE LATEST TALENT Want to keep up to date with current art trends? FBA Futures (21–25 August) sees members of the Federation of British Artists selecting highlights from the recent 2012 degree shows. www.mallgalleries.org.uk ● VISIT ARTISTS AT WORK Artists will be taking over a West Sussex town for the 23rd annual Arundel Gallery Trail (18–27 August). More than 10,000 visitors are expected and an interactive map featuring more than 100 artists will be available online at www.arundelgallerytrail.co.uk ● DISCOVER THE BATH PRIZE Organisers of The Bath Prize have opened a pop-up centre in a disused shop on Stall Street, where you can find out how to enter (deadline 18 August) and also view winning works in September. www.thebathprize.co.uk ● GET SKETCHING THIS SUMMER Leeds Life Drawing is hosting a summer school over the August bank holiday (28 August – 1 September). Sign up for a single session or the full five days at Leeds Art Gallery with tutor Helen Peyton. www.leedslifedrawing.com

LEARN FROM THE MASTERS IN OUR ART THROUGH THE AGES SPECIAL! NEW ISSUE OUT ON 17 AUGUST 8 Artists

& Illustrators


MADE ENTIRELY BY HAND IN ENGLAND SINCE 1897 A

Garnet Apple Senior Designer: Rachel Bishop Shape: 121/14 Limited Edition: 100 Price: £1,155

Succulent pomegranates are dissected to reveal a hidden depth of colour and texture in this new Moorcroft design. The use of pomegranates in design at Moorcroft goes back to 1910 where the design originally hung from the shoulder of the ware. Interestingly, Rachel who is renowned for a design style that walks a narrow line between Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts design, has chosen to contain her design within Art Deco bands.

rts and Crafts grounded pottery, Moorcroft, have been creating pieces of Art Pottery in Burslem, Staffordshire for over one hundred years with each piece created using a formula established by William Moorcroft in 1897. Uniquely, a visit to the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre & Museum in Burslem allows the eye to journey in surface design, shape and colour through over a century of art history embodying Art Nouveau, Art Deco, the broad florals of the 1960’s and 1970’s, the bold design of the 1980’s and the contrasting Arts and Crafts revival of Rachel Bishop and the post Millennium ‘Organic’ design style of some of the art pottery’s leading current designers. Interestingly, for 2012, twentieth century ceramic expert, Eric Knowles, sees designs in the Moorcroft Catalogue that could lead an exhibition in the Applied Arts in any of the latter mentioned periods with new and exciting interpretations.

Water Nymph Designer: Kerry Goodwin Numbered Edition Price: £675 Erotic, Art Nouveau water nymphs absorb the mind into an alluring water landscape where hues of moss green trickle into deep waters. The colour palette is inspired by the darker green version of William Moorcroft’s Florian design Hazledene 1912-14. This is the Moorcroft designer’s third in a trilogy of ‘fusion’ designs where the female form is absorbed supernaturally into the natural world.

Jacaranda Designer: Emma Bossons FRSA Limited Edition: 50 Price: £545 Moorcroft designer, Emma Bossons FRSA, pushes the boundaries of ceramic design with a rich palette, featuring a stylised Jacaranda tree, twisting organically to the call of the natural world.

READER OFFER

Moorcroft Chairman, Hugh Edwards, alias Fraser Street, is currently writing a sequel to his third book on Moorcroft Pottery, A New Dawn. Artists & Illustrators magazine readers purchasing any of the designs featured on this page through the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre will receive this book, A New Dawn, worth £48 with their purchase, signed by Hugh himself. This offer expires on the 1st October 2012. Limited Editions are subject to availability. Contact Moorcroft on tel: 01782 820515 or by email:enquiries@moorcroft.com


perspectives columnist

the social news from your local groups and societies

With our new columnist Dr Bren Unwin, President of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers

devon seaton & district art society celebrates its 40th annual show from 4-9 august at seaton town hall.

OPEN TO INTERPRETATION

W

eXeTeR topsham art Group’s 46th annual summer exhibition runs 28 July to 12 august at topsham school.

hampshiRe the new forest art society annual show runs 13-19 august at the community centre in lyndhurst.

suffolk Visit lowestoft art Group’s annual art show at st mark’s church hall from 5-12 august.

susseX the association of sussex artists holds its landmark 100th exhibition at drill hall, horsham from 16-25 august.

WesT yoRkshiRe the ilkley art show returns to king’s hall and winter Gardens on 17-18 august with a host of workshops.

WhiTBy fylingdales Group of artists’ 80th annual exhibition opens at pannett art Gallery on 14 august.

RE OPEN – An International Exhibition of Excellence in Contemporary Printmaking runs from 17 august to 2 september at bankside Gallery, london se1 bren unwin, Whisky Central (detail), etching, carborundum and relief

ith more than 3,000 entries submitted from around the world for the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers’ new RE OPEN exhibition, there has been a lot of “looking at” to do recently. The way in which we look at things has been a topic of hot debate for centuries. Today, artists and art historians continue to explore ways in which ideas about looking might impact on art practice. In the 19th century, it was generally assumed that there was a separation between a viewer and their perceived surroundings. Such ideas considered the perceiver as simply an eye, rather than a sentient being who encountered the world around them through sensory perception of the human body. More recently, the act of “looking at the landscape” has been interpreted in quite a different way, which often involves taking into account the viewer’s body and its interaction with the environment. A question that frequently arises through my own art is, “How can a bodily association with the landscape be explored by painters and printmakers working today?” Examining written accounts of visual perception, such as Tim Ingold’s book, The Perception of the Environment, can help here. Such accounts highlight a mutual sort of relationship between an organism and its environment. Within such a relationship, time is important because perception occurs over time. As such, the order in which things happen is a key feature of how time can be explained. A relationship with the environment is constantly changing, and this is a significant factor in my own practice. With so many entries to look at for the RE OPEN exhibition, I am inevitably asked how does a selector choose from such a large submission? Each selector would no doubt provide a very different answer to this question. My own answer has to be: “By looking very hard” – not just with the eye, but also being mindful to how the work influences other senses too. The initial impact of the work on the viewer might be what we refer to as “gut reaction”. This is then followed with something more reflective. My relationship with the submitted works will, of course, be different from the experience of others. Previous experiences, cultures and tastes, as well as each selector’s diverse knowledge of techniques, all serve to divide the judging panel. The viewing of new types of work means that the selectors stretch their perceptual powers to extreme limits. Works that push boundaries, both in concept and technique, are not always simple to spot; they don’t usually look like “art”. As a result, this year’s RE OPEN will be grouped into separate sections, each with a panel giving information about the selector. This will mean that visitors to the gallery will have a clearer idea of what has led the selectors, after much looking, to choose the work that makes up their particular part of the show. A&I

find out more about the royal society of painter-printmakers at www.re-printmakers.com Artists & Illustrators 11


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Coastal Painting

Coastal Painting

From the rich textures of pebbled shores to the dramatic crashes of Atlantic waves, the British coastline provide artists with a great variety of potential subjects. Over the next eight pages, we look at a range of different approaches – starting with the work of Scilly-based painter Imogen Bone Words: mArthA AlexAnder Photos: chrIS hAll

Artists & Illustrators 13


Coastal Painting

L above Imogen at work in her St Mary’s studio right Jenkins Boys, oil on canvas, 70x50cm previous page Green Sea, White Water, oil on canvas, 70x60cm 14 Artists

& Illustrators

ook at a map of the UK and it’s likely you’d miss – at a first glance, at least – the Isles of Scilly. The diminutive islands off the most westerly tip of Cornwall are marooned in the Celtic Sea; at the mercy of the elements, they bring a whole new meaning to ‘rugged coastlines’. Nevertheless, there’s a buzzing community on the islands. The largest, St Mary’s, is home to painter Imogen Bone, whose work captures the essence of living all year round in a coastal community. Imogen’s paintings are traditional in terms of their subject matter – largely beaches and boats – but there’s also a modern twist to her work that sets her aside from the rather more rose-tinted approaches to the coast. “I maybe choose different ways of showing it, from shallow waters to the sparkling sea,” says Imogen of her oil paintings of the coast. “I love boats and scabby old fishing pots and bad weather. I am painting a different aspect of Scilly.” Her work is Impressionistic; the brushstrokes visible, bold and unruly, yet still capable of telling a story. “My lines have to be right – there are a lot of people around here who would tell me when I’m wrong with the boats,” she chuckles.

Imogen also paints figures in her work: a mother and child on the beach or fishermen on their boats. It’s important to her that they are people she knows. She believes that knowing how people hold themselves makes it easier for her to portray them correctly. Although Imogen initially made the move from her native Scotland for a degree in illustration at Falmouth,


Coastal Painting it was boats, not painting, that took her further west, right out into Scilly. “I used to row for Falmouth – I did gig rowing where you’re in really big old wooden boats with six people and a cox,” she explains. “Every May there are championships held in Scilly. The islands are packed with rowers and gigs. They line up and go from St Agnes to St Mary’s. I used to come over for that so I’d been a few times, before making the move.” Despite leaving university and returning to Scotland, Imogen went back down for the gig rowing championships again in 2008. “After a few too many pints I was offered several jobs and somewhere to live and thought, ‘OK, cool.’” Imogen worked all summer “waitressing, cleaning and not doing anything with her degree”, even though she always wanted to do something with her art. By the end of the summer, when the tourists went home and the islanders began to batten down the hatches for winter, Imogen didn’t want to leave. “I was offered a studio and I learnt how to paint,” she says simply, admitting that it felt like she had slipped into her current career. Her studio is one of five small businesses at the Phoenix Craft Workshops on St Mary’s, which also boasts a shared gallery space. “There’s a little group of us; a little co-op,” explains Imogen. “We all teach and hold classes or art events. It’s a nice way to work.” Imogen specialises in introductory classes to oil painting: “Oil colour is hard for people at first but I like encouraging people to get going.” The young artist is normally in the studio from 8:30am, which gives her a bit of time to work before the

studios open to the public. She’ll often be teaching in the morning and while she tries to paint throughout the day, admits she finds it hard to chat to visitors as well as focusing on her own work. “I’ll come back in the evening to really get into a painting,” she explains. “It’s better when there’s no one around because it’s really hard to paint with people coming in, watching you or asking a million and one questions.” >

above Bar Point Pines, oil on canvas, 100x70cm below Evening at Deep Point, oil on linen, 80x40cm

Imogen prefers capturing the coastal landscapes in the morning or evening: “The light is more interesting and less bleached out”

Artists & Illustrators 15


Coastal Painting

above Newlyn Harbour, oil on board, 40x30cm below right Bread and Cheese Cove, St. Martins, oil on board, 50x70cm

artist’s bio

Name Imogen Bone Born Dumfries, 1981 Trained University College Falmouth Next exhibitions Summer 2012, 21 July to 15 August, Beside The Wave, Falmouth; Summer Show, 23 July to 1 August, Tresco Gallery, Isles of Scilly More info www.imogen-bone.co.uk 16 Artists

& Illustrators

Unsurprisingly for a painter of coastal scenes, Imogen loves to get out of the studio to take in her surroundings. Although she sometimes takes her sketchbook, she works mainly from photographs back in the studio and doesn’t go anywhere without her camera. “I sometimes paint little watercolour studies but I don’t want to work with oils outside especially as I paint all types of weather,” she says. “I’m just not prepared to sit out there in a storm with all my oil paints.” Like plenty of artists, Imogen prefers capturing the coastal landscapes in the morning or evening. “The light is more interesting and a lot less bleached out,” she explains. “It’s softer and more yellow and the shadows

are longer, whereas if it’s sunny in the middle of the day, the light is far too bright.” Having painted on Scilly for the last five years, she knows the landscape extremely well. Interestingly, she says that the colours on St Mary’s appear different to those on the mainland. “They seem to be a lot clearer somehow,” she says. “It’s probably down to the light. You have the sea reflecting back all the brightness.” Her favourite place to paint is Bar Point – the long beach along the north side of St Mary’s – but Imogen enjoys ‘island hopping’ to find a variety of subjects. “St Martin’s has plenty of really open headland, with lots of gorse, heather and bracken. It also has Great Bay, which is a massive beach with pure white sand – you feel really free there. On Tresco, there are trees and gardens, so you feel more enclosed. And St Agnes is just beautiful – I will take any opportunity to go there. I am lucky Scilly has both sandy beaches and lush gardens – there is nowhere quite like here.” The seasons bring about a distinct change in Imogen’s paintings, not only in the obvious weather-dependent aesthetic details but also in her approach to her work. “Everyone who comes here in the summer thinks it’s so laid back but to me it’s really hectic, with the rowing, the bands playing, the barbeques and bonfires. It’s a lot of fun and I think my paintings get more energetic and brighter in colour.” “In the winter, it’s very different,” she adds. “The colours are moodier and angrier but overall the paintings are calmer and I will spend longer on them.” So while the island’s influx of tourists will often buy artworks from Imogen and other artisans on St Mary’s, it is the locals who have become clients throughout the year that are testament to how vividly Imogen captures a sense of their changeable island home. A&I


The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts

Open Programme The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts through the Open Programme offers a series of courses for the public which will teach the philosophical principles and practical techniques of the traditional arts of the great civilizations of the world. The partnership with the Farjam Collection will give access for the students to study and appreciate some of the finest masterpieces of this unique collection. Through a variety of events the Open Programme will encourage an awareness of the holistic nature of the traditional arts where inspiration is derived from the highest sources and where skill and dedication create masterpieces which we all recognise as part of our world heritage.

Courses can be taken as modules - students may create their own pathway of study to build towards a certificate Geometry Module • Geometry and the Order Of Nature •Traditional Geometry • Geometry of Structure • Geometry, Colour and Symbolism: The Golden Ratio • Geometry, Colour and Symbolism: Alchemy • Persian Patterns Arabesque Module •The Art of the Arabesque • Ottoman Design & Composition • Persian Spring • Harmony of Geometry & Arabesque Painting Module • Islamic Manuscript Illumination • Medieval Manuscript Illumination • Indian Miniature Painting • Persian Miniature Painting • Chinese Brush Painting • Egg Tempera: Pigments and Colour Harmony • Icon Painting • Oil Painting: Methods and Materials •The Flemish Technique: The Mixed Method of Oil Paint and Egg Tempera •The Alchemy of Paint: The Transformation of Earth, Rocks, Roots and Berries into Pigments Applied Arts Module • Ceramic Tiles with Geometric Patterns • Zillij: Moroccan Ceramic Tiles • Iznik • Ottoman Ceramic Tiles • Plate Decorating: Persian Designs • Mosaic • Stone Carving • Marquetry Calligraphy Module • An Introduction to Islamic Calligraphy I & II • Western Calligraphy

Courses start in October 2012 - Visit our website for more details www.psta.org.uk or call 020 7613 8547


COASTAL PAINTING

Richard Thorn WORDS: STEVE PILL

F

rom a childhood spent on the beaches of South Devon to his current career as a professional painter based in Brixham, the English coastline has been the one real constant in Richard Thorn’s life. “The coast looms large in my memory and my psyche,” he says. “Life really was a beach for me when I was younger and every chance I got I went down there. It relaxed me. I get my sense of distance from the horizon and the mystery of the sea appealed, too. That must have all soaked in at an early age.” As if to illustrate this, the 60-year-old artist recalls seeing a line of motorboats in Torquay when he was younger and the thrill that came when the light caught the underneath of the boats and “fragmented into a mosaic of colours”. Yet while many artists could appreciate similar scenes, the appeal of the coast also runs much deeper for Richard. “My home life was a bit turbulent so any time I could escape down the beach was like going to the inner sanctum – it was a release,” he says. “Typically when I was down the beach, it was sunny and warm and people were having fun, so all these elements combined to make me feel good.” Keen to share those feelings in his own work, Richard admits that he idealises his subject, painting beaches as

I Think it’s Going to be a Cloudless Day, gouache on paper, 56x51cm

Richard is fascinated by the idea of the coast as a “liminal” place – a transitional space between the land and the sea: “I want people to get lost in my paintings” he wants people to see them. However, he is equally fascinated by the idea of the coast as a “liminal” place – a transitional space between the comfort of the land and the mystery of the sea. “I want people to get lost in my paintings,” he says. “I know some artists who always like to include some vestige of human life, like a house, but for me it brings it down.” Now more than 30 years into a successful art career exploring such ideas, Richard almost didn’t get to this stage. After a disheartening time at the Newton Abbot School of Art in the late 1960s, he headed to London, plying his trade as a jazz guitarist. It was only when he returned to Torquay and got married that he considered picking up his paintbrush again. However, a local gallery quickly snapped him up and a string of successful exhibitions followed. Richard’s favourite spots to paint the coast include the Bedruthan Steps in Cornwall and the cliffs of Torbay, while a recent trip to Portugal resulted in a new series of more experimental work that mixed watercolour and shellac inks. “I’m trying to get more texture and abstraction in my work,” he says. “That’s the way I’m inching, biting my nails as I go.” Richard’s work features in Summer 2012 from 21 July to 25 August at Beside The Wave, Falmouth. www.richardthornart.co.uk

Mullion, gouache on paper, 41x38cm

Artists & Illustrators 19


COASTAL PAINTING

Andie Clay WORDS: JENNY WHITE

TOP Harbour Wave I, mixed media on paper, 65x82cm

A

mile or so behind Andie Clay’s house, the green fields of West Wales plunge into the choppy waters of Cardigan Bay. From her window, she can see all the way across the sea to the Lleyn Peninsula. “The coastline here is enormously powerful,” she says. “It makes me realise that man is a minute thing on the surface of the earth that could be obliterated in an instant.” Originally a graphic designer, Surrey-born Andie moved to Ceredigion when her husband secured a teaching job in the area. Ten years later she began to paint her surroundings: “I was just a human sponge, absorbing everything.” Even now, after many years as a professional painter, she needs a period of immersion in the landscape before settling down to work. “I have to prepare myself through walking and the daily practise of Tai Chi,” she says. “Only then will I feel ready to start doing some work.” Tai Chi, with its emphasis on the flow of energy, seems to have increased her sensitivity to the energies

Like her coastal walks, Andie’s art is an ongoing journey: “You always feel the best is yet to come” 20 Artists

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around her. “Every minute of the walk is different: the light changes, the wind blows in different directions, the rain’s there or not. “You get an amazing sense of freedom, and of the wildness and strength of nature. I like connecting with it, putting one foot in front of the other very slowly or even actually stopping and taking three deep breaths in one space.” A former life drawing tutor and compulsive sketcher, Andie always has an A6 pad to hand during her coastal walks and she uses her drawings to inspire mixed media paintings back in the studio. Each painting begins with a series of expressive marks made using a pipette and acrylic ink. “It’s taken me a long time to get any sense of control with it but you can make the most amazing marks this way. It has the strength, the energy and the power in it that I’m trying to convey. It provides a framework, a skeleton for the painting.” Next she adds layers of watercolour and pastel, lifting off unwanted areas of colour with a putty rubber. “I’ve never been taught to paint and draw so there’s no rulebook,” she explains. “I just try anything.” Like her daily coastal walks, her art is an ongoing exploration. “I’m on an exciting journey and I haven’t got there yet. Hopefully I never will, because that would be the day when there would be nothing more to say. You always feel the best in you is yet to come.” Andie’s work features in Britain’s Coastal Heritage until 24 August at Sea Pictures Gallery, Suffolk. www.andieclay.com


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Artists & Illustrators 21


Coastal Painting

Alison Cotton Words: steve pill PHoTos: emma wood

O

f all the potential subjects for landscape painters in Britain, there is perhaps none as thrilling as the five-mile stretch of East Sussex coastline that takes in Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. Little wonder then that a watercolour course overlooking the iconic cliffs has proved such a hit with locals and visiting artists alike. Artist and tutor Alison Cotton held her first course in the Coastguard Cottages at Cuckmere Haven last year. She had led several ‘watercolour walks’ in the area but leapt at the chance to host a course in the cottages: “They have this wonderful garden that is perched on the cliff edge – you can get down to the beach,

22 Artists

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there’s the veg patch and the white cliffs, or there’s the sea. It’s a really versatile location and everywhere you look is beautiful.” The large conservatory also offers “insurance” against bad weather – particularly useful as the weather on the cliffs can turn quickly. Combined with fast tides and racing clouds, it is a challenge that attracts a certain kind of artist. “The people who come here want to learn how to capture the spontaneity of the changing elements,” says Alison. “I’m not too prescriptive a teacher so my emphasis is work quickly, learn a lot and take risks.” And it’s not just artists who are enjoying the prospect of the cliff-top course. Professional photographer Emma Wood was exploring

nearby when she spotted a poster advertising Alison’s courses and asked if she could come along. “I’m starting to look at photographing landmarks from a more human perspective, looking at the relationships between them and the people who work, visit or live around them,” explains Emma. Her previous book, A Brit Different, focused on eccentric British events and the photos included here are the first fruits of her new series. “Alison’s course was the perfect start to the project. I’m really a photographer of people, not landscapes, but this project is giving me the opportunity to merge the two.” Alison’s next courses take place on 5 and 27 October. www.learn-watercolours-outdoors.com


Coastal Painting

Artists & Illustrators 23


Artists &

ARTISTS OF THE YEAR 2012 e c n a h c t as I L L U S T R A T O R S

L

to enter

in association with

This month is your last chance to send us your latest masterpiece for the chance to win professional gallery representation, painting courses and £1,000s of art materials

T

his month is your last chance to enter the Artists & Illustrators Artists of the Year 2012 competition. Brought to you in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), we’ve already had some fantastic entries to this year’s competition – see opposite. The search is simple: we want you to send us your best artworks. And to encourage your creativity further, we’ve changed the format this year. Rather than choosing a specific category this time around, we are holding a truly open competition so you can submit work in any subject or medium: a self-portrait or an expressive abstract? A bustling cityscape or a symbolic still life? The choice is yours! We are simply looking for creative and visually interesting artworks that demonstrate a good level of technical skill.

PRIZES

After the competition closes on 16 August 2012, the creator of the overall winning artwork will be crowned the Artists & Illustrators Artist of the Year 2012 and will receive gallery representation from leading London art dealers Osborne Studio Gallery and £300 worth of vouchers to spend on courses of his or her choice at Newlyn School of Art. We also have three additional arts material prizes that will be awarded to outstanding artworks of our panel’s choosing: The Maimeri Watercolour Prize, The Society for All Artists (SAA) Prize and The West Design Prize. All four winners will also take home a £200 voucher to spend on Canson products and receive a free year’s membership to our Portfolio Plus scheme. 24 Artists

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artists of the year 2012

HOW TO ENTER

LEARN MORE WITH V&A Why not expand your knowledge on a new course with V&A today?

This year, there are two ways that you can enter:

1. ONLINE

THIS MONTH’S V&A YEAR COURSE IN FOCUS:

Take a digital photograph of your artwork. Head to our website at www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/2012. Click on the “Submit your entry…” button and then fill out our simple online form.

Art and Design 1900–2012 Survey the great art and design movements, practice and practitioners associated with the 20th centuries and discover the background to their genesis in the social, political, economic and aesthetic events that began around the year 1900. Focus on the developing commercial function of design, on its ethical dimension, on its role in popular culture, and on its stylistic evolution. Architecture, jewellery, works in glass, fashion, graphic design, theatre sets and furniture will all be considered both in the context of the V&A collections and wider examples. Students can then examine modern artefacts at the V&A while contemporary designers and design professionals will describe and discuss their practice, interpretation and presentation of their craft.

2. BY POST

Complete the entry form below and post it along with a photograph or print of your work to: Artists of the Year 2012, Artists & Illustrators, 127-131 Sloane Street, London SW1X 9AS Entries will only be accepted in one or more of the following mediums: all water-based mediums (including watercolours), oils, acrylics, gouache, all drawing mediums and collage. You can enter as many times as you like but you MUST complete a separate form for each entry. Photocopied forms are accepted. The closing date for entries is 16 August 2012. Please DO NOT send us your actual artwork at this time – we are unable to return original work sent mistakenly at this stage. Instead please send prints of your work, no larger than A4 in size, and ensure your original works are available to send for the shortlisting stage in September (all shortlisted work will be returned in due course). We cannot offer criticism or individual feedback.

“Great to have a course focusing on 20th-century design. Such an amazing period of change.”

Artists & I L L U S T R A T O R S

ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2012 in association with

Name

BOOKING NOW

Address WITH THANKS TO

V&A year courses for 2012-’13 include: OUR SPONSORS  Early Medieval 300–1250  Late Medieval to Early Renaissance 1250–1500  High Renaissance to Baroque 1500–1720  Rococo to Art Nouveau 1720–1900  Art and Design 1900–2012 PortfolioPLUS

PortfolioPLUS To book your place, call (020) 7942 2211 or visit Portfolio Portfolio PLUS PLUS www.vam.ac.uk/courses

Postcode Date of Birth Email Telephone Title of work Medium used Size of work Please tick if you are a subscriber to Artists & Illustrators The winner will be announced in the December issue, on sale 9 November 2012. Terms and conditions apply. For full details, go to www.chelseamagazines.com/terms-and-conditions. Please tick here if you would prefer not to be contacted by Artists & Illustrators

, the competition sponsors

, or carefully selected third parties

.

Artists & Illustrators 25


7 COURSES FOR AUTUMN As the art colleges and schools gear up towards the September term, why not book yourself on a new course to improve your skills or even learn a new one? We’ve picked out seven great art courses for you to try this autumn

1

WORDS: STEVE PILL

Get close to the coast

3

The lure of a foreign painting holiday often gets the better of most of us, but as our coastal painting special proves this month, there are equally dynamic and engaging subjects to explore closer to home. Newlyn School of Art has quickly established itself as a go-to destination for artists looking for interesting twists on standard course topics. The school’s three-day Cornish Landscapes painting course is no different as experienced tutor Mark Spray takes students out along the rugged Penwith coastline to capture the essence of their surroundings. Armed with an A3 sketchbook and pencils, you will be encouraged to collect natural materials from the landscape too, which can involve making marks with moss, soils and more, as you develop your artistic spontaneity. The Cornish Landscape runs from 3-5 September at Newlyn School of Art, Cornwall. www.newlynartschool.co.uk

2

FRAME YOUR MASTERPIECE If you are already a confident painter but still fancy picking up a new skill, why not try your hand at framing your own work? Since launching from its High Wycombe base in 2008, DIY Framing has started dozens of courses across the country. The Photography & Art Framing Weekends cover all the basics of framing, mount cutting and decoration to get you started. The next Photography & Art Framing Weekends run 11-12 August and 15-16 September at DIY Framing, High Wycombe. www.diyframing.com

FIND A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON COLOUR

Colour is a fundamental element of almost all artwork and Callington School of Art offer a great course for developing your understanding of the subject further. Taught by the school’s director of art, Tessa Sulston, the six-day Exploring Colour courses run throughout the year and offer the chance to focus on this core element in depth. The practical elements range from the basics such as colour mixing on the palette and learning to develop layers of glazes, to more advanced ideas, including studying paintings to determine the effects of colour on the composition. The glorious colours of the Tamar Valley (pictured) and nearby Talland Bay will be studied on plein air painting and drawing trips, while Tessa introduces a variety of media in the studio sessions. By the end of the course, you will be able to use colour cleverly within a painting to enhance a composition and add impact where necessary. The next Exploring Colour courses run 5-11 August, 23-29 September and 11-17 November at Callington School of Art, Cornwall. www.callingtonartschool.com

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autumn courses

5

UNDERSTAND ABSTRACTS

4

Pack your rigger brush

Understanding how to develop meaningful abstract paintings is one of the biggest challenges for artists, whether a beginner or more experienced. Structured into 10 five-hour sessions, Varvara Neiman’s The Way to Abstraction will show students how to develop ideas into abstracted artworks by reducing everyday subjects into their fundamental elements, such as shape, colour, line and form. The Way to Abstraction runs from 25 September to 4 December at Missenden Abbey, Buckinghamshire. www.missendenabbey-al.co.uk/arca

Richard Nichols is an artist who clearly must have his sea-legs. The prolific tutor hosts a variety of workshops and courses, but the common theme throughout is that they take place on board a barge or boat. Recent art barge trips have navigated Suffolk estuaries and the Norfolk Broads, while his ‘Art Afloat Specials’ feature art tuition on board a Star Clipper cruise ship. The next Art Afloat Special sets sail from Malaga on 6 October. www.celebrationart.co.uk

6

DRAW AT A MAJOR EVENT

Timed to coincide with the bank holiday meetings at Goodwood racecourse, Illustrating an Outdoor Event will give you the chance to try and capture the thrill and atmosphere of a busy, bustling scene. Reference sketches by the racetrack will be made with tutor Paul Cox, before final paintings are developed back in West Dean College’s bright studios. Illustrating an Outdoor Event runs from 24-27 August at West Dean, Chichester. www.westdean.org.uk

7

MAKE AN IMPRESSION!

If you love Impressionist painting but struggle to copy the delicate colour mixes and expressive brushwork, Monet Monotypes might just be the course for you. Tutor Mandy Pattullo hosts the course at the wonderful Horsley Printmakers workshop, showing artists of all levels how to recreate the garden paintings of Claude Monet through simple, graphic monotype printing methods. Monet Monotypes runs from 22-23 September at Horsley Printmakers, Northumberland. www.horsleyprintmakers.co.uk

Artists & Illustrators 27


Q&A 10 minutes with… DAVID DALLAS

Ever wondered how to value a painting? David Dallas is your man. Recently appointed as the international director of the Old Master Paintings department at Bonhams, he previously spent more than 20 years with art dealers, Johnny Van Haeften. David has a passion for British landscapes, specialising in the work of John Constable. Interview: Martha Alexander How would you define an ‘Old Master’? Historically, it meant painted roughly before the Victorian age. I actually call them ‘master paintings’ – ‘Old Masters’ often puts people off and it also allows you to mix a Rembrandt with a Delacroix – just really good paintings. What is a typical day for you? There isn’t one because I am abroad a lot. Bonhams have reps all over the world but I’ll often be called out to look at paintings [in person] because nothing beats physically handling a painting. It’s not good to make judgments from photographs. However, Mondays and Tuesdays are for cataloguing what has come in over the previous week. If you leave it too long, it becomes unmanageable.

below A still life by 17thcentury Dutch painter Andries de Coninck, which featured in Bonhams’ recent sale of Old Master Paintings

How does cataloguing work? Cataloguing is done with everyone in the department. We stand around an easel with bright ultraviolet lights and use magnifying glasses. We discuss its merits with the younger members of the department. In the end, what we record is what we have decided as a group.

How can you correctly identify a painting? Go first to the works attributed to an artist that you know are genuine – then you can start to apply critical faculties to other works, using a database that is flawless. For most of the more famous artists, there is an expert or two and in order to do the due diligence [on a sale], you have to consult them. However, quite often the expert is wrong! What is a ‘sleeper’? Something that is mis-catalogued – it is very, very valuable and only ‘woken up’ by the person who discovers it at auction. Sleepers tend to be paintings either hated by the artist, different to their normal work or over-painted. How do you prove a sleeper is genuine? You need good evidence. I bought my first major sleeper at auction for £130. I thought it was a wonderful painting and it had two labels saying “Constable” on the back but all the experts disagreed with me. Then I found a charcoal drawing from 1882 by John Constable that was identical to my painting so I started to do more research. A line had been crossed through the ‘J’ on the back of some other paintings in the sale and an ‘L’ put there instead. This looked like one of his children, Lionel, had crossed out which ones were not by his dad, but the implication was that the others must have been by John. I went back and showed the experts: little by little they all fell into line. I eventually sold it for $250,000 and that sent me along the road of looking at Constable long and hard. Is it important to have a knowledge and appreciation of other periods of art? I don’t think you can really extract things out of the continuum of art. It’s easier if you know about everything, although I do draw the line at contemporary art. If you could own one painting, what would it be? The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It reminds me of prep school where we had reproductions hung up in the gym. Otherwise, Las Meninas by Velázquez or The Hay Wain by Constable. www.bonhams.com

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The Prince’s Drawing School Autumn Programme 2012 An experience of art school open to all... Daytime and evening drawing courses in East London for all levels, 17 September - 24 November www.princesdrawingschool.org / 020 7613 8568

KENSINGTON PALACE STUDIOS THE MAKING PROCESS DAYTIME AND EVENING COURSES IN DRAWING, PAINTING, SCULPTURE, THE APPLIED ARTS AND ART HISTORY FOR ALL LEVELS OF EXPERIENCE AUTUMN TERM 17 SEPTEMBER – 23 NOVEMBER 2012 BOOKINGS NOW OPEN WWW.KENSINGTONPALACESTUDIOS.ORG TELEPHONE: 020 7613 8568

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Artists & Illustrators 29


EXOTIC BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATION Rosie Martin and Meriel Thurstan Following on from their successful Botanical Illustration Course debut, the South West Society of Botanical Artists duo’s fourth book sees them return to the Eden Project. The focus is on wilder specimens this time, with luscious illustrations of orchids and cacti. SP Batsford, £18.99

“The images evoke a sense of a bygone era, but made by modern means”

MODERN VINTAGE ILLUSTRATION Martin Dawber

A compendium of off-kilter déjà vu, the 224 illustrations in this collection all borrow from the past while offering something fresh. They all evoke a sense of a bygone era, including Surrealism and 1950s Americana, but many are made by employing more modern means. Each chapter highlights the movement’s dates, as well as events or places that are representative of the era. There are great touches such as chapter-opening quotes that give a light-hearted taster of what’s to come, such as Freddie Mercury’s opener to a chapter on Victoriana: “I want to lead the Victorian life, surrounded by exquisite clutter.” The Art Nouveau and Art Deco chapters are as glamorous as one might expect. However, the standout piece has got to be Sgt. Enders by Peter Quinnell, in which faces from Peter Blake’s iconic cover of The Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album have been replaced by characters from Eastenders. If design critic Stephen Bayley’s foreword is a defence of illustration, then the book that follows is a love letter to it. MA Batsford, £18.99

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ERIC RAVILIOUS – IMAGINED REALITIES Alan Powers Seventy years after his death, Eric Ravilious’ illustrations of England at home and at war are enjoying something of a renaissance. Imagined Realities is the third major book of his work published this year, collecting together watercolours, prints and extracts from the artist’s letters. SP PWP, £19.95

& http://on the web Inspiring ideas from the internet

www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk Jim Kay’s A Monster Calls won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for children’s book illustration last month. Watch interviews with all the shortlisted artists and judges here.

www.jmlondon.com/films John Martin Gallery presents an interview with plein air painter Andrew Gifford ahead of his London landscapes exhibition, which runs until 18 August.

www.galleryoflostart.com Co-produced by Tate, this fascinating new project reconstructs the stories behind works lost, stolen or destroyed – including Lucian Freud’s portrait of Francis Bacon.


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PORTFOLIO A themed selection of the most creative artworks made by our readers on PortfolioPLUS

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This month’s theme: THE COAST



picture of the month

Portfolio PLUS

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CLAIRE WILTSHER Airwaves, mixed media, 85x95cm “Coastal scenes and landscapes have always been a particular passion of mine. I tend to deal with dramatic changes in light through working with oil and mixed media on canvas, building layers with thick paint and fragments of collage. With Airwaves, I aimed to capture a sense of energy and atmosphere rather than particular objects. There’s been so much rain lately that I think we could all do with a bit of extra light and energy in our lives.” www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/claire-wiltsher

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OPPOSITE PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RICHARD EDDLESTON Autumn Dawn, Wells, oil on canvas www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/richard-eddleston BRIDGET WINTERBOURNE Incoming Tide, acrylic on canvas www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/bridgetwinterbourne HOWARD LEVITT Storm Approaching Embleton Bay, Northumberland, acrylic on canvas www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/howard-levitt LYNDSEY SMITH Sea Haze, Brighton, watercolour www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/lyndsey-smith

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Portfolio Plus is the Artists & Illustrators online gallery for artists who want to share, showcase and sell their artwork. Every month we display a themed selection of the best work by our Portfolio Plus artists, both in the magazine and a full online exhibition. Browse the full range of artworks at www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/ art-collections

PLUS

Your art could be featured here! To enter, follow these simple steps: • Visit our website at artistsandillustrators.co.uk/register • Create your own Portfolio Plus account for as little as £2.49 • Upload your artwork and become part of our expanding community • Email the link of your artwork to portfolio@artistsandillustrators.co.uk Next month’s theme: Summer Send us artwork with a seasonal theme

Artists & Illustrators

33

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KRISTYNA HAD TO DRAW HER CHARACTERS IN SEVERAL FRAMES SO THEY COULD BE ANIMATED

ON COMMISSION Find out how art professionals create their latest commercial projects, from initial inspiration to final work

Kristyna Litten BRIEF: To illustrate a Michael Rosen poem for the Discovery Story Centre’s StoryCloud project

I

nitially my agency, Arena Illustration, were approached asking if myself and Adam Stower were available to work on this new project, as our style seemed suitable yet different from the other nine illustrators involved. The project was to create an interactive image based on the text of various well-known authors and poets; mine would be based on Michael Rosen’s poem, The Talent Show. I had to design an image in which the various parts could be animated in some way or another. The client was fairly new to all of this too, so when it came to what we drew and ideas on how to animate them, they were very open to our suggestions. I was told that the animated parts would have to be drawn in two or three frames, making sure all the elements of the hand-drawn image were on separate layers in Photoshop. I began the project as I would normally: by reading the text and sketching ideas that initially came to mind. However naïve a sketch may be, I often find they fuel my progression through a project. Making sure the dimensions and image sizes were correct was crucial in the early stages too. I wanted to choose a setting that incorporated all the great parts of Michael’s poem and so I decided to draw a stage, so I could really capture the feel of a real school play. I particularly love the part of the poem about the ship’s captain Benny Brown: “And when he met the queen, his trousers they fell down.” I decided to draw Benny the captain in the audience with his trousers falling down when the queen waves. Sadly he was cut from the interactive image as he was too risqué – or maybe his anchor boxer shorts were too jazzy for the general public? We shall never know. A new illustrated story will be posted on www.storycloud.co.uk every Monday until 3 September. Kristyna’s first book, Chickens Can’t See In The Dark, is out now. www.kristynalitten.com

Y THE A SEQUENCE IN WHICH BENN WN WAS CAPTAIN’S TROUSERS FALL DO OJECT LEFT OUT OF THE FINISHED PR

THE FINISHED ANIMATED DRAWING IS VIEWABLE ONLINE

Artists & Illustrators

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I

n a scuffed and slightly edgy part of Glasgow, the approach to Elspeth Lamb’s studio is not for the faint-hearted. I negotiate my way past a couple of colourful local characters to find the studio entrance, where Elspeth is waiting to greet me. We walk together up several flights of stairs, passing doorways that lead into labyrinthine networks of studio space, the walls plastered with newspaper cuttings of exhibition reviews. Roughly 40 artists work in the building, which looks like a cross between a school and council offices. Elspeth’s studio is reached through a whitewashed exhibition area that has clearly seen an opening night recently (the drinks tables remain). And then she opens the door onto a surprisingly light, bright space that’s big enough to house a venerable offset lithography press and another smaller press, along with all the accompanying heavy stone tablets. Elspeth favours this 200-yearold process for making lithographs, despite the difficulties of manoeuvring large slabs of stone. “The modern way is to do it on plates but the original way of making prints on stone has got a certain quality that’s not so easy to reproduce on plates,” she explains. “You paint onto the stone with ‘tusche’ – a special drawing solution that’s manufactured for lithography and has a high grease content. It’s a very painterly way of working.” The offset lithography has limited use. “I got it from Edinburgh Printmakers’ Workshop because it wasn’t working properly and, to be honest, it doesn’t print lithographs very well. It’s good for printing woodcuts but I can get access to another press.” Elspeth has had a base in the Gallowgate Studios for more than 20 years, but it has never Name been her sole workplace. “I Elspeth Lamb work from two studios and this Born Glasgow, 1951 is what I call the messy space Trained where I make all the prints. At Glasgow School of Art; home it’s… Shinier!” she laughs. Manchester Metropolitan Elspeth uses her home studio University; Tamarind for storage and also what she Institute of Lithography, New calls her “clean” work, which Mexico Next exhibition can involve signing and Glasgow Print Studio, numbering print editions, May 2013 making drawings and More information experimenting with web.mac.com/elspeth.lamb compositions in Photoshop.

ARTIST’S BIO

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“I find that different spaces have got different personalities. I did have a period when I did a lot of travelling and working in different spaces but I’m less inclined to as I get older – I like my home comforts.” Those travels have taken her all over the world, most significantly to Canada, where she worked with the printmaker Nik Semenoff, and Japan, where she learned papermaking and moku hanga (a form of wood block printmaking using water-based pigments).“I very occasionally use it,” she says of the latter. “It’s a slow,

time-consuming process that gives beautiful results that are very like watercolour. If I had more time I would probably do more of it.” From Nik, she learnt a water-less lithography technique. “He invented it,” she says. “It looks very similar to what you can do on a stone. I’m hoping to run a workshop [on the technique] at Glasgow Print Studio later this year. “With the waterless lithography you don’t wet the stone or the plate at all, you can just keep inking and printing and because you’re not stopping to dampen or dry the printing surface it


Elspeth Lamb MY STUDIO…

WORDS & PHOTOS: JENNY WHITE

makes the whole process much quicker.” Another sign of Nik’s influence is an unusual three-cylinder roller, stored among the many tools she keeps on one wall of the studio. “Nik made it for use with waterless lithography – the three rollers mean it puts down a much more even distribution of ink. It can give me absolutely flat colour without any roller lines.” Dotted around the studio are prints from her recent body of work, the Fleurs du Mal series. Made using the diverse range of techniques gathered

LINDER ROLLER WAS ELSPETH’S UNUSUAL THREE-CY R NIK SEMENOFF MANUFACTURED BY PRINTMAKE HY TECHNIQUE FOR A WATERLESS LITHOGRAP by Elspeth over the years, the prints reference Charles Baudelaire’s famous collection of poems by the same name. “I was quite intrigued by him and by the poetry,” she says. “I decided to make this group of flowers, thinking about Dutch Vanitas painting or very traditional painting. The aim was to make flowers that aren’t beautiful, that are almost ugly in a sense; something with a bit more of an edge to it.”

Despite the ease of developing ideas on the computer in her home studio, the physically demanding processes available in her “messy” studio have played an important part in the work. “When you’re sitting with a keyboard it’s not quite the same as it is when you’re up to your arms with ink,” she says. “It must be a primitive, basic human need. It is exhausting: I think there will come a day when I’m just not physically able to do it any more but at the moment I’m still keeping going with it.” A&I

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France Painting Holiday


Following Cézanne

An unwanted birthday gift unexpectedly sparked Jill Steenhuis’ passion for the work of Paul Cézanne. And 30 years of walking in his footsteps has helped the American artist find a husband, a studio and a deeper understanding of her own art, as Martha Alexander discovers

P

lenty of artists talk of their work being a journey, but painter Jill Steenhuis has literally travelled thousands of miles in order to answer her calling. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Jill now lives in Aix-enProvence and works from a studio at

Château Noir – the former home of her hero, the great Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. Although Jill had always been encouraged to paint from an early age, her first introduction to the artist who would shape her life came on her 16th birthday when she was hoping to

ABOVE Château Noir from the Olive Grove, oil on canvas, 61x76cm

receive a car from her father, and instead he presented her with a much smaller gift. “It wasn’t a beautiful four-wheeled vehicle, which is what I had wanted,” she recalls. “It was a book of Cézanne’s paintings. But as I opened it my father was so excited about it that I couldn’t disappoint him and I tried >

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following cézanne

Jill rented a studio at Château noir, giving her access to scenes made famous by Cézanne’s paintings

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knew only rudimentary French but the school was taught in English.” Jill arrived in France in 1980, initially just for a summer course at the school. However, everything quickly began to fall into place and bind her to her new home: on her second day, she met a young French man, who is now her husband. Meanwhile, the Provençal landscape that Cézanne had detailed in his paintings did not disappoint. “It was the places that he painted that most intrigued me,” she says. “Growing up in the South [of the US], as I did, the pine trees grow straight up and tall, like telephone poles. In Cézanne’s paintings, his trees were gnarled and twisted and leaning over, and I had thought, ‘oh what an imagination!’ Then when I came to Aix-en-Provence, I saw that the pine trees are gnarled and twisted and that his imagination was much more than just the pine trees.” Inspired by her discovery, Jill began to hunt around for every location Cézanne had painted. As part of her

Cézanne: White images/sCala, FlorenCe

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to bring forward some enthusiasm so I wouldn’t hurt his feelings. As we turned the pages, I really related to it.” It was the start of an enduring passion. In the four years Jill spent studying for her BA in art at Sweet Briar College, Virginia, she would pick Cézanne’s work as her focus whenever there was an opportunity to do a project. However, she admits now that the course had been so biased towards techniques that she considered herself “more of a scientist” upon graduation. “I didn’t feel like it was founded deep enough in emotions,” says Jill, who was accomplished in most mediums by this stage but believes she hadn’t had enough space to develop her own style. This was all set to change when she found out about the The Marchutz School in Aix-en-Provence. Founded in 1972 by German artist and Cézanne buff Leo Marchutz, the school followed in the traditions of the French master. “I thought, ‘that’s what I’m looking for; that’s what I need,’” recalls Jill. “I


following cézanne course, she made her first visit to the Château Noir, where the artist had lived and worked for more than 30 years. The current owner of the Château was a friend of the school. “Even though he’s an ogre to tourists – his family life is there and he wants to keep it quiet and private – he does love artists and keeping the tradition of art going at Château Noir,” says Jill. Having stayed on at the school after the summer, Jill knew she wanted to pursue a career as an artist. She befriended the owner of the Château Noir who let her rent a studio there, giving her constant access to the same scenes made famous by Cézanne’s paintings, such as the pistachio tree in the courtyard and the olive grove. Although she gave up that space in 1995 to work from home, she began renting a studio at the Château again this summer. This has allowed her to

now use her home studio as a gallery space to display her paintings: “I can come and go whenever I like!” Jill runs painting courses from her base in Provence, too. The groups are limited to a maximum of four people and, instead of just instructing, she paints alongside them. The first couple of days of each course are given over to getting the basics in place. The rest of the week is then spent visiting different locations, including the Château Noir. At the end of the week, there is then an exhibition of all the artwork and a little party. To heighten the impact of arriving at Château Noir with a new group, Jill typically parks the car at a distance so that they can approach the house through the olive grove as Cézanne might have done. “We can understand his imagination much better by seeing exactly what he

top Fishing Boat in Port de Cassis, 41x41cm left Gardanne from the Hillside, 61x76cm opposite page, clockwise from bottom left Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire and Château Noir, 1904-’06, oil on canvas, 66.2x82.1cm; Pistachio Tree at Château Noir, 61x91cm; Painting the Garlic Pickers in the Field, 152x121cm; Château Noir from Hillside of Pines, 46x36cm. All works oil and canvas by Jill Steenhuis unless otherwise stated.

saw,” says Jill. “The beauty [of the area] is that it is completely untouched. Noticing the silvery, grey-green of the olive trees, or that the earth is orange not brown, you really start to feel at one with Provence, as Cézanne was. I want people to open their eyes to light and dark or warm and cool and see how it comes together. Painting becomes the poetry that Cézanne had made.” Like her hero, Jill tries to avoid a formulaic approach and instead takes a “trek into the unknown” each time she paints. “You need to learn first but then forget everything and just paint,” she recommends. “Become what you see and paint it.” Jill has sold more than 2,300 works to date and still makes regular visits to the US, armed with six month’s worth of artwork at a time. Nevertheless, her appreciation of the Provençal landscape and her ability to soak up her surroundings hasn’t diminished after more than three decades. “This environment wakes up your inner poetry and the result of this is the link between nature and the senses,” she says. “Cézanne is like a grandfather or a spiritual father figure and he’s taken me on the path that I was looking for, with the depth that I wanted.” Jill’s book, Art, Soul & Destiny – An Artist’s Journey from America to Provence, is published by Morton Arts Media. www.artinprovence.com

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shetland diary

My Sh etland Diary

L

ast year, Lancashire painter Chris Rigby spent a lonely month based out of a studio on the Shetland Isles, making frequent midnight excursions and cliff-top walks in search of dramatic subject matter. With a solo exhibition of his oil and watercolour landscapes of the island now open, he shares the ups and downs of his trip in these exclusive extracts from his diary.

10 JUNE

9 JUNE

Far coast again. Returned to the high red cliffs to paint the cave I sketched a week ago. Slavishly laboured away ‘til the rain drove me off. Felt much better about the way it went today. Cycled back to the van through drenching rain. When I got back to the studio, I flopped into bed never feeling like I deserved it more. A very good feeling.

Cycled to far side of island. On the strength of yesterday’s efforts, I thought I’d be absolutely flying today but instead I found it a hard slog. Up until now paintings had been taking two hours or so to come together but today I laboured for four hours each on two paintings before throwing in the towel. In retrospect, one of those isn’t bad.

11 JUNE

Muckle Roe

Got off to a late start due to a combination of delays getting my stuff together and an unscheduled stop off en route. Eventually settled into some painting on a pebble beach around 3pm. Carried on around the coast, managed another painting and a good start on a third but the paint’s not drying this time. I’m getting used to gauging time now. On my first visit here I was out ‘til after 11pm thinking it was only around 9pm because it stays so light! Made my way back over the moors following the ridge of the highest hill for a way. On top I got dive bombed by great skuas. Tried to get some photos of them head on but kept just getting their back ends with their clumsy-looking webbed feet, which made me laugh. They look quite majestic when soaring above but less so on the photos. 42 Artists

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15 JUNE CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT Chris cycles on Muckle Roe; the local map; Sea Cave at Muckle Roe, watercolour and gouache, 55x38cm; a sketch from Culswick Cliffs; Culswick Cliffs, watercolour and gouache, 41x37cm

Culswick Cliffs

Decided to take a trip out west to the Broch of Culswick. Managed a painting that turned out well considering I wasn’t exactly firing on all four cylinders – an intense study of cliff and sea. There’s definitely a theme developing here. Had planned sleeping over in the van but after an unsettled hour in bed, I drove back to Scalloway at midnight for drinks and TV. Think I just needed to relax and be entertained. Some of these trips away from base are better

than others. Sometimes they can be a bit lonesome and hardcore.

16 JUNE Very dreary day. Just as well I didn’t stick it out last night. I made an effort to get out, went for a walk, sketched a dredger, got wet and returned to base.


shetland diary LEFT Overlooking the headland at Fethaland BELOW Chris’ plein air sketches of the view BOTTOM RIGHT Shetland Arch, watercolour and gouache, 45x39cm

to feel like this about any wildlife but they really do get on my nerves. Very pleased with the way the painting turned out, particularly the arch itself with its various bands of colour beyond. It would have been easy to over-emphasise this in my attempt to get it right but think it sits well within the painting. Peter Blake’s The Fine Art Bit is a recent favourite painting and I like to think it has had an influence in this part of my painting. The weather turned and I considered abandoning my trip. In the end, I elected to stay put in the van – an excellent plan as it turned out.

26 JUNE The sun showed after a slightly wet start. Back along the track to the high red cliffs to follow up on another sketch. Another intense study peering into the abyss. The day eventually deteriorated into persistent heavy rain. Got very wet cycling back to the van – time to abandon this trip.

27 JUNE The weather brightened up and I couldn’t resist the urge to return to Muckle Roe. Got down to some painting around 3pm, carrying on with a composition I started yesterday before getting rained off. After a few hours I decided it was time to call it a day and move on. I packed my stuff away but then decided there was a bit of red on that cliff that I just had to get into my painting. I should have walked away at this point and I could have >

17 JUNE

Fethaland

Set out for an overnight expedition to Fethaland. 26 miles again. It’s the magic number. All my favourite places to paint (Muckle Roe, Eshaness) have been 26 miles from the Booth studio. Cycled the last couple of miles of rough track to the headland. Mainly explored the area but did manage a couple of paintings. Did a couple of sketches that I’d like to follow up on. After 11pm when I got back to the van.

18 JUNE Sunny day – not what was forecast. Got out to the headland again to follow up on a couple of sketches done yesterday. First one was featured the fingers of jutting rock which look like dinosaur’s toes. Kept close to the composition of the sketch, using the island of Yell beyond to offer a thin strip of shade. Got back to the van around 6pm. Surprised to see a huge bank of cloud rolling in off the sea while out for a cycle ride. In the space of half an hour, the sky went from clear blue to a lovely warm ochre – blanket cloud carrying the reflected light of the moorland.

In the space of half an hour, the sky went from clear blue to a lovely warm ochre colour 25 JUNE

Return to Muckle Roe

Overnight expedition. Got out nice and early. Made my way back to my regular area on the far side and got stuck into a painting of the arch I’d sketched on a previous trip. I’ve taken to wearing earplugs when I come out here as the oyster-catchers hurt my ears: they just fly alongside you for miles, squawking. They are plain irritating. It comes as a surprise

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shetland diary LEFT AND INSET Chris sketches the cliff at Muckle Roe BOTTOM Hillswick Coast, watercolour and gouache, 37x57cm

After some food and still feeling agitated with the way things had gone earlier, I went for a walk to Calder’s Geo – a coastal erosion north of the lighthouse. By 11.30pm, I was peering into the darkness and could just make out vague forms and the broken line of surf as the lapping waves broke on the boulder beach. I start sketching and before I knew it I’d made the decision to paint through the night.

28 JUNE

had a nice relaxing evening in the van. Instead, I deluded myself that I could paint this red cliff in a few minutes. A couple of hours later and the painting had gotten away from me. Out of control. It felt like the crowd had all gone home ages ago. Eventually I abandoned it, went back to the van and drove to Eshaness where I intended sleeping the night.

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Midnight. With the aid of my headtorch I painted what I could see in the geo. The paint doesn’t dry very quickly at this time of night and consequentially the painting is a bit blunt. 2am. I can read the writing on a tube of paint but can’t really see what colour it is so I’m painting tonally at this stage. I move to a nearby hill and paint a small island. The paint really isn’t drying now. The sun is close to coming up and I’m overcome with excitement.

Painting on location helps you connect with your subject… Your experiences all feed into the work

The sun rises above the cliffs and I make my way to Grind O’ Navir where I paint the coast I’ve just walked along. The painting doesn’t work out. I go too heavy with the gouache and it looses all subtlety. On my way back to the van I stop to paint a cliff that catches my eye. It’s a small study, which works out much better. When things aren’t working out on the larger scale, it is good practice to start again with small studies. This helps me get my mind focused. Drive off to Hillswick around 9am, stopping en-route to paint another bit of coast that caught my eye previously. Things always look different when you stop to study them. I find painting on location helps you connect with your subject and that is very important to me. I believe that what you are experiencing in situ all feeds into the work. It also informs what goes on later in the studio. Finished the day with a walk around Hillswick, which is a larger area than I had anticipated. I strayed into skua territory and they let me know about it. Chris Rigby – 30 Days of Light runs until 3 August at Shetland Museum, Lerwick. www.shetland-museum.org.uk


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Artists & Illustrators 47


talking techniques…

MATERIALS

TECHNIQUES

INFLUENCES

Anne-Marie uses a mixture of oil paint brands, picking out individual colours like Daler-Rowney’s Sap Green. “I also use those lovely Old Holland colours when I can afford it. There are certain blues that are just absolutely gorgeous.”

Colour mixing is very important for Anne-Marie, but when she begins to paint, she is keen to avoid a canvas looking overworked. “Sometimes I think if I keep going it will be too tight,” she says. “I want to keep that look of spontaneity.”

Anne-Marie is a great admirer of Anne Redpath, Winifred Nicholson and, in particular, Pierre Bonnard. “I wouldn’t say my work was particularly like his, but I do love his colours. If ever I’m stuck, I will look through books of his work.”

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talking techniques…

Talking Techniques with

Anne-Marie Butlin

A vivid and expressive artist in the great British and French tradition, Anne-Marie Butlin has found a growing demand for her painterly still life and floral works. She tells Steve Pill how mastering a palette of greys was the key to making her paintings bloom.

F

or many book lovers, Fifty Shades of Grey might be the summer’s must-read paperback, but for artist Anne-Marie Butlin, it is simply the contents of a truly satisfying palette. Her popular still life paintings are full of blossoming flowers with colour schemes seemingly dominated by pulsing pinks and rich scarlets, yet it is a good understanding of the humble neutrals that this North London artist believes is the key to a great work. “Everything is basically a version of grey, whether you’re using green, red and white to make a greenish grey or using purple, yellow and white to make a purplish grey,” she explains. After a foundation year, Anne-Marie studied at Loughborough College of Art in the late 1980s and she still vividly recalls one particular piece of advice she received. “I do remember this old tutor telling me how he mixed his colours and explaining how to mix a grey. A lot of people think it is just black and white, but he showed me how many colours can be used.” More recently Anne-Marie has turned art tutor herself and the importance of accurately mixing these less obvious elements of the palette has remained a core concern. “I taught some adults last year and it was good to think about what was important [for making a good painting]. We did talk a lot about mixing colours actually and just getting them to know about the basics of colour mixing, like how to mix a grey. It’s very easy to end up with mud. You need to spend plenty of time mixing colours and learning what works.” In this respect, she particularly admires the muted palettes of artists such as Gwen John: “I love her work because I like the closeness of tone – I would love to paint like that.” In truth, Anne-Marie is already capable of capturing a similar cohesive mood in her own paintings but she nevertheless finds it difficult to work with such a narrow tonal range. “It is all about mixing the colours and you are often talking about shades of grey really, it often boils down to that. There is something about [John’s] paintings, she’s always got just the right tone and that’s incredibly hard to do. I think she used to soak a lot of the oil out of the paint, so her paintings have a dryness to them. I’ve never investigated doing that really but I probably should because I love that slight crustiness to the surface of her paintings.” In contrast to this, Anne-Marie’s own work demonstrates a lightness of touch that initially

appears effortless, yet clearly takes willpower and restraint to know when to stop. “With the way some people work, they need to spend a lot of time building up layers, but you can kill something to the point of no return,” she admits. “It’s really hard because you think you’ve stopped because it looks fresh and exuberant, but then you realise it’s just unfinished!” Anne-Marie has been painting professionally for almost 25 years now, all the while selling work with the Linda Blackstone Gallery, yet in the meantime she has also worked in a West End gallery and headed up a school art department. She took a five-year break from painting professionally when she had her two daughters, only picking it up again about four years ago. “I think it was easier [after the break] because it was so lovely to have the time to paint again, so I really appreciated it. I fit everything around school hours but that’s quite good for you in a way because it concentrates your mind.” >

below Garden Flowers, oil on canvas, 40x40cm opposite page Anne-Marie in her North London studio

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talking techniques… right Gertrude Jekyll Roses in an Old Vase, oil on canvas, 40x40cm below White Narcissi, oil on canvas, 61x76cm

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It isn’t just family demands that have altered how she approaches her work. More recently Anne-Marie’s economical brushwork has been a real bonus, as her career has been blooming as brightly as the seasonal flowers that she paints. Demand for her canvases have vastly increased, particularly since Falmouth’s Beside The Wave gallery took her on last December. “When I was teaching, I was snatching time [to paint], whereas now it is amazing how much better your work is when you have long stretches to focus on it.” Anne-Marie has plans to build a studio at the bottom of her garden later this year, but in the meantime she works in a back room of the house. Several half-finished works hang from the picture rails around the room, biding their time while she works out what they need to be completed. Compositions will either begin as ideas in a sketchbook, or else a still life set up will be tweaked on the table and the painting will begin straight away. “With the flowers, you have to work quite quickly anyway because they don’t last that long.” Each of these paintings then begins in the same way though, with a Winsor & Newton 100% linen deep-edge canvas. “I always start with a coloured

ground and work into that while it is still wet so some of it comes through. That’s why I think sometimes its best when I haven’t overworked the surface because it gives everything a unity and that colour is coming through.”


talking techniques… The colour of the ground is largely chosen to match the dominant colour of the subject, usually the flowers. “I’ll often let it show through. For example, if you are painting pink flowers, it’s really nice to have something warm underneath.” Colour is equally important throughout the painting process and Anne-Marie cherry picks favourite oil colours from a wide range of brands to suit: “You have to have the right one – for example, the Daler-Rowney Sap Green is really deep and rich compared to other brands. I find it an incredibly useful colour. Interestingly, Anne-Marie’s eye for colour isn’t just restricted to the painting she is working on. When she’s painting works to be sold at art fairs, she considers the colour balance across several canvases at once and selects her palette accordingly. “I go for colours that will work well together. So if I’ve done a painting that has got a lot of orange in it, for example, it wouldn’t look good with one with a deep, velvety maroon colour. I think you need at least two paintings that are going to work together on the walls.” More recently, Anne-Marie has enjoyed using garden flowers rather than more exotic varieties, pinching them from friends’ gardens, or her own. She pairs these with patterned backdrops and various ceramics, often those collected by her grandmother or her aunts, who had lived in the same house for almost a century and amassed a vast collection of well-used plates, bowls and tea sets: “It’s nice to use things that were my grandmother’s.”

The freshness of Anne-Marie’s brushwork is maintained by knocking back layers that feel overworked with a thin wash or blotting off paint However, she is less sentimental when it comes to her own work: “I often start, do half a day, stand back and think no that doesn’t work. I do have quite a high failure rate, I would say. I paint over things quite a lot.” The freshness of the brushwork is maintained by knocking back layers that begin to feel overworked. Anne-Marie does this by either putting a thin turpsand-paint wash over everything or else blotting off excessive paint from a particular area with a sheet of newspaper. “It pulls everything together. Everything goes slightly blurry and you can work back into it. “ This eye for what works and what doesn’t is one of the many reasons that Anne-Marie’s paintings are so highly prized. And as demand for her work grows, she is beginning to be able to focus on the positive aspects of each painting. “I have learnt to just grit my teeth and let people look at my paintings. I heard that a lot of women artists apologise about their work and I still do – I try really hard not to be like that. Your paintings are never quite what you want but I’ve learned to be really positive and focus on all the good bits.” Anne Marie’s work features in Summer 2012 which runs from 18 July to 15 August at Beside The Wave, Falmouth. www.beside-the-wave.co.uk

above Blue Freesias, oil on canvas, 60x60cm left Anne-Marie puts the finishing touches to her latest painting

Artists & Illustrators 51


trickiest subjects

TrickiesT subjecTs

Earlier this year, we asked readers to vote for the subjects that they found the most challenging to paint. Over the next 15 pages, leading artists will offer practical advice on how to approach those feared subjects with newfound confidence. To start us off, artist Sophie Ploeg gives tips on painting fabrics – a deceptively simple subject that can nevertheless be a challenge of patience and focus 52 Artists

& Illustrators


trickiest subjects

I

they are composed. I try to arrange the fabrics in such a way that they either best show off their qualities or, when I use a variety of fabrics in one composition, enhance their differences. Often I make use of the human figure to give clothing and fabric some life and movement, although the quietness of a still life can be just as appealing.

have always loved fabrics, fashion and painting so combining the three was a natural progression. In my recent work, I have developed that love into a series of paintings exploring the various textures of lace, silk, linen and other fabrics. The tactile qualities of velvet, the rich lustre of satin, the texture of taffeta… Who could resist? Add to that a nostalgic mix of vintage lace, with its crispy textures and floral patterns, and we can go on an indulgent journey nobody would refuse.

MATERIALS

FrANS HAlS: COurTeSy NATIONAl GAllery OF ArT, WASHINGTON

INSPIRATION

Depicting the various textures of materials is a challenge I thoroughly enjoy. I want to share the beauty I find in fabrics in my paintings, which although contemporary, evoke a nostalgic mood. Painting clothing or fabrics is something that almost every artist will have come across if he or she has ever tried their hand at painting figures or still life. A casually draped scarf or a tablecloth within a still life may cause some artists to despair but there is no need to panic. There is a long history of painting drapery and fabrics, with some of the most inspiring and beautiful examples originating from my native country, The Netherlands. The so-called ‘Golden Age’ of Dutch art in the 17th century produced painters like Frans Hals and Gerard ter Borch, who both

Stiff brushes that leave a mark are no use for painting drapery as I don't use impasto and always aim for a fairly smooth finish created portraits (see above) and genre paintings that showed off the wealth of their sitters, via rich and elaborate gowns and collars. Although I take inspiration from the history of art, my paintings take on a more contemporary look in the way

above Frans Hals, Portrait of a Member of the Haarlem Civic Guard, c.1636– '38, oil on canvas, 86x69cm left Flower Bed, pastel, 65x45cm

Bristle brushes and other stiff brushes that leave a visible mark are no use to me: I do not use any impasto techniques and I always aim for a fairly smooth finish. I therefore use a lot of small synthetic brushes or ones with natural hair, such as mongoose or sable. I love trying out new brushes in my hunt to find the perfect one. I usually paint the whole painting with fairly small round brushes, starting off with a synthetic stronger one (a size 4 to 6; I only use larger flat brushes for blocking in some initial tonal shapes) and finishing with a tiny sable. However, I will often paint the finest lacework with the smallest possible sable brush with a neat point – I often have to use a new brush for every painting, as I need a perfect point for the very fine patterns. I like what I call a ‘long’ paint – a paint that spreads easily, goes on thinly and does not require a huge amount of medium to make it flow. I use little or no medium and love paints such as the Classic Artists’ Oil Colours from American manufacturer Vasari and the Mussini resin oil colours from Germany’s Schmincke. I paint thinly and sparingly. I glaze and scumble (an opaque glaze) to get values or colours right and soften edges. I add colours to my palette as and when I need them and only pre-mix a little. I blend my colours on my palette but often amend that mix on the canvas while still wet until it looks right. I use almost no bright Cadmiums, as I prefer the toneddown earth colours and grey tints.

BLOCKING IN

One of the main problems I encounter when painting fabrics is finding my way through a sea of ripples and waves, peaks and troughs, darks and lights. >

Artists & Illustrators 53


trickiest subjects

Unlike, for example, the facial features of a portrait, there are very few distinct landmarks you can refer to in a mass of drapery. A common mistake is to start painting and then be unable to remember exactly where you are in the sea of folds. It is easy to get lost. Making it up will not work, as a high degree of realism is required to make any fabrics appear as they should. Nevertheless, painting fabrics or drapery is no different from painting anything else. You should begin with a rough drawing (or even a more detailed one if you like a thorough preparation), block in the main areas,

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It is easy to get lost in a sea of folds. Instead, begin with a rough drawing and block in the main areas of lights and darks above Three stages of Drapery, oil on canvas, 60x40cm below Folded Lace, oil on canvas, 40x30cm below left Her source material!

establish your lights and darks and then start working from there. Even in an endless sea of folds and creases, you will be able to identify larger and smaller shapes. After drawing the general outline of the whole piece of fabric with a strong small brush, I try to identify those larger shapes. There might be a rough triangular shape here and a rectangle

shape there; there might be a large highlight in the shape of a semi-circle or a row of stitching that might make a dark line. I put those main large shapes in first. I then paint in my lightest lights and my darkest darks. The rest will have a medium value, for now at least. These large shapes and extreme contrasts then act as my landmarks, my reference points from which I can build the rest of my picture. These larger shapes are important so don’t lose them when you begin to develop the painting. Instead, start to look for the smaller shapes adjacent to the large ones you have marked in,


trickiest subjects

then in turn look for even smaller ones next to those. With time, patience and very careful observation, the fabric will begin to appear on your canvas. It will only do so if you don’t lose those large shapes and simply refine them along the way.

VALUES

Painting lace adds another dimension, as there is the space visible through the open holes of the fabric to take into account, as well as the lace itself. Once you have figured out the large shapes and the lights and darks as before, the trick with painting lace is finding the areas of high and low contrast. In other words, the high-contrast areas are those in which the (let’s assume white) lace appears at its lightest in value whereas the background appears very dark in contrast. The lace is at its most crisp and sharp in these high-contrast areas and often this is where highlights will end up. Low contrast areas are where the tonal value of the lace and the tonal value of the background are close together or similar. In high contrast areas I must paint in a dark area and let it dry, before I apply the very fine pattern of the lace with a light coloured paint. For low contrast areas I paint a medium value area, let it dry and then apply a lighter coloured paint (but not so light as the high

contrast areas). To get the sharpest crispiest lace pattern I need to apply the paint on a dry surface to avoid blending and fuzziness. Where the lace turns away from me, I might want some fuzziness so I can play a little with either working wet-in-wet or glazing and scumbling to tone down the hard edges or contrast. When painting fabrics, whether lace or silk or plain cotton, values are key. You can bring a painting alive by using your warm and cool tones consistently and carefully but nothing will look right if your values are off. Your lights and darks and every value in between is what makes it work. During the whole process of your painting, and for me it is something

above The Veil, oil on canvas, 70x60cm. The detail (inset) show the delicate brush strokes required

I continually check and amend until the very last brushstroke, you need to check your values. Constantly ask yourself if this area is lighter or darker than that one? Relate the value of planes to each other and don’t lose sight of your darkest darks and lightest lights. Everything else has to fit in between those two extremes and still have variety and interest. To enhance variety and liveliness, look for reflected light on the surfaces, see how the shape turns away from you and where it catches the light. Check your lighting: have you got a warm or a cool light coming in on your fabric and how does that translate into the shadows? www.sophieploeg.com

tIps for paIntIng fabrIc  Check your lighting. I usually work with a simple natural light source (such as a single window) but check if the light is cool or warm. Often cool light will create warm shadows and vice versa.  Don’t be daunted by some of the great examples of painting drapery from art history. Instead, study them close up and try to figure out what the artist did.

 If you want to paint in a classical or If there’s no museum near you, the representational manner, do not rush. Internet can be an enormous source Unless you want to achieve a more of potential study material. Impressionistic finish, you will have  For detailed fabrics such as lace, work on to paint every thread! small areas at a time. Use reference  Accurate tonal values are important. photos to help crop in on specific While you practice identifying them sections, but always refer back to the accurately, simplify things by painting real fabric – photo prints will always lack with a limited colour palette. the richness of values and tones.

Artists & Illustrators 55


Hands Sketchbook

A badly-drawn hand can spoil an otherwise perfect portrait, so extra care must be taken. Classical drawing expert Juliette Aristides opens her sketchbook to reveal valuable tips

A

full portrait can be a window to the soul, yet hands alone are similarly adept at conveying emotion. Whether in prayer, salutation, grief or enthusiasm, our hands give expression to our thoughts. This international language of the body can speak more clearly than words. And when drawing or painting a figure, non-verbal cues are essential to convey the breadth of possible emotional content and narrative. It also happens that drawing the hands can be intimidating. Instead of being glorious communicators of the human condition, drawn hands often betray our lack of technical skills. They are less understood and studied than the portrait; it is easier to hide them than to take a risk. Fortunately, with some tips and a little study, we can quickly feel more comfortable taking our hands out of hiding and add them to our artistic repertoire. I recommend a three-fold approach to improving your drawing: master copy, anatomy study and drawing from life. Artists gain in expressive range when we use such subtle and powerful body language. Juliette’s latest book, Lessons in Classical Drawing, is published by Watson-Guptill. www.aristidesarts.com

2

1

Master Copy Work

Find ways to unify disparate parts into a more coherent whole – in this case arcs that move across the hands

anatoMy study

Drawing hands from life is often confusing because they lack the clarity of ideal forms. When fingers are drawn by following the contour, they often look unnatural. Following in the great tradition, I study structural drawing by copying from books on artistic anatomy, including Burne Hogarth’s Dynamic Figure Drawing and George Bridgman’s Complete Guide to Drawing from Life.

Note the formal use of straight lines to add strength and directionality

Even when working from an écorché, I draw structural arcs to double-check proportions

Anatomy studies can help you understand what lies under the surface, so that you have a mental conception of how the body works. Even a small amount of visualisation will enable you to draw more structurally, making sure the contour of the image is consistent with the workings of the hand. You will be able to see anatomical landmarks, boney protrusions, tendons and muscles that are all apparent through the skin. This drawing is done from an écorché – a model of the body’s muscles without skin, which affords an opportunity to work from observation.

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trickiest subjects

3

Drawing from life

I always start drawings with abstracted scaffolding. This forms what I call the ‘block-in’ – a light, preliminary lay-in of a drawing. I look for a repetition of line and unifying shapes to provide a cohesive design. Having the whole image placed in a general way gives me an opportunity to assess how the proportion and gesture of the work is progressing. I had a friend sit for these quick sketches. If I were to refine these drawings further, I would add more subtle curves and tones, while paying attention to the idiosyncracies of the model’s hands. When many small angle directions are simplified into a straight line, it allows for a more cohesive image

4

combining methoDs

Although not readily apparent, this drawing is built upon a structural foundation similar to the sketches seen in step 3. Lightly place your initial block-in, finding ways that the fingers, palm and wrist interlock in a convincing manner. Once the few overall lines feel integrated and related to each other, you will have done much to ensure a successful outcome to your drawing. Next, place the shadow shapes, keeping them unified and as large as possible. Look for how the shadow falls across the fingers and link them together.

Landmarks such as a boney wrist can be formalised as a 3-D box, enabling the joints to sit more clearly in space

If the fingers appear repetitive, it can make the hand look poorly drawn – add variety in spacing and fluctuations in line weight

Artists & Illustrators 57


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Tools of the trade PAINTS

Masterclass: Light on water

With complex reflections and a constantly moving surface, water is one of the most difficult subjects for an artist to capture. Ray Balkwill reveals his tips for painting a Venetian canal

L

ike countless painters, I find myself drawn irresistibly to water in all its many moods and it has to be one of my favourite subjects to paint. However, endeavouring to capture it accurately is always a challenging experience, so it is reassuring to read that even artists such as Claude Monet struggled with the subject. In a letter dated June 1890, the French artist said that he had started again to paint the impossible – water with waving grass below the surface. The experience, he said, was driving him mad. One place in particular that has nourished my creativity has been Venice. Of course, it’s not difficult to see why, as not only is it blessed with a unique light, but the myriad colours in its decorative façades are echoed in their reflections. It’s an artist’s paradise and the place not only

touches all the senses, but somehow also seems to magnify them. For this demonstration I have chosen a Venetian backwater that contains many of the elements that excite me – in particular, my response to capturing water and atmosphere in mixed media. My reference for this was a sketch produced in charcoal, Conté crayon and felt-tip pen. It appealed because of its strong contrasts of tones and shapes. Interpreting the soft luminosity of the water, contrasted with the texture and decay in the buildings, made watercolour and soft pastel the obvious choice of medium. Remember too, that being enthusiastic and excited about a subject is a prerequisite for creating a successful painting. Ray runs a number of painting courses throughout the year. For further details, please visit www.raybalkwill.co.uk

“Being excited about a subject is a prerequisite for creating a successful painting”

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PASTELS

Grey 9, Additional Grey 34, Brown Earth 23 and Light 18, all Unison Colour Soft Pastels

SUPPORT

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BRUSHES

Medium Hake (30mm), Filbert (10mm), No. 6 Round and No. 1 Rigger

BLACK CONTÉ CRAYON 4B SOLD GRAPHITE PENCIL CHISEL-TIPPED PERMANENT MARKER PEN MASKING FLUID MASKING TAPE Artists & Illustrators 59


masterclass

1

CHOOSING YOUR MATERIALS

I worked on a 140lb (300gsm) Arches Not surface watercolour paper, which was pre-stretched onto a board with gum tape. I prefer using tubes of watercolour to pans, in order to get a stronger consistency of colour. Artists’ quality paints are more permanent and have the advantages of being more transparent and luminous; however, I do sometimes use some earth colours from the student ranges, such as the Umbers and Siennas. To start, I squeeze generous amounts on to either a large plastic palette or several porcelain plates. Although I have an extensive range of pastels, I always restrict the number for each painting to a chosen few. Much of the painting is done with a hake brush, with the smaller brushes reserved for the details.

3

MASK OUT LIGHTS

Having stated the darks, I needed to reserve the highlights for the sun-lit buildings and ripples in the water. For this, I used masking fluid applied with an old rigger brush. I used a ruler as an aid to create a straight line for the highlight on the oar. I prefer to work with the board almost vertical, so reserving these highlights allows me the freedom to take risks and paint with much more expression. I relish this and believe accidents or mistakes are yet another tool for creativity. Of course, should something not work out as intended, the watercolour can always be covered with pastel.

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2

SKETCH THE BONES

I applied masking tape around the edge of the picture to act as a mount. I then sketched in the initial drawing using the 4B pencil and then added a few dark touches with the marker pen. (Be sure to use a permanent pen for this, as it will not then be affected when the watercolour washes are applied.) Working from a monochrome sketch rather than a photograph not only allowed me to interpret the colours more intuitively, but also prevented me from adding too much detail. It also proved invaluable in sorting out vital priorities, such as the composition and tonal values.

4

ESTABLISH A FOUNDATION

When the masking fluid was dry, I lay down a mix of French Ultramarine and Light Red in broad washes to indicate the buildings, applying more on those in deeper shadow on the left. I used a hake brush for this, applying bold, sweeping strokes. I then added Viridian for the shutters, diluting it for the areas in sunlight. Seeing and judging tones correctly is the key to any successful painting and without this foundation, it would soon collapse. Throughout the process I am not only thinking about what colours to use, but also continually checking that the tonal values are correct.


masterclass

TOP TIP

TO DEPICT REFLECTIONS ON WATER, KEEP YOUR WATERCOLOUR WASHES CLEAN AND AVOID LAYERS

5

SET THE MOOD

With Viridian still on my brush, I decided to continue applying it for the water. And while that was still wet, I dropped in some Raw Sienna, letting the colours merge together, wet-in-wet. Keeping watercolour spontaneous, fresh and transparent while permitting the white surface of paper to shine through is the essence of the medium – its fluidity is perfect for portraying water, which is often best represented as simply as possible. Making water look reflective means keeping the watercolour washes clean and to an absolute minimum. Applying too many layered washes will subsequently lose the luminosity of the paint and result in an opaque and muddy looking result.

7

ASSESS PROGRESS

When the paint was completely dry, I rubbed off the masking fluid with my finger. At this stage, I also find it useful to remove the masking tape from around the edge of the picture and take a step back to evaluate its progress. The clean edges around the painting act like a mount and not only helps in assessing the overall picture, but can also lift one’s spirits. In particular, I check to see if the colours and contrasts are strong enough. This is vitally important: if the watercolour lacks strength at this stage, adding pastel can make the finished painting look far too weak, too.

6

EXPRESS YOURSELF

I applied a mixture of French Ultramarine and Raw Sienna with expressive brushstrokes to indicate the reflections of the buildings in shadow on the left, and also for the gondolier. Be sure to follow the movement of the flow of water. When this was dry, a further wash was added using a mix of Ultramarine and Light Red. For the less choppy reflections on the right-hand side, I first wet the paper with water and then dropped in the same mix, wet-in-wet, with downward brushstrokes. Further darks were added to the gondola and windows, covering the marker pen with the same paint mix.

8

DEEPEN SURFACE TEXTURES

When the washes were completely dry, I began working over the buildings with soft pastel. This allowed me to add more depth of colour and contrast, while also indicating texture. I applied three Unison Pastels used on their side for this: a deep maroon (Brown Earth 23), a warm purplish grey (Additional Grey 34) and a dark cool grey (Grey 9). I always break soft pastels in half and remove the labels, as this allows me to use them on their side and gives a far greater variety of marks. Here the texture created by picking up > the ‘tooth’ of the paper was perfect for the decaying buildings.

Artists & Illustrators 61


masterclass

TOP TIP WITH REFLECTIONS, REMEMBER THAT DARK OBJECTS REFLECT LIGHTER AND VICE VERSA

9

KEEP CONTROL OF COLOUR

I deliberately chose a limited palette of colours throughout in order to support the mood of the sketch and subject. Now using the deep maroon pastel on its end, I continued it down into the water for the reflections. This was in order to echo the colour in the water, and to help harmonise the painting further. The general rule with reflections is that dark objects reflect lighter and vice versa. Always keep in mind that it is the contrasts that determine a successful outcome – light against dark; soft and hard marks; warm and cool colours.

11

BALANCE THE MEDIA

Using a small round brush I added a diluted wash of Naples Yellow watercolour over the ripples and oar – once again using a ruler to steady my hand. There has to be a fine balance between the watercolour and pastel stage and if too much of the watercolour is covered with pastel then the painting will loose its transparency and vibrancy. The pastel being opaque is added where I feel texture and more depth of colour are needed in the painting. This interaction between the two media creates a great diversity of effects that never ceases to excite me.

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10

KEEP IT SIMPLE

I now worked back into parts of the buildings with a filbert brush and clean water, thus blending and softening the pastel. Although it is best blended dry, I use this technique to simplify busier areas, which in turn helps to unify the painting. This sometimes means being brave enough to sacrifice part of the painting that works for the whole. I also blended the pastel reflections with a tissue to help soften and diffuse the colour. This can also be done with your finger but a tissue also lifts some of the pastel off the paper, therefore making it slightly less opaque.

12

FINISHING TOUCHES

Now all that was needed were a few finishing touches to the focal point. I used a diluted mix of Ultramarine and Light Red for the gondolier’s jersey and then defined further details with a black Conté crayon. Finally I added a few touches of Viridian pastel (Light 18) on the sun-lit window shutters and echoed these in the water. I find this stage of the painting is the most critical, because knowing when to stop can be a real problem. I remember someone once telling me that “it takes two people to paint a picture – one to paint it and another to take it away before it is overworked”. I try and paint to a time limit, timed often in the studio by the playing of one or two CDs. So with the last strains of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons filling my studio and transporting me back to this beguiling city, it was definitely time to stop!


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look after your paint brushes

Painting fur

The difference between a good and a great animal portrait is often down to the handling of the fur. International wildlife artist Pip McGarry explains why double layers and colour glazes can make all the difference

I

have been a professional wildlife artist for around 14 years now and I have probably received more questions about painting fur than I have on any other topic, which is interesting as there are so many other aspects of painting animals that are equally demanding. Typically, an artist would ask, “What do you think is the best way to paint fur?” The trouble with answering is that “fur” is not just a single entity – for example, fur can be very short or very long. It could be on the muzzle of the animal, on the flanks, around the edges, on the ears; it could include whiskers and might also include a gradual change of colour or be affected by lighting conditions. It might be close up or far away. The artist might be working in a variety of media. So when I am asked about painting fur, there really is no single, simple answer. Nevertheless, I have tried to tackle this issue with some basic principles that might help you get closer to achieving the result you are looking for. Arguably the first and most important tip would be not to try and put the detail of the fur down straight away. To obtain a degree of realism, it is essential to put down an underpainting first, setting out the basic colours and tones as you would if you were priming a wall. The more detailed final layers can then be laid over this and doing so means you will not get white paper or canvas showing through. Once you have laid down a covering over the whole canvas, I would normally recommend allowing the painting to dry fully. My next step would be to paint over the entire picture once again, this time blocking in the correct basic colours – the second time around, this is much easier to achieve. While the paint is still wet, I would then apply the details

To obtain a degree of realism when painting fur, it is essential to put down an underpainting first over the top of that second coat of paint, using a variety of finer brushes. My second tip concerns brushes. There isn’t a single ‘magic’ brush that is suitable for painting all types of fur. Rigger brushes are very useful – their name comes from marine art, as the thin heads are great for painting ship’s rigging. Likewise, they are ideal for painting long thin strands of fur. Comber brushes are also worth trying. They allow many lines to be painted in at once, but there is a slight loss of control with them so some of the lines often need amending and tidying up. The consistency of the paint can be an

issue here but with practice, it is possible to achieve the desired effect. When you are painting details, be they fur or otherwise, it is very easy to lose the richness of colour overall. To get around this, you can sometimes amend the colours by applying a thin glaze over your painting once it has dried, in order to help rectify the colour-loss without losing your tonal detail. For areas in which there is a strong light source hitting the fur, I will opt to use a palette knife and apply raw oil pigment in a thick, impasto manner to achieve the maximium intensity instead. So when you stop to consider your painting in those final stages, try to remember that lighting, colour and composition are just as important to the viewer as impressive small details. www.pipmcgarry.com >

Artists & Illustrators 65


trickiest subjects

HOW TO…

Paint white tiger fur

1

SKETCH YOUR SUBJECT

Sketch out your picture in black or dark oil paint and create a preliminary outline for your painting. It is important to get this drawing in proportion first – no matter how well you paint, the picture will not look right otherwise. Paint in the eyes and the dark coloured spots, too. No need to let this dry before moving to stage two.

2

BLOCK IN COLOUR

Block in the basic colours of the subject – this will act as an underpainting or primary coat on which you can build up your artwork with further layers later. It is not important at this stage to get the colours exactly right. Allow the surface to become touch dry before proceeding.

3

DOUBLE UP THE PAINT

Complete the eyes – it is important to get them right, as your efforts with fur will be wasted if they are badly painted. Now cover your portrait again with another layer of paint, starting with light colours first and the spots and darker areas last. The colours will be much truer and intense the second time around and it is easier to achieve depth. As a general rule, work from the centre outwards, to maintain a focus.

4

FOLLOW FUR DIRECTION

While the paint is still wet, sketch in some dark lines with a ‘comber’ brush, following the direction of the fur. The consistency of your paint when applying the lines should be much looser than it was in the previous layers underneath, otherwise it will all become a mess.

5

FOCUS ON DETAILS

It’s time to start putting down your detail. While the previous layer is still wet, use a rigger brush to correct the stray lines painted by your comber brush. Throughout this stage, ensure the consistency of your paint is always wet enough to be applied accurately. Paint in your individual strands of fur with a rigger brush and lighter colours on the darker base. 66 Artists

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6

FINISHING UP

After allowing the paint to dry, you may want to add additional colour by applying a translucent wash of colour over the top of your fur – putting in multiple layers of detail can sometimes lead to a loss of colour depth, and this can help to freshen things up. Finally, when fully dry, varnish the surface of your oils to maximize the overall effect.


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More trickiest subjects To finish up our 15-page special, Martha Alexander asks leading artists to share their advice for how best to tackle more of the trickiest subjects in art – from trees to ears!

TREES

One of the UK’s most popular landscape artists, Michael James Smith knows a thing or two about painting trees “When painting trees, using multiple layers helps to keep the colours fresh and sharp. Begin by roughly blocking in the tree in a mid-toned pigment, without worrying about any detail. Leave this layer to dry. If you’re using oil paint and eager to continue immediately, an alkyd-based paint might be worth a thought as it dries quickly. “For your second layer, paint the darker tones in the shadow areas. Be careful not to go overboard as you don’t want the whole tree to appear dark – it makes it difficult to get any real vibrancy in the next stage. Once again, there’s no real need for detail with this layer but try not to apply the paint too thickly either. Using more transparent colours will give depth to the finished painting. Once you’ve finished the darker tones, you can apply the branches and highlighted canopy areas; I like to use a rigger brush for this. Use Liquin or white spirit to thin the paint down too – this will allow you to get your branches nice and sharp. “When painting the leaves, use a thicker consistency of paint, as it gives the picture more punch. Use a rigger brush for precise detail or a hog brush for a softer look.” www.michaeljamessmith.com

Mixed Greens Additional tips for perfect landscape colour  Don’t just change the ratio of blue to yellow, change the shade too – have at least two of each colour on your palette  Try to avoid adding white to the mix: it can give a chalky, opaque finish  If you want a pre-mixed green, go for Viridian. It mixes with well yellows and blues  Mix in browns and reds too: the best paintings acknowledge the breadth of your palette 68 Artists

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trickiest subjects Simon Hennessey, Westminster, acrylic inks on canvas

REFLECTIONS

1

The golden rule is don’t think too much. Paint exactly what you see, rather than worry about the fact that you are painting a highly reflective surface, like glass. If you’ve not painted a reflection before, start with a still life because this will give you control over the light source and the resulting reflection.

2

The initial sketches need to be clean and precise. The key to good reflections is having a clear starting point. If you don’t have this, it will look untidy – and therefore unconvincing – from the start.

3

Whether drawing or painting, add the darkest shadows in first. Build them up gradually and try to avoid using black: this will just cause your painting to look flat. Next, add the more subtle shadows. These can be hard colours to judge but take time to look carefully – rushing will do you no favours.

4

Keep looking at what you are trying to capture. Each area of shadow or highlight will be uniquely shaped and each will need individual attention. Try not to blend the edges of the shapes too thoroughly.

5

Lastly, add in the areas that are brightest. These highlights should never be blended: they need to look very clean and crisp.

EYES AND EARS

2010 BP Portrait Award winner Daphne Todd OBE offers advice for painting these tricky facial features “With both eyes and ears (see Mark Sanders, Ears, below right), you have to keep them part of the whole. The foolproof way of getting it right is to look at a face as if you are a Martian looking at something for the first time. Pretend you don’t know what you are looking at, and work by finding each shape and looking at it in proportion to the others. It’s easy to explain it, but like explaining juggling, it’s the doing it that’s important. “The common mistake people make with ears is drawing swirly shapes. In actual fact there are a lot of sharp-angled collisions in the ear, so you have almost right angles where one patch of the ear meets the others. Make sure that you work out where the bottom of the ear – an immovable bit – lines up with another immovable bit, such as the nose. “People think eyes are shiny, so they stick a highlight in and think it’s done. In fact, the eyes will look different depending on the light and environment. Of course, the common mistake is to makes the whites of the eyes too white. Parts of the eye, particularly those nearest the nose, may well be a reflected colour from the nose so it might be an orange-ish white. The whites of the eyes are usually (but not always) in the shadow of the brow too, so they are likely to be darker and the colour won’t be the same throughout. Again, you need to go back to [thinking of it as] a patchwork of shapes and assess each individual one.” www.daphnetodd.com

ORE? WANT sM a subject you

Did we mis struggle with? Email or write to us at the addresses on page 76 – the most popular sug gestions will be tackled in a forthcoming issue

Artists & Illustrators

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WINNING WAYS Discover the techniques of award-winning artworks

karen Laurence-rowe Rothschild Mirage, oil on canvas, 198x117cm Winner, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year 2012 door and looked up and saw a buffalo, metres y work is always better when I have away. I was totally unaware but luckily he been out en plein air because I’ve hadn’t seen me. absorbed the atmosphere and gained “Because Soysambu is a safe place with little so much more than I realise. I pick blades of poaching, the animals are relaxed and you can grass and have lots of sketches and get quite close to them. I can sit outside my car photographs so when I get back into the studio and sketch them from life. It’s a perfect place: there’s plenty to work from. Sometimes I forget I see a lot of giraffes there. to take photos because I’ve been so busy “The painting is of Rothschild giraffes – sketching. I will work with the two together as an endangered species. It was a matter of much as possible. circumstance that I saw them when I did, but “It can be hard to find a safe place for artists they are beautiful elegant creatures. to work near wildlife in Kenya, but this scene is “I suppose I put the mirage in because they from Soysambu Conservancy, an area where it are so endangered and I wanted to show how, is safer than most. I will often go out by myself unless things change, I thought they might end and sit totally alone and sketch or paint up just being a mirage: there might not be any whatever comes past. left in 20 years. I painted the gold on them in “Typically, I drive around, find the view and this picture as well to increase their perceived then I scout around checking there are no value as creatures.” animals nearby that I’m not aware of. I was once www.davidshepherd.org absorbed in painting out the back of the car

M

karen’S tipS

• If a painting isn’t working, turn it around to face the wall in your studio. “Come back to it with fresh eyes later. I often work on three or four at once and the ones that aren’t working I cannot see my way forward. It’s about getting over the block.” • Always use the best materials you can afford – or get hold of! “I generally use two different mediums: watercolour and oils. The selection of materials in Kenya isn’t great to be honest, but when I can get it, I use very heavy, 600gsm watercolour paper.” • A medium grain canvas is suitable for a painting such as Rothschild Mirage. “It’s fairly rough but still allows me to paint the detail. I prefer to use that with the Daler-Rowney Artists’ Oil Colours.”

Artists & Illustrators 71


new ways with still life

New ways with still life

Inspired by the Arts In the final instalment of Adèle Wagstaff’s three-part series on still life painting, we focus on how to develop unusual variations on a familiar yet often overlooked subject

D right Still Life with Violin and Candlesticks below Mask with Degas. Both oil on canvas by Adèle Wagstaff

uring my own search for more unusual objects or themes within the subject of still life, I have often been attracted to objects suggesting a narrative or biographical note. Some of these paintings have been inspired by other art forms, with compositions including musical instruments, sculpture and casts of sculpture along with suggestions of other artworks. So to continue our search for new objects and widen the range of subjects and themes in our still life arrangements, this month I will focus upon arts-inspired still life compositions.

Mask with Degas introduces a more theatrical motif and shows a Venetian mask placed before a reproduction of a Degas drawing of a ballet dancer. Musical instruments are beautiful things to paint. In Still Life with Violin and Candlesticks, the curves of the instrument contrast with the verticality of the candlestick, while the rich palette used for the warm-toned wood works well up against the subtle and cool tones of the rest of the painting. Still life containing sculptural elements also shows a different and challenging subject matter. Jar with Hatshepsut Relief and Two Cast Heads both demonstrate the subtle palette used for depicting stone and plaster. Light falling across a piece of sculpture gives us strong tonal contrasts, with the lights quite accentuated and the edges of the darkest shadows well-defined and dramatic. Looking toward other artists’ work, Jean-BaptisteSiméon Chardin’s The Attributes of the Arts and the Rewards Which are Accorded Them shows us an impressive table top arrangement in which we see a collection of artist’s materials, including a palette, brushes, papers and a paintbox. This group of objects, all linked to the arts, allows the painter to demonstrate the virtuosity in his rendition of the many different surfaces we see in the painting. From the smudges of paint on the palette to the crumpled edges of the notebook, the light and dark of the stone of the sculpture and the glint of light reflecting on the metal show us the master’s paint handling and brushwork. In another of Chardin’s still-life arrangements, 1765’s 72 Artists

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new ways with still life

The WiLLiAm hood dunWoody Fund

The Attributes of Music, the artist shows us a table full of instruments, including a violin and lute. Against the wooden pipes of the woodwind, and the reflective surface of the brass, curled and torn edges of sheet music hangs off the edge of the table and serves to lead the eye into the painting. The materials we use give us many contrasting surfaces, the natural woods of the palette and brush handles, bright saturated colours found on brushes, palette and paint tubes that contrast beautifully with the muted and subtle greys of reflections found in turps bottles, jars, and metallic surfaces. Along with scratches, dribbles of paint, a small still life of the

Light falling across a piece of sculpture gives us strong tonal contrasts, with the edges of the shadows well-defined and dramatic objects on the table next to our easel provides us with an opportunity to experiment with these different surfaces, as well as a wide range and scale of mark-making. We often see a selection of artists’ materials in paintings along with other subjects. Artists may depict themselves holding a palette and brushes when >

top, left to right Jar with Hatshepsut Relief; Two Cast Heads. Both oil on canvas by Adèle Wagstaff left Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, The Attributes of the Arts and the Rewards Which Are Accorded Them, 1766, oil on canvas, 113x145cm

Artists & Illustrators 73


new ways with still life

above Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts, Trompe l’oeil – The Reverse of a Framed Painting, 1670, oil on canvas below David Hockney, Paint Trolley, L.A., 1985, photographic collage

working on a self-portrait, or in a portrait of a fellow artist as a way of showing their profession. Occasionally an artist’s tools of the trade are shown within still-life arrangements but our selection of paint tubes, brushes and palette are rarely seen as a worthy still-life subject in themselves – yet when they are used, they can prove fascinating. The Flemish painter Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts gives a very different

take on painting art materials in his 1670 composition, Trompe l’oeil – The Reverse of a Framed Painting. In this very clever image, we appear to be looking at the back of a canvas – the frame, linen and stretcher bars show us a beautiful rendition of the different surfaces and textures with their stains, smudges and imperfections. A small scrap of paper in the top left of the painting suggests that the painting is for sale. Viewed today, the painting seems strikingly modern in its concept. In contrast, a more modern take on this subject of artist’s materials can be seen in David Hockney’s photomontage Paint Trolley, L.A. 1985, which features in the current Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition that transfers from Tate Britain to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art next month. Here we see Hockney’s interest in using photography to deconstruct the image, before putting it back together again as a collage. A series of photos become a complex final image, showing us the many angles and viewpoints of the objects on the table in a Cubist manner. Cubism, as seen in the still life works of Picasso and Braque, demonstrated a multiple viewpoint that deconstructs the fixed position of looking at a painting. This suggestion of Cubist still life in Hockney’s work make our eyes wander around the composition, in the absence of a single, fixed viewpoint. Adèle’s latest book, Painting Still Life in Oils, is published by Crowood Press, RRP £16.99. www.crowood.com

STATeNS MuSeuM FOr KuNST/NATIONAl GAllery OF DeNMArK, www.SMK.DK; © DAVID HOCKNey. PHOTO CreDIT: STeVe OlIVer

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new ways with still life

DEMONSTRATION

Of the many subjects around us in the studio, the ones we use on a daily basis in our work provide us with an interesting theme. The paint tubes, brushes, bottles, jars, rags and more give us many contrasting textures, tones and reflections to look at. This small canvas shows an arrangement of paint tubes and brushes placed on the wooden surface of a paint-box placed next to the easel. This arrangement is viewed from directly above. Looking down at a group of objects such as these can create an interesting and challenging composition.

1

This sketched underpainting shows my placing of the objects within the confines of the rectangle. The canvas used here was small in size, just 24x18cm, and the intension was to have the objects filling the picture space, almost life-size in scale. A thin wash of Raw Sienna was used because of its similarity to the overall background colour.

2

3

4

During this stage of the painting, more attention was given to the contrast of lights and darks throughout the entire composition. The brightest areas of colour on top of the paint tubes were next to be added. The text on the paint tubes and the designs of them were suggested with fluid brushstrokes that described the contour of the tubes rather than any specific detail.

TOP TIP

Begin still life pain ting with your canvas or bo ard the same size as your subject. You will find it easie r to get propor tions right this way

The largest areas and shapes of colour were placed quickly so the brushwork appears fluid and sketchy. You can see that although the paint surface was applied with a rapid brushstroke, the paint itself is opaque. The lightest parts of the composition had, up to this point, remained as bare white primer while the mid-tones and a suggestion of the darkest areas were established. Over the background area, subtle transitions from warm to cool were already being identified.

For this final stage, I continued to adjust small colour areas around the objects, as well as working to deepen the shadows. In the final moments on this small oil study, small scratches were added using a palette knife, while marks and paint stains were placed using different brushes – and my fingers.

Artists & Illustrators 75


Your Letters… Letter of the month every month, the writer of the winning letter will receive a £50 gift voucher from our partner greatart, who offers the uk’s largest range of art materials with over 40,000 art supplies and regular discounts and promotions. greatart.co.uk

A CRYPTIC SUGGESTION Re: Issue 315 My wife and I feel that the latest edition of Artists & Illustrators is better than ever, being both informative and enjoyable. Sadly, we gave up looking for Alvaro’s Latin influence on Constable country, since there was not even a quick sketch of Scotland Yard to admire. Perhaps the verdant vistas are not for him? However, the lure of “Untold Riches” on the treasure hunt page more than compensated (see picture, above) and we feel the answer is “Blickling”, from the following:

Artists & Illustrators liscartan house the chelsea magazine company ltd. 127-131 sloane street, london sW1X 9as telephone: (020) 7901 8000 fax: (020) 7901 8001 www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk for all website queries, please email: support@artistsandillustrators.co.uk for all editorial queries, please email: info@artistsandillustrators.co.uk

B for Basket; L for Ladder; I for Indentations (on the bread); C for Cat; K for Kerchief (under the bread); L for Loaf (of bread); I for Index finger (pointing); N for Noggin (the small drink) and G for Garlic (or grapes)!

Editorial Editor steve pill Senior Art Editor chloë collyer Features Writer martha alexander

Our congratulations to Lizzie Riches on a fine painting; if the above is not the right answer, she might be amused to see our version at least! Alan and Dorothy Hewison, Plymouth

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I think you’ve made a great guess at last month’s news story poser. Lizzie’s Long Gallery exhibition actually features plenty more paintings that need decoding and the answers won’t be revealed until it closes on 31 August – so you’ll have to watch this space!

Senior Advertising Sales Manager lyndal beeton Sales Executive tom o’byrne Advertising Production allpointsmedia www.allpointsmedia.co.uk

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THINK LIKE AN ILLUSTRATOR Just a short email to tell you how inspiring your magazine is for our art group. Myself and a friend, both with backgrounds in illustration, run Berry Lane Art Group. We structure it so that on a weekly basis, we try different projects and mediums, such as Brusho, monoprinting and life drawing. The students are encouraged to think of themselves as illustrators, as well as painters. This 76 Artists

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Re: Issue 309, Art in the Algarve Prize Draw Having won the Art in the Algarve competition, I would like to thank you immensely for the experience it gave me. Valuable lessons were learned in an atmosphere and location that just cried out to be painted. The surroundings were so full of life and colour, and the course itself was superb with every whim for guests catered for. The people were an amazing bunch and the studios (there were two) were bright, relaxed and roomy. There were even materials of all mediums available from the school, in case anyone had forgotten anything. I can’t recommend strongly enough for readers to have a go at all future competitions – my win goes to show that you never know! Al Knight, Inverness

Managing Director paul dobson Deputy Managing Director steve ross Commercial Director vicki gavin Publisher Will delmont We reserve the right to edit letters and comments for publication. please note: greatart can only post to uk addresses

greatly affects the outcome of their finished pieces. Artist & Illustrators magazine is a wonderful source of reference for us and provides excellent tips in approaching different topics. It helps the group to think about developing their own personal style. I am forwarding a piece of artwork by one of the group, a collage made by Lynn Cook (left). Gillian Blair, Berry Lane Art Group, via email

witH tHaNkS to Juliette aristides, ray balkwill, chris hall, gareth iwan Jones, natalie milner, pip mcgarry, sophie ploeg, Josephine price, chris rigby, bren unwin, adèle Wagstaff, Jenny White and emma Wood

CoVEr iMaGE imogen bone. photo: chris hall

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Artists & Illustrators 3


David Sargerson

Life Drawing David won the De Laszlo Foundation Prize at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters 2012 exhibition for this checkered self-portrait This style of painting a portrait square by square came to me in an epiphany. The main thinking was that it would highlight my flaws as a painter and these flaws would make the final image more interesting to view. I think my self-portrait is an extremely honest painting. Painting each square separately exposes any variations in my interpretation of light, colour and composition. In a typical painting these flaws would be corrected and the canvas would be unified.

One of my earliest memories of art is being taught how to draw an aeroplane. It was the first time I learned that drawing a picture can be a case of following a process and that a final drawing can be a matter of arranging lines and shapes in a predefined way. My family aren’t really artistic in a painting and drawing sense. My mum has a life-long addiction to knitting and embroidery though so perhaps the compulsive, process driven side of my practice comes from her.

One of the best pieces of advice I received was never use black. This is something that was told to me on the very first day of A-Level art class and I am thankful for it to this day. I find that black can suck the life out of colours. I got a first class honours degree in art from the University of Hertfordshire. I loved the freedom that was available. That was probably the first time I was empowered to explore my own ideas about art. I only applied to be part of an exhibition for the first time last year. Prior to that I painted in my own little bubble, apprehensive of showing my work and inviting criticism. The last 12 months have been a massive validation period for me. I wonder how many people are out there with potentially amazing portfolios of work – if only we could get to see more of them. To paint professionally would be a dream come true. It is something I am bent on achieving but at the moment I also have a full-time job in order to pay the bills. My art is focused entirely on the creative process. Selling and promotion is something I’m hopeless at. That side of the process is something I need to develop – or even better, find someone who can look after it for me! What is my studio like? My wife says to say, “a bloody mess”. My studio is essentially the box room at home. On my website, I have set up The 140 Club. It is very much in development but it is a social network and my plan is to instil a passion for painting in as many people as I can. I think there us a perception that artistic ability is something you are born with. Some people have a natural ability for it but my current work is a result of nearly 30 years of exploration and hard work. My belief is that everyone can enjoy art on some level. www.davidsargerson.com

82 Artists

& Illustrators


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Artists & Illustrators August 2012 New