Artists & Illustrators September 2021

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Artists & Illustrators, The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd., Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ Tel: (020) 7349 3700 EDITORIAL Group Editor Steve Pill Art Editor Lauren Debono-Elliot Assistant Editor Rebecca Bradbury Contributors Hashim Akib, Grahame Booth, Laura Boswell, Kate Brinkworth, Pedro Campos, Terence Clarke, Siân Dudley, Alan McGowan and Jake Spicer ONLINE ENQUIRIES

MANAGEMENT & PUBLISHING Chairman Paul Dobson Managing Director James Dobson Publisher Simon Temlett Chief Financial Officer Vicki Gavin EA to Chairman Sarah Porter Subs Marketing Manager Bret Weekes Group Digital Manager Ben Iskander BACK ISSUES ISSN NO. 1473-4729


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Welcome Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference. In this issue, we’ve come across plenty of artists who are new to Artists & Illustrators and have based their styles on small breakthroughs. For Martin Greenland, the John Moores Painting Prize winner and star of this month's “How I Paint” article, that “Eureka moment” came when he realised the impact that small details could have within his vast, imagined landscapes. For Michele Poirier-Mozzone, the American artist who we join “In The Studio”, it was a GoPro camera that gave her access to underwater reference photos and satisfied a yearning to paint fractured light. And for Chris Gambrell, Bristol fashion illustrator and our “Big Interviewee”, it was joining a local art trail that set him on course for a commission from Vogue. For my own part, the combination of road testing Faber-Castell’s super smooth new 14B pencil and reading Jake Spicer’s brilliant new book Figure Drawing this month has inspired me to put down my paint brushes for a while and rediscover the joys of the sketchbook again. I hope you find something equally revealing in this issue that sets you on a new creative path too. Steve Pill, Editor

Write to us!

Who or what has inspired you to be creative this month? Share your stories with us here: @AandImagazine




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Learn to paint positively in acrylics

18 By engaging with principles of depth, we learn to see the world with fresh eyes – JAKE S PICE R , PAGE 4 4


REGULARS 5 Letters Win a £50 GreatArt voucher



September's best art on show



Quick tips, ideas and inspiration

12 Fresh Paint New artworks, fresh off the easel

24 The Working Artist With our columnist Laura Boswell

25 Prize Draw Win £1,000 of drawing materials

82 Meet the Artist With portrait painter Lily Lewis

INSPIRATION 18 The Big Inter view Fashion illustrator Chris Gambrell on working for Vogue magazine 4 Artists

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26 Art Histor y

56 Project

Why James McNeill Whistler was an artist ahead of his time

Learn to paint more positively with this month's self-set challenge

30 In The Studio

60 Demo

With the underwater figurative painter Michele Poirier-Mozzone

A floral painting reveals how to use masking fluid in an expressive way

TECHNIQUES 38 Masterclass A 12-step portrait guide using bold colours and expressive marks

44 Principles of Depth

64 How I Paint Former John Moores Painting Prize winner Martin Greenland shares his landscape painting process

70 Tips

Jake Spicer begins a new six-part series on adding depth to your art

From shiny objects to mirror images, we reveal 13 expert tips for painting reflections of all kinds

50 Anatomy

76 Composition

Directional mark making leads to more expressive, realistic hands

Lessons in picture making learned from Monet, Manet and Morisot

h ow Learn th e w to dra h an d t c p er f e s i vel y s exp r e e 5 0 – pag


SHARING THE LOVE My first copy of Artists & Illustrators was brought to me from England several years ago by a dear childhood friend, a performance artist and photographer who has lived in England for many years now. I instantly fell in love with the magazine after reading the first few pages. I am an artist, painter, graphic designer and mom to a five-year-old boy who is a big artist himself. The first time I bought Artists & Illustrators was on my birthday. After that, my husband started buying them for me. And now every time I receive the new issue in my mailbox, I feel as if it is my birthday, which is an amazing feeling. But I am not stingy with my birthday present. Every time I get the new issue, I take it to my painting group and share the useful information. I always feel inspired and ready to create something new after reading this magazine. And I’m very grateful for this chance. I attach a photo of one of my paintings I created after seeing how Anne-Marie Butlin paints her flowers. Thank you for introducing this beautiful artist to me and for the chance to receive this magazine in my mailbox 1,041 miles away. With love from Latvia! Elina Birzkalne, via email

I do this please? I’d like to make friends with other artists please. Sandra Beech, via email

RETURN TO ART I have picked up my brushes again after 20 years – I purchased some acrylic and oil paints, as well as some canvas and new brushes. I’ve done a few paintings in acrylic and put them on a few clubs on Facebook. I’ve done three oil paintings now, which I am proud of as they are showing that I’m getting back to standard. I used to paint bushes and trees, but now I’m trying full scenes. I purchased Artists & Illustrators’ July issue and I get it regularly now at shops. I noticed you can join in clubs or share pictures online with other artists – can you tell me how

Glad to hear you’re enjoying your return to painting, Sandra. Our magazine’s Facebook page is a great place to meet other artists and share tips – you can find us at AndIllustrators. And if you want to share your artwork online and sell commission free, why not join more than 23,300 artists on our Portfolio Plus scheme? Sign up today for as little as £2.08 per month at www.artists and create your own personal webpage. PRINCELY PORTRAITS I want to share with you two pieces of artwork I have completed. Following the very sad death of Prince Philip I painted a portrait of this remarkable and well-respected gentleman. My challenge was to paint a full-face portrait on A3 paper with watercolour using acrylic to highlight his regalia and awards. Just previous to this I had painted a

full-face portrait of Prince Charles. He has a very interesting face and I thoroughly enjoyed trying to capture his features and was pleased with the result. I hope you like these two portraits. Stephen Evans, via email

Write to us! Send your letter or email to the addresses below: POST: Your Letters, Artists & Illustrators, The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd., Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ EMAIL: info@artists The writer of our ‘letter of the month’ will receive a £50 gift voucher from GreatArt, which offers the UK’s largest range of art materials with more than 50,000 art supplies and regular discounts and promotions.

Share your stories and get a daily dose of Artists & Illustrators tips, advice and inspiration by following us on our social media channels... @AandImagazine ArtistsAndIllustrators AandImagazine AandImagazine

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Until 31 October With the climate emergency looming large, many of us have had to adjust our relationship with the planet. One way to explore our changing connection to the environment is,

of course, through art – and we can now take inspiration thanks to this curation of work, spanning from landscape paintings to sculptural installations. Renowned artists with work on show include painter Cyprien Gaillard and “land artist” Sir Richard Long RA. Millennium Gallery, Sheffield.


18 September to 27 February 2022 They say you should never meet your heroes, but Walter Sickert did just that in 1882 when he became the apprentice of James Abbott McNeill Whistler. After absorbing his methods, the German-born Sickert went on to become one of Britain’s most important artists. This retrospective of some 300 works demonstrates just how honestly he chronicled the world over six decades, capturing society as he saw it, which, at the time, was considered an extremely radical approach. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

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9 September to 12 December What constitutes a successful work of art has been debated for centuries. If you’re in agreement that a painting should make you ponder, this collection of work from three generations of UK-based artists is a must see. Each has been chosen for its ability to spark the imagination and land at an interpretation. Let the speculative thinking and unexpected conversations begin. Southbank Centre, London.

Dates may change during the Covid-19 restrictions Always check gallery websites beforehand



19 September to May 2023 Art galleries across the world continue to add to their collections, whether it be via donations, purchases or bequest. Putting their latest arrivals on show will be the City Art Centre, a move that helps fill in the gaps of Scotland’s history of visual arts, as well as introduce viewers to contemporary talents. Featured artists include landscape painter Kate Downie and minimalist Alison Watt, alongside the Scottish all-rounder Ian Hamilton Finlay, famed for his art, poetry and gardening. City Art Centre, Edinburgh.



15 September to 17 April 2022 Like Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler was an American abstract artist who pioneered new ways to paint, yet found her male contemporaries took all the credit. Giving the New Yorker the attention she deserves, albeit 10 years after her death, is this showcase of her painterly and spontaneous woodcuts. The 38 prints (including Madame Butterfly [right], made with a staggering 102 colours) all showcase the artist’s typical “no rules” approach. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London.

Artists & Illustrators


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September TIPS • ADVI CE • ID E A S


Perfect Papers

Choosing the right sur f ace will improve your ar t work s in an instant

ne of the subjects we are asked about more than any other is how to choose the best type of paper for the drawing or painting you are trying to make. Here is a breakdown of the key factors to consider…

MATERIAL Most papers are made from one of two substances. Cotton is the most stable and so 100% cotton papers are perfect for finished artworks of a professional standard. Papers made from wood pulp, meanwhile, are a good economical choice, particularly for prep work.


The weight of paper is measured in pounds or grams per square metre (lbs or gsm). The medium you intend to use is a good guide to what weight to choose. Pencil drawings can be made on lighter papers, while 160gsm (75lb) is a good minimum for more expressive pastel work. Painting with water-based media requires heavier papers – either 300gsm (140lb) if you intend to stretch them or 425gsm (200lb) and above if you don’t.

able to make. HP or “hot pressed” is the smoothest surface, ideal for precise marks and a more realist finish. Rough is self-explanatory, the most textured surface available and one designed to maximise the granulation properties of watercolour paint as it settles in the tooth of the paper. “Cold pressed” or NOT paper (literally meaning “not hot pressed”) is a midpoint between the two, a good all-rounder.

PRODUCTION TEXTURE Surface texture has a direct bearing on the marks you are

Top paper manufacturers will often state whether a paper is “mould made” or “machine

made”. The former are more stable, often heavier papers, easily spotted by their deckle edges and sometimes even a watermark. The latter are usually cheaper and boast a more uniform texture.

FORMAT Good quality paper is obviously available in either sketchbooks or individual sheets, although it is worth considering paper blocks if you intend to use water-based media. The sheets in these blocks are glued down on all sides, saving the need to stretch the paper before you paint.

Artists & Illustrators 9


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MASTER TIP When Pierre-Auguste Renoir retired to Cagnes-sur-Mer, his early linear style had shifted to something altogether softer, as seen in this small canvas, Maison de la Poste, Cagnes. Mimic that effect by dipping your brush first into a medium made with a mix of linseed oil and turps, before picking up your chosen colours. Use less medium in subsequent layers to avoid the surface cracking when it dries.

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The Ar tist s & Illustrator s web site is one of the bigge st re s ource s f or ar tist s on the internet . You can f ind drawing challenge s , comp etitions , inter view s and a huge databas e of practical painting and drawing advice.


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7 SEPTEMBER ING Discerning Eye 2021 submissions close today. This year’s six selectors include painter Pete “The Street” Brown and Talk Art podcast presenter Russell Tovey. 30 SEPTEMBER The World Reimagined aims to educate about slavery via 10 large globe sculptures on display in major UK cities next year. Submit a design for the chance to feature. theworldreimagined. 30 SEPTEMBER Enter your art into Holland’s Painting of the Year 2021 for the chance to feature in an exhibition in Amsterdam or win a rather appropriate €2021 cash prize. www.painting

BOOK OF THE MONTH Figure Drawing by Jake Spicer Regular A&I contributor Jake Spicer reveals himself to be the natural heir to Andrew Loomis in his tenth and most comprehensive book to date. Early exercises with attainable targets give way to a library of anatomical reference, while profiles add vital context. Figure Drawing is structured like an art school course and is every bit as rewarding. Ilex Press, £25 Reader offer – SAVE £9! A&I readers can buy Figure Drawing for £16, including UK P&P. Order by calling (01235) 759555 and quoting the code: “9952100052”.

Artists & Illustrators 11

Fresh Paint

Inspiring new artworks, straight off the easel

Alfie Carpenter Finding a landscape painter who enjoys communing with nature is not particularly rare. There is clearly something to be said for working en plein air, with all the extra observed details and greater sense of connection to a subject that comes with being out in the world. Nevertheless, it is unusual to find an artist like Alfie Carpenter who not only packs up his paints to take out into the field, but also brings a bag filled with papers that he will use to add collage textures. Far from being a distraction, he feels these extra elements simply add a greater sense of urgency to the process, especially on windy days. “I’ve spent many afternoons chasing bits of paper across fields,” he says happily. “However, I believe this urgency adds to the energy of the final piece, something which can’t be replicated in the studio.” If that sounds a little stressful, the reality is anything but. Alfie is a big believer in the therapeutic benefits of being creative and he feels fortunate to have been able to continue his practice largely unchanged during the pandemic so far. “There is something incredibly mindful about assembling the pieces of collage to create a final piece, I think it taps into the same feeling of doing a jigsaw puzzle,” he says. “It generates a tremendous sense of purpose, a healthy form of expression, and helps me process a lot of things.” The Edge of Days is one of several new mixed media works that the Suffolk-based artist has made in response to the changing light conditions he observed in the landscape. “Dusk and dawn are particularly special moments during the cycle of days into night and often seem to hold a greater weight of emotion and sentiment – and this is what I tried to capture in these paintings.” Away from art, Alfie is a Leeds College of Music graduate and continues to write and play when he can. In fact, he finds that the two disciplines often overlap and influence each other. “For instance, during a dry spell of music writing a few years ago, I thought about what it would be like to collage voices, field recordings and different musical components together, much like my painting technique. It helped me create my album Land Song, which is a collection of ambient ‘songscapes’ that are inspired by our relationship to landscapes. Each musical piece has a painting that goes with it.” 12 Artists

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Fresh Paint

ALFIE’S TOP TIP “Play with collage – have a go at tearing paper in different ways, arranging it and seeing how it reacts to painting over it”

LEFT Alfie Carpenter, The Edge of Days, mixed media collage and acrylic on board, 54x62cm

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Fresh Paint

Ethan Murrow While overseas travel is largely restricted for many of us, Ethan Murrow’s artwork will be making a foray overseas as the Boston painter’s latest collection debuts in Paris’s Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire. Pollen Song mixes largescale, monochrome pencil drawings with acrylic paintings such as Chanter Highflow. Strange hybrid, half-plant, half-human characters feature throughout the new works, while the rustic settings recall the artist’s own upbringing on a farm set deep in the hills of rural Vermont. “I would always thirst for summer,” he recalls. “I loved the deep bake of the heat after a dousing rain, when the buzz of bees and the whir and chirp of insects and birds formed a constant harmony.” Ethan’s poetic nostalgia for this simpler time has been sharpened by his current life in one of America’s busiest, most vibrant cities. “Now I see how lucky I was to grow up in a place, in a moment, in a family that invested so much

into the land, whether it was logging, animal husbandry or growing fruits and vegetables.” It is perhaps the 40-something painter’s newfound recognition of his early good fortune that accounts for the optimistic tone of this latest collection. His paintings’ protagonists, with their floral heads that call to mind Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s fruit faces, can be found swinging from trees, praying for rain, or climbing rope ladders to imaginary, Eden-like landscapes. “The characters in these drawings are mid-struggle, trying to figure out their own relationship with the earth,” he explains. “Each of them believes so wholeheartedly in their goals that I want to believe they may actually be able to bring a soothing rain from the sky.” In doing so, Pollen Song celebrates both the beauty and the absurdity of life in equal measures. Ethan Murrow – Pollen Song runs 4 September to 23 October at Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris.

ABOVE Ethan Murrow, Chanter Highflow, acrylic on board, 120x120cm

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Fresh Paint

Tatiana An One often unsung virtue of acrylic paint is its suitability for peripatetic artists, as Portfolio Plus member Tatiana An discovered after a string of sudden moves meant she had to abandon her oil paintings. “Acrylic is more convenient,” she explains. “It dries quickly, it’s easier to take along when travelling, and a canvas painted with acrylic is more flexible than an oil one, which can crack when rolled up.” Perhaps it’s this iterant lifestyle that makes the Netherlands-based, Ukrainian-born artist so adept at transporting viewers to uncharted lands. Take her recent still life Sunbeam, for example. Delicate fine china and glassware glows ethereally while hazy, out-of-focus details recall late summer evenings in an impossible-to-discern place and time. For Tatiana, the painting was all about the ray of light shining through a gap in the curtains. “The sunbeam expressed very clearly and effortlessly who was the main hero,” she recalls. “I got the impression the plates and glasses stepped aside and made a curtsy.” “I removed one glass that was blocking the sunbeam’s path,” she adds, explaining her approach to the 16 Artists

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composition. “It’s very important not to overcrowd your ABOVE Tatiana An, paintings. There is almost always an excess – you need Sunbeam, acrylic to find and remove it.” on canvas, Tatiana begins most of her paintings by laying down 25x25cm three colours to establish where the different elements will go, but the chosen hues aren’t what count. “[Sunbeam] could have been painted with a different Every month, one of our Fresh Paint palette, but the effect would artists is chosen from Portfolio Plus, have been about the same,” our online, art-for-sale portal. For your she says. “For me, the most chance to feature in a forthcoming important part is to maintain issue, sign up for your own personalised the contrast between warm Portfolio Plus page today. You can also: and cold colours.” • Showcase, share and sell unlimited “That way they highlight artworks commission free each other, and the picture • Get your work seen across Artists & will become crisp and bright,” Illustrators’ social media channels she adds – words that are • Submit art to our online exhibitions beautifully demonstrated in her • Enjoy exclusive discounts and more dream-like, dinner party visions. Sign up in minutes at www.artistsand tatianaan

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Artists & Illustrators 17

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LEFT Jean Paul Gaultier, Spring 2010, paint stick and coloured pencil on paper, 29x42cm



The Bristol illustrator has brought a fresh perspective to fashion illustration thanks to his sculpture-indebted techniques and his love of wax crayons, as STEVE PILL discovers


hile fashions change faster than the seasons, our concept of fashion illustration has largely remained unchanged: look at any designs from the past century and you will often find the same full-length figures striding forward, all rendered with elegant black ink lines and sweeping washes of watercolour. Even contemporary books, such as Holly Nichols’ Modern Fashion Illustration released this spring, might swap the watercolour brush for a Copic Sketch Marker but ultimately the principles remain the same. It is clear, however, that what we don’t expect to see is awkward, off-the-cuff

poses, jarring colour schemes and roughly textured passages of pastel, acrylic and whatever other media can be thrown into the mix. Yet that is precisely what Chris Gambrell has made his stock in trade as he has risen to the very top of his profession. The 43-year-old artist has caught the eye of the world’s leading tastemakers, leading him to illustrate vintage couture for Vogue, catalogues for Zara, and fashion spreads for magazines as far afield as Brazil, Australia and the US – all while working from home in Bristol, raising his young family. Thankfully, his modest attitude to the fashion industry remains every bit as refreshing as his colourful designs.

“I tend to wear quite comfortable clothes,” he says with a chuckle. “Understated would be the word. I do like to experiment and play on paper though so I can certainly identify with the designers – all the shapes, colours and movement just get me really excited.” It is this lack of pretension and a wealth of enthusiasm for his craft that has endeared him to clients and the public alike. Chris likes the fact that his framed, gallery pieces tend to not be so far removed from his sketchbook work in terms of the level of finish. “I don’t want to dictate exactly what something is,” he explains. “I like people to play a part in working out what is there or just

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I u se colour in quite a simple way… I tend to u se colours that jar slightly and then soften them out

ABOVE Sketchbook Work, pastel on paper, 29x42cm

LEFT Sketchbook Work, pastel on paper, 21x29cm

assuming shapes and other elements. If I read books, I tend to read short reads, short fiction, something where you bring a bit of yourself to whatever is on offer and you make your own references or draw your own conclusions.” Sketching has been particularly important to Chris throughout his career. When starting out and still finding his feet with his own style, he would regularly put in the hours going out and drawing people in the streets. He has referred to his sketchbook as his “playground” and that openness and willingness to experiment helped him try out new ideas regularly.

Even nowadays, as he admits that family commitments mean less time for getting out, he still makes regular reference to his daily “warm up” sketches – a few quick initial sketchbook entries made before the heavy lifting of his commissioned work commences. Chris emerged from the University of West England in 2001 with a degree in illustration, yet a more formative experience occurred during his foundation year when he was exploring sculpture in a big way. Many of his influences are not fashion illustrators but rather 20th-century sculptors such as Alberto Giacometti

and Constantin Brâncusi, and he learned a lot from the way they approached their subjects: “If you are stone carving, you become keenly aware of knocking something off that can’t be put back in – it trains the senses. The work of people like Henry Moore is more about what is removed than what’s actually there, which is something that is really interesting to me. I’d never really thought about focusing on what’s not there before that.” Through sculpture, Chris learned to think about negative space and to treat drawing as “a reductive process, taking things away to reveal forms”; all skills that have helped him to avoid overworking drawings and maintain an economical approach to mark making. Of course, what sculpture so often lacks is colour – or at least any chromatic variety – and it is a surprise to hear that it was only more recently that Chris stopped working in monochrome after encouragement from an artist friend. “I use colour in quite a simple way,” he admits. “I tend to use colours that jar slightly and then soften them out. These days, my usual starting point is to start [a drawing] with two complementary, quite high contrast colours that naturally reverberate against each other and then work out from there. I might use maybe a red and a green, but then move to the side of that green to a blue just to soften things slightly. That’s the extent of my colour theory and application.” Chris likens the process of painting to “one-pot cooking” – rather than starting in one corner and working

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BELOW Sketchbook Work, pastel on paper, 29x42cm

Instagram is empowering for artists… It’s possible to brand yourself and really put yourself out there now 22 Artists

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across the page, he prefers to develop everything simultaneously, keeping things moving until he is happy with the overall combination. “That’s why I use soft pastel or acrylic, just because you can get back in there and change the colours, so I don’t have to commit to anything. I find that liberating and exciting – and that’s what I want from my work.” Prior to settling again in Bristol, Chris hadn’t always been so sure about his practice. A large commission for Bristol’s Tobacco Factory came just as he was graduating, which helped set him on the path of commercial illustration. A move to Barcelona in 2004 coincided with a commission to illustrate a men’s catalogue for the Spanish fashion brand Zara, yet Chris soon suffered something of a crisis of confidence in the vibrant city. “There was art on every corner and so many artists around,” he recalls. “I was probably a bit overwhelmed really.” He became invested instead in teaching English as a foreign language, moving with his partner to Japan for a couple of years before a stint in Madrid where his first child was born. Once back in Bristol with his young family, the urge to create returned. “I realised how much I was missing producing things, just the routine of drawing and observing things around me,” he recalls. Taking part in a local art trail gave Chris the confidence to begin producing and selling personal work, yet it was Instagram, the imagesharing social media network, that really helped him find his feet as an illustrator again in 2016. “Instagram is quite empowering for artists and people working commercially,” he says. “I’d be interested to have a bit of a discussion with other people working in the industry as to what the [illustration] agencies offer that people can’t get directly now. It’s possible to brand yourself and really put yourself out there now, so I think more people are working directly with clients – and that’s certainly what I’ve done.” One person who connected with his work at that time was Laird BorrelliPersson, the archive editor at Vogue magazine. She reached out to Chris to


share her enthusiasm for his work and pledged to work with him when the opportunity arose. That finally came together last year as he became one of seven illustrators tasked with delving into the Vogue Runway archives and choosing a favourite piece of couture to draw. It was a “bucket list” commission and, after obsessing over the decision, Chris eventually picked out a selection from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2010 collection. The accompanying article praised the Bristol illustrator’s ability to “convey character through the smallest gestures”, while he also lifted the lid on his processes in trademark fashion, revealing that he had used something as mundane as a wax crayon for this most prestigious of publications. Chris has also used his Instagram as a means to promote his side career as a portrait artist for hire, currently charging £260 for a bespoke A3 drawing. His atmospheric approach can be seen in the likeness of Artemisia Gentileschi adorning the cover of a recent biography of the overlooked Baroque artist. ABOVE Sketchbook Work, pastel on mid-tone paper, 29x42cm

LEFT Based on a Roland Mouret Look, pastel on paper, 29x42cm

Next year Chris is making a return to teaching abroad, though this time the subject will be art rather than language. He is set to return to Madrid in February to host a threeday pastel and acrylic drawing workshop with Talleres Piolas. His philosophy when it comes to teaching is to not be too prescriptive. “I just want to give some guiding principles and some practical advice,” he says. “It’s important for people to know how to make marks and how to get shapes to the place they want them to be. I hate the word ‘correct’, but things like scaling, proportions… It’s important to introduce methods for that.” “I don’t like the idea that people could just step into exactly what you do and produce what you do,” he adds. “I think everybody has got their own individual voice and it’s about celebrating that. If you can give them the principles to convey that voice, then that’s a pretty good place to be.” To commission a portrait from Chris, please contact him via www.instagram. com/gambrell_

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Accustomed to altering reality in her sketches, could our columnist LAURA BOSWELL still make a satisfying print with only a photo for reference?


’ve been working on two prints recently. They’re both Yorkshire landscapes; one of the famous Ribblehead Viaduct, the other of a limestone sinkhole at Buttertubs Pass. Both involved using photos for reference and both triggered an unexpected creative challenge. A quick word about copyright when working from photographic references: the copyright of a photo rests with the photographer, just as the copyright of your artwork rests with you. It’s fine to look at photos for inspiration and ideas but be

very careful not to work directly from a specific picture, unless you took it or have permission to reference it. On location I always take photos as well as making sketches and use both in developing my work. I use photography as a form of note taking and as an adjunct to the sketching. My sketches reveal the parts of the landscape that catch my imagination, while my photography serves to record the general view. Back in my studio I cook up the final image from these ingredients; a large dose of imagination alongside sketches for

Changing the way that I worked from my photos pushed me into a new creative place 24 Artists

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composition and focus, photos for fact checking. My Yorkshire sinkhole is a good example: it obeys the laws of geology and physics so helpfully recorded in my photos, but it is no direct representation of reality. I am entirely focused on the drop into the depths and, as with my initial sketches, I’ve virtually eliminated the surrounding landscape, isolating the sinkhole in white space, adapting its shape to suit the composition. My print of Ribblehead Viaduct shows the structure through the mist and true to life. With a landmark so iconic and the weather closing in fast, I took the time to compose a photo rather than sketching. I then worked directly from this to make an accurate drawing of the viaduct’s structure and to compose the print. This single photo gave me the accuracy I needed, but this direct referencing was a novel approach for me, and it was a surprisingly tricky challenge to make the landscape my own without my usual freedom to alter reality. Changing the way that I worked from my photos shook me up and pushed me into a new creative place. I am used to setting myself ever more inventive ways of working with my inks and presses, but this simple challenge was very effective. Try changing your information gathering process, I guarantee it’ll be interesting.

ABOVE Laura Boswell, Ribblehead, linocut, 55x30cm


£1,000 OF ART MATERIALS Unleash your true drawing potential as FABER-CASTELL celebrates the launch of the world’s first 14B graphite pencil Never should the power of the humble pencil be underestimated. It is so often the first thing an artist reaches for, the go-to tool is the starting point for many a masterpiece, and one brand who understands the importance of the right pencil is Faber-Castell. Founded in 1761, Faber-Castell is the world’s oldest pencil manufacturer, yet it continues to be an innovator in the field. This autumn, the leading German brand launches the first ever 14B graphite pencil and Artists & Illustrators has teamed up with them to offer three lucky readers the chance to win a set of these groundbreaking pencils, as part of a bundle of top-quality drawing materials worth more than £300 each. The 14B pencil is part of the new Pitt Graphite Matt range, but Faber-Castell doesn’t solely specialise in graphite. Fine artists love their world-renowned coloured

pencils, versatile watercolour pencils, top-quality marker pens and vibrant pastel crayons, while there are ranges for children, technical drawing and fine writing too. With sustainability, creativity and quality at the core of its customer-centric approach, it’s no wonder artists return to Faber-Castell time and time again.

THE PRIZES Three winners, chosen at random, will each win a bundle of Faber & Castell products worth £332.72 each, consisting of: •Tin of 11 Pitt Graphite Matt pencils and accessories •Tin of 60 Polychromos Colour Pencils •Tin of 60 Pitt Pastel Pencils •Wallet of six Pitt Artist Pens (black) •A3 160gsm Sketch Pad (40 Sheets) •A4 160gsm Sketch Pad (40 Sheets)


Postcode: Email: Telephone: The closing date for entries is noon on 1 October 2021. Please tick if you are happy to receive relevant information from The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd. via email , post or phone or Faber-Castell via email

HOW TO ENTER Enter by noon on 1 October 2021 at competitions or fill in the form and return it to Faber-Castell Prize Draw, Artists & Illustrators, Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd., Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ

TERMS AND CONDITIONS Prizes are non-transferable. No cash alternatives are available. For the full terms and conditions, please visit

Artists & Illustrators 25

James McNeill Whistler ART HIS TO RY

OPPOSITE PAGE Sketch for 'The Balcony', 186770, oil on panel, 61x48cm

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ames McNeill Whistler was an American artist, trained in Paris and famed for his London nocturnes, yet his connections to Scotland ran surprisingly deep. He only visited the country once as a teenager, yet he was embraced as one of their own. The Glasgow Boys called him “The Master” and petitioned for the Corporation of Glasgow to buy his Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, becoming the first public collection to own Whistler's work. The University of Glasgow, meanwhile, gave him an honorary doctorate and is now home to the world’s largest public display of the artist’s work, comprising 80 oil paintings and more than 1,700 works on paper, as well as almost 300 artworks made by his late wife Beatrix, all thanks to a bequest from his sister-in-law Rosalind. The origin of these Celtic connections is the subject of one of Whistler’s most famous paintings, Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1: Portrait of the Artist’s Mother. Anna Matilda McNeill Whistler was born in North Carolina, yet also had Scottish ancestry, being descended from the Highland McNeills of Barra. “[James] would accentuate these aspects of

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his lineage for exotic effect after becoming an expatriate,” wrote his biographer, Lisa N Peters. That maternal portrait was painted while Whistler was living with his mother in London’s Chelsea. Although it is now celebrated as a “Victorian Mona Lisa”, it came narrowly close to being refused by the Royal Academy of Art’s annual exhibition in 1872, apparently on the grounds of it being presented as an “arrangement” not a portrait. Nevertheless, it was a sign that the artist’s focus was shifting. Born on 11 July 1834, James Abbott McNeill Whistler approached his early work with the precision of a railroad engineer’s son. His Parisian studies officially took place at the atelier of Marc Gleyre and the Ecole Impériale, though in truth he learnt as much making copies of Old Masters paintings in the Louvre that he sold to pay his way. He picked up Rembrandt’s fondness for impasto marks and

heavy shadows, while also bonding over a love of Courbet and Corot with the fellow artists Henri Fantin-Latour and Alphonse Legros in what they called the “Society of Three”. After settling in London, the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti was among the regular guests to the Whistler house and the influence of that artist and his fellow Pre-Raphaelites had already been evident in the American painter’s breakthrough work, Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl. It was famously rejected by both London’s Royal Academy and the Paris Salon, yet it emerged alongside another enduring masterpiece, Manet’s Déjeuner sur l'herbe, at the Salon des Refusés, a Napoleon IIIsponsored exhibition of rejects. In calling his works “harmonies”, “arrangements”, “variations” and “symphonies”, Whistler was adopting the language of music to describe his art. These experiments clearly

Like the ver y best of artists, James Mc Neill Whistler had no time to wait for the world to catch up


By treating his portraits as “arrangements” and his landscapes as fields of colour, the American artist was ahead of his time, as STEVE PILL explains


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LEFT Sea and Sand: Domburg, 1900, watercolour on paper, 21x13cm

excited the American artist, even if his contemporaries struggled to share his vision. Speaking of his Nocturne: Grey and Gold, Westminster Bridge, now part of Glasgow’s Burrell Collection, Whistler asserted that this muted piece of abstract painting was less about the realities of the scene and more the sensation of colour itself. “All I know is that my combination of grey and gold is the basis of the picture,” he said, noting sadly that this was also “precisely what my friends cannot grasp”. One contemporary who was attuned to his exploratory works was composer Claude Debussy, who took inspiration for his three-movement Nocturnes from Whistler’s paintings of the same name. The Frenchman said his piece was “an experiment in the different combinations that can be obtained from one colour – what a study in grey would be in painting,” yet the American artist remained more alive to the subtle repetitions of hues in his own Nocturnes. “The same colour ought to appear in the picture continually here and there, in the same way that a thread appears in an embroidery,” he wrote in a letter to Fantin-Latour. As part of Rosalind’s bequest, the university received a vast collection of correspondence and art materials, including brushes, paintboxes and even paints, from ornately-topped pots of Newman’s “Luminous Body Colour” to tubes of oil pigment from Düsseldorf’s Dr Franz Schoenfeld – the founder of Lukas. A selection of these will be on display as part of the Hunterian Art Gallery’s new exhibition, Whistler: Art and Legacy. Although dried up, these artefacts provide a tangible connection to an artist who made his best paintings some 150 years ago, while also offering insight into his methods. We can discern, for example, that Whistler’s watercolour palette included Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Vermilion, Cobalt Blue, Antwerp Blue and Chinese White – the latter an opaque colour often used for highlights. (He often bought 28 Artists

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In calling works “arrangements” and “symphonies” , Whistler was adopting the language of mu sic to describe his art materials from L Cornelissen & Son, a historic London art shop seemingly unchanged today.) His oil palette closely followed those of the Old Masters, including Venetian Red, Cobalt Blue and the earth colours, while eschewing modern pigments made fashionable by the Impressionists as he claimed that they would “spoil” his pictures. Perhaps more so than any other aspect of his practice, Whistler’s watercolours speak of the direction in which his work might have taken had he not succumbed, at the age of 69, to the ill-health that had plagued his life. During the 1880s, he presented three solo exhibitions devoted to his watercolours, and he was proud of his increasingly expressive technique

– each was framed and presented like an oil painting. Critics at the time were unmoved, with one noting that while these works were “eminently clever and effective jottings”, they were also “the kind of things which artists do not usually exhibit”. Whistler persevered and one of the last works in the new Glasgow show reveals just how far he was willing to push things in that respect. Sea and Sand: Domburg was painted in the summer of 1900, during a stay with an artist friend in the Dutch resort. It could be crudely dismissed as another “jotting” yet to do so would ignore the sheer economy of marks with which it was rendered. There is almost no detail here, as Whistler makes good on his regular

exhortations to his students to embrace simple designs, tonal harmony and economy of marks. The beach is a wider continuous application, while the North Sea is conjured from an accumulation of washes, like the waves themselves. In fact, if you omit those figures, you are left with three distinct bands of colour, like a vast Rothko colour field painting some 50 years ahead of its time. Whistler had been toying with similar, simplified portrait-format landscapes for at least 35 years, though Sea and Sand: Domburg is more pared back even than his early oil studies from the beach at Trouville. Like the very best of artists, Whistler had no time to wait for the world to catch up. As the new exhibition at the Hunterian will no doubt underline, his greatest legacy is having opened the door to a world of ideas to which almost every artist, working in the 20th century and beyond, owes a debt. Whistler: Art and Legacy runs until 31 October at the Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow. whistlerartandlegacy

ABOVE Battersea Reach from Lindsey Houses, 1864, oil on canvas, 51x76cm

Artists & Illustrators 29

1 Tangled Up

In Blue II’s title references a Bob Dylan song 2 Michele

relaxes in her home studio in Rehoboth, MA





Poirier-Mozzone The American artist behind a series of mesmerising underwater paintings talks to REBECCA BRADBURY about the joy of finding the perfect subject and the perils of pool photography


ave you ever stopped to wonder what water means to you? Maybe it evokes memories of summers spent by the sea. Perhaps its unpredictable ebbs and flows induces a fearsome awe. Or an immense gratitude for its restorative powers could come to mind. According to Michele PoirierMozzone – for whom water represents life and the passing of time – the interest is universal, but the reasons are unique. And after nine years of

depicting the element in pastel and oil for her in-demand Fractured Light series, the Massachusetts-based artist can be considered an authority on the element. “Water means so many different things to different people,” she explains, putting the success of her underwater paintings down to the subject’s ubiquitous appeal. Yet this modest reasoning gives little credit to her keen eye for colour, compositional finesse and expressive mark making, which balances

wonderfully between abstraction and realism. With vivacious, joyful hues (including a seemingly never-ending spectrum of blues), iridescent clusters of bubbles, and ripples of water so magical they move, not to mention the hypnotic distortion of the human form, the resulting artworks are impossible to take your eyes off. The idea for the series came about one summer afternoon, back in 2012, while Michele watched her youngest daughter play in the pool in their backyard. “It was late in the day

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It’s worth taking the time to determine what I want to say... I can be freer to paint if I’ve done my homework f irst and the sun was casting these ribbons of light down through the water onto her and she was all distorted,” recalls the artist. “It was one of those moments of realisation that she was growing and changing more quickly than I often notice.” This would be a turning point for the artist. After graduating with a fine art degree from Boston’s Emmanuel College in 1986, Michele continued to paint as a hobby while raising her young family. Around 12 years ago, with more spare time on her hands, she began to take art more seriously again. The only problem was finding a subject matter that she could transform into a series – until that fateful afternoon in her garden. Now Michele is a full-time artist, continuing to work on the Fractured Light series from her home studio in Rehoboth, a town located 50 miles south of Boston. The pool remains in place and her (now grown-up) children continue as her models, yet her method of acquiring the reference material has adapted over the years. “I started off using a regular camera from above the water,” she explains. “Then I put my cell phone in a waterproof case and tried to take photos, but that was very disappointing. The results were not good at all. Then I got a GoPro [waterproof action camera], and I can actually put the camera underwater at all different angles.” “I don’t know what I’m taking until I upload it onto my computer,” she adds. “It takes a lot of footage to get that one particular shot that can make a good composition and a powerful painting, but the GoPro has really opened up the world to me underwater.” Once uploaded, Michele will sift through the footage frame by frame on the hunt for the perfect shot. 32 Artists

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3 After this, she tends to use the digital illustration app Procreate on her iPad to experiment with the layout and colour palette. This is a key part of the process for Michele: “I feel it’s worth taking the time to determine what exactly I want to say and how I want to say it. I can be freer as I start to paint if I’ve done my homework first.” This inclination for a looser approach is, in fact, one of the main reasons the subject initially stood out. As light is refracted through the water, warping the way objects and their reflections appear, there is a lot of scope for abandoning the rules of realism. “It’s part of that abstraction process I really enjoy,” she says of depicting these bodily distortions. “I like the figure, but I don’t like getting too tight, so the distorted part of the piece is the really fun, icing on

the cake as I get to play with colour and shapes and manipulate the composition to move the eye around [the painting].” The chance to experiment with colour is another major draw. No two paintings in the series contain the same combinations or mixes, as Michele strives to switch it up each time. And despite the multitude of blues in her final works, the artist achieves this with just three go-to pigments – Phthalo, Ultramarine and Prussian Blues – as well as a much-loved Cobalt Turquoise. There is, of course, the vibrant swimwear too – a colour choice the artist often delays: “I tend to hold off a little while before I decide what colour I pop into the swimsuit, as it’s whatever I need in that composition. Sometimes I’ll try three or four different colours for a swimsuit

3 The colours

are planned on an iPad first for work like Stretch 4 Cobalt

Turquoise was a favourite for Purify


and then come upon something that really works.” A similar trial-and-error approach is involved when depicting the play of light, whether it’s reflecting off the water’s mutating surface, illuminating the pool’s hidden depths, or casting otherworldly blue patterns. The ephemeral effect that ensues makes this probably the hardest element to replicate. Michele recommends laying down the darks first, the mid-tones second and leaving the lightest lights until the very end, although she admits that this process can’t always be relied upon. “I don’t have a formula,” she says. “Sometimes I really struggle achieving that look of glow and light, and other times it just seems to evolve as the painting evolves and I don’t have to do much apart from lighten it up and then it’s done.” The theme of transformation is always near, not least in how the series has developed since its inception. In line with Michele’s own goals, she’s now at ease with the looseness she once coveted, adding in lost edges and leaving parts of the underpainting showing through. The motivation – originally the


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5 Michele

takes reference photos on her GoPro camera 6 Sunflower

is part of the Fractured Light series of works



depiction of her three girls – has also shifted. It’s now less about the personal, as she seeks to confront a more universal human experience. But the biggest change has to be swapping pastels for oil paints. Working in a new medium for the past four years has added a whole other dimension – literally – as the artist can now work on a much larger scale. “If you’re holding a small pastel, you can’t get a big, wide swathe of colour as easily as you can with a big palette knife or brush,” she says. “I’ve been loving going bigger and just having fun with layering on the paint, like icing a cake. It’s just added a different element to the series for me.” It wasn’t a totally smooth substitution, however. The aim was to achieve an element of continuity in the series but replicating the same

I don’t see myself getting more representational… If anything, I would go a bit more abstract effect in oil paint proved harder than anticipated. The best method was eventually discovered as simply copying her previous steps. So just as Michele begins a pastel artwork by laying down a red underpainting, she opts for the same hue when working in oil paint. The next step is to then put her chosen blue mix into action and so on, ensuring there is a harmony to the series and, at times, making it difficult to detect what medium has been used. Having made these transitions, the burning question is where will

Fractured Light go next? “I certainly don’t see myself getting more representational,” she replies. “If anything, I think I would go a little bit looser, a little bit more abstract.” But the most pressing concern is that now her daughters have grown up and aren’t around so much, the artist is running extremely low on reference material. Let’s hope they return home soon for a photoshoot so we can enjoy more of Michele’s uplifting, optimistic and ever-engaging underwater artworks.

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Celebrating 25 years of safer solutions for artists


o celebrate our 25 years as fine art materials manufacturers, we at Zest-it decided to add 25 new products to our range. We have accomplished this, however, the main product of which we are very proud is our beautiful, handmade Zest-it Cold Wax Paint. Many people had asked us about a Cold Wax Paint, or equivalent, which could be used with painting knives and brushes, making it suitable for painting traditional-style landscapes, instead of abstracts, using the oil painting tools and equipment they already owned. In the process, Cold Wax has clearly evolved from the traditional additive for oil painting to a media in its own right. The development of this product started almost 10 years ago, more for my personal use in oil painting than as a retail product. Much experimentation and research, via trials and tests, has been carried out to achieve the final, elegant, new paint product. Our paints are made by hand, using techniques and methods we have developed at Zest-It. The paint consists of a similar formula to our very popular Cold Wax Painting Medium with the addition of high-quality, pure, single pigment colours, many of which are natural pigments, chosen for their attributes and suitability for use with wax. All of the Cold Wax Paints are archival, have excellent lightfastness, and retain the inherent character of the wax. The translucent quality of the wax is maintained because there are no fillers or extenders to compromise the quality. All the paint colours are intermixable, and, like the rest of our Zest-it products, they are also non-toxic and non-flammable. The colour chart opposite shows the 25 celebratory hues which are: Stone White, Primrose Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow, Saffron Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Ruby Orange, Brick Red, Dark Red, Pillarbox Red, Rose Red, Peacock Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Indigo Blue, Racing Green, Cadmium Green, Ultramarine Violet, Burnt Umber, Natural Umber, Burnt Sienna, Paynes Grey, Graphite Black, Soot Black and Iron Black. These are the 25 colours to start the celebration, with a Silver as a limited-edition Anniversary colour and another 15 colours to come before the end of the year. To facilitate the application of our Zest-it Cold Wax Paint with brushes and painting knives in a more traditional manner, we developed two wax mediums. These give far more versatility to the paint and benefit any artist who wishes to obtain a wider range of brush marks and a unique style. It also negates the use of any type of oil paint and reduces the need for solvents. The new Zest-it Cold Wax Detail Medium, when mixed with the Cold Wax Paint, makes the paint easier to apply using typical oil painting brushes. This medium keeps the characteristics of the wax, allowing for more versatility and painterly brushstrokes. The new Zest-it Cold Wax Liquifying Medium, when mixed with the Cold Wax Paint, makes the paint thin enough for line work, but retains body. This medium thins the paint enough for use with a rigger or liner brush. The existing Zest-it Cold Wax Painting Medium, can be used to, in effect, “thicken” the paint for more pronounced knife work, thereby giving texture and a tactile finish to the surface. All three mediums therefore broaden the possibilities for the artist using Cold Wax Paint. Historically, wax has been painted on many surfaces, both flexible and rigid; providing there is some absorbency and tooth to the surface, the wax can live a good life. We have sought expertise to produce our “Paper for Cold Wax” pads. The papers are acid free, wood free and available as a NOT surface 300gsm in black or white in A3 and A4 sizes – very suitable surfaces for painting with Cold Wax Paint. The Cold Wax Paint, the new mediums, and the papers will be available from your normal retail shop or online.

Enjoy the experience! Jacqui Blackman Director of Zest-it

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Zest-it Cold Wax Paints are archival, have excellent lightfastness, and retain the inherent character of the wax



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38 Artists

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PORTRAITS Inspired by “reckless” Expressionist painters, TERENCE CLARKE shows how working quickly and pushing false colours can add impact to a portrait

Terence's materials •Brushes Rosemary & Co. Ivory filberts, sizes 2, 3 and 4; Rosemary & Co. Ivory round, size 1 •Paints Medium Magenta, CadmiumFree Yellow Light and Hansa Yellow Light, both Liquitex Soft Body Acrylics; Quinacridone Magenta, Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), Ultramarine Blue, Manganese Blue Hue and Yellow Ochre, all Golden Open Acrylics; Vermilion Hue, Titanium White and Process Black, all Daler-Rowney System3 Acrylics •Canvas Honsell stretched cotton canvas, 100x100cm •Brush Pens Sennelier Ink Brush pen, Intense Green •Water mister


erman Expressionism was an early 20th-century art movement characterised by bold colours and marks. Taking inspiration from Henri Matisse and Vincent van Gogh, Expressionist artists such as Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Alexej von Jawlensky are good examples of portrait painters working in Germany at that time. Often much cruder in style and bolder in application, these painters developed an almost reckless attitude toward portraiture where colour was used for emotional impact, using vivid notation. For this masterclass, I wanted to try and emulate some of the portrait techniques of these artists. I wanted to use colour with a very non-realist emphasis as they did to see just how far it could be pushed in that respect. I worked from life and then developed the image as I went, using colour as a substitute for the actual tones observed in front of me. It was a risky business and had to be done with a confident, no-turning back attitude. The whole session took about three hours. A good bold structured drawing gave me some security but then it was a question of just jumping in. Working from life helped as I needed to look at the subject more than the painting. I simply had to trust that the actual image was developing in an intelligible

way. After all, it was the painting quality rather than an absolute likeness I was after. In a way, I made a picture, rather than a portrait in the usual sense. It’s important that you work at a ferocious pace with this kind of painting, in order to get the spontaneity of mark and instinctive approach to colour and tone. Nevertheless, I hope this masterclass serves as an example of just how far you can take colour, even in portraiture. It really is an adventure.

ORIGINAL PHOTO Artists & Illustrators 39



S et t hin g s up

I sat the model in a corner of the studio so I could control a simple light effect on her face. I’m left-handed so I positioned the model on my right. This meant that I had an “open” body position whenever I turned to address the subject, fully facing her. When working from life you should try to avoid looking over your arm as this will tend to make you turn away from the subject and make you look less at it. I added a first dilute wash across the entire canvas, a mix of Vermilion and Yellow Ochre, which I then left to dry.



D raw o ut in p en

I used an Intense Green ink brush pen to start drawing out the composition. Using a brush pen rather than a traditional brush meant that I didn’t have to keep loading up with paint every few strokes. This enabled me to draw fast and continuously on the canvas, which again helped to keep my focus and attention on the model, rather than the surface of the painting.

Int r o du ce s t r u c t ur e

Here you can see how the explosive vermilion-and-ochre underpainting really set the scene and allowed me to attack the painting fearlessly. A strong base colour encourages bolder decisions later on. You can see too how my drawing is structured around areas of tone on the nose and around the eyes. It helps to keep the drawing bold and heavy at this point, rather than going into too much detail – a strong, defined line allows the structural drawing to hold up as the looser paint is applied.

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B e gin w it h colo ur

The first colours I applied were Medium Magenta and Hansa Yellow Light. Right from the start I was using bright, bold colours to define tones and structure. The marks can also be quite bold and the carefully-drawn shapes of the tonal areas help to describe the form. The correct tone in any colour would work but these warm red-yellow colours suggest flesh tones to some extent.



Work over t h e draw in g

As I worked into the face the initial drawing started to disappear, which is why it had to be so bold and accurate. Brushstrokes and colour contrasts will inevitably loosen the structure, but this can be reaffirmed with subsequent passages of drawing later in the painting. It’s very important you don’t try to protect the drawing too much and inhibit your application of colour.


B lo ck in colo ur s

As I blocked in the main tones and colours, I was not blending them so much as juxtaposing them with one another. This approach allowed the paint marks the freedom to be expressive and also helped me to describe the forms. I also started to block in the background which added space and volume to the head. Defining the space behind the model implied space too.

Top tip

If you want to use “false” colours, the trick is to ensure they have a similar tonal value to the observed colours


Work ab s t ra c tly

This close-up shows how essentially abstract the painting is. The background and the head should work together in a painting such as this, giving equal prominence to one another. The colour harmonies caused by integrating the purples and yellows into the form are beginning to develop here too. Harmonising the colours of the background with the colours of the face is key to unifying the whole image.


Ke ep it f luid

Whenever I use acrylics, I always keep a water mister spray bottle to hand and use it to keep the paint wet in areas while I’m manipulating it. You can use it on the paints on your palette too if you need to take a break. In hot or dry atmospheres it’s very useful for keeping things fluid and workable. If you need to articulate a complex area of detail, just spritz the canvas with water to keep the paint damp and workable.

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Rev is e t h e draw in g

As a painting develops, it’s always necessary to redraw some of the structure. The eyes, for example, will almost always need to be painted several times because they are such a complex area. I used a very fine, size one synthetic brush here to give me fine control. Every painting needs at least one revision of the drawing. Any mistakes or inaccuracies can be ironed out at this point to stop you incorporating them into the more fully-finished painting. You can also refine the forms with some thinner line drawing.


Lo o s en up

The hair could be left as very loose painting, even though the overall shape of it needed to be accurate. I was partially inventing the background to create space and unite the face with the rest of the painting. You can also see clearly defined marks of colour on the cheek that I left unblended and allowed to work as a tone that described the form. The broader application gives a more Expressionist feel. 42 Artists

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D evelop s ubt le colo ur s

Here you can see how all the elements of the painting began to come together: the colour harmonies, the redrawing and the small adjustment to the eyes. Note that the “whites” of the eyes were in fact a shade of turquoise and there is an accumulation of small touches of colour around the nose and cheek which push the colour harmonies further. These complexities develop subtlety in the colour.


Finish up

Here you can see again how unblended and unnatural colour works to suggest something realistic. It is left to the viewer to construct the information in their heads, which in turn helps people engage with your work. The extremes of colour and contrast can be said to represent what I was looking for in terms of an expressive encounter. Remember, there are no rules with this way of working, only an intuitive freedom and intent to use extreme colour to give an emotional impact to the image.

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Bristlene Available through all good retailers Bristlene is a fully synthetic version of a traditional Hog or Bristle brush, designed for Oil and Heavy Acrylic painting. Joining the ‘Prolene’ and ‘Sablene’ stable, this is a brush that fulfils its brief superbly. The brushes contain a variety of filaments of different grades and natural hues to give a pleasing bristle look-a-like whilst performing in a truly magnificent way. The bend and spring that the fibres exude and the sharpness of point and edge allow precise control. All in all, they are a joy to use and a sight to behold! It’s another breakthrough for animal lovers and it takes bristle brushes to a whole new level. Development continues and we are always looking at new opportunities, so be sure to follow us on social media. Here you can discover more about what we already do, while being kept fully informed about brand new products.

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Artists & Illustrators 43


1. The Basics

JAKE SPICER’S new six-part series will show you how to represent a sense of space in your work. He begins with an exercise to help you identify when to use the five basic principles


ention perspective in a drawing class and the attention of students vanishes faster than two straight lines converging on a horizon line, but the principles of depth are about much more than the strictures of technical drawing. To paraphrase the Royal Academy’s former Professor of Perspective, Humphrey Ocean, perspective describes how we look at the world around us. We exist in three dimensions whereas paintings, drawings and prints exist in two; by engaging with the principles that govern how we perceive space on the surface of paper, we can learn to see the world around us with fresh eyes. In this new six-part series examining the principles of depth, I’ll be looking at how we can better perceive and represent space in the world around us, touching upon – but not limited to – the viewpoint of linear perspective. I’ll also be exploring how you can use an understanding of depth to inform the choices you make in your images, deciding when to use visual cues to suggest depth and when to make choices that serve the composition and narrative of your pictures. In this article I’ll be taking a broader look at the three major principles of depth – diminution, atmospheric perspective, detail – and the two sub-categories of foreshortening and linear perspective, before tackling each one of the five in more depth in the subsequent issues.

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1a. Diminution The principle of diminution is simple: as an object moves further away from the viewer, it appears smaller. We use our innate understanding of this every day: we know a person walking along the street is coming towards us if they seem to be getting bigger or walking away if they’re becoming smaller. The challenge of accurately representing diminution is the same one that effects all observational drawing: you must put aside what you know in favour of what you see. Diminution helps us to tell the story of a view seen from a single vantage point, so although you might have walked past three palm trees earlier and know that they are all roughly the


same height, you must also trust your observation that from this perspective the nearest tree appears more than twice the height of the distant one.

1b. Foreshortening Foreshortening is simply diminution applied to a single subject. This means that an object seen along your line of sight will appear more compacted than one seen across your line of sight. If you imagine cross-sections cut through a log of a consistent thickness, each more distant section will appear smaller than the last. Whether it’s a log or a figure, we look at objects through the lens of our subjective experience and how we think it should look will fight our


observation of how it actually appears from a specific angle. The more extreme the angle, the more extreme the foreshortening – and the more that knowledge fights expectations.

1c. Linear perspective Linear perspective is also a form of diminution and provides us with an illusory framework for creating a convincing illusion of the world, mimicking the perceived convergence of parallel lines over great distance. The top and bottom edges of a rectangular window are separated by straight sides of equal height – seen at an angle, one side of a window is further from our viewing position than the other side and so appears smaller, making the top edges appear closer together. If you extended the top and bottom edges over a longer distance those parallel edges would eventually disappear at your eyeline. You can use the rule of perceived convergence to help you construct convincing imaginary worlds on paper, or to create a scaffolding on which to hang your observations. While it can be comforting to tame the bottomless white of a blank page with the guard rails of linear perspective, it is a tool best suited to the depiction of the designed world, which humans have arranged in a more geometric fashion. By contrast, the natural world presents us with far fewer parallel lines, so depth in natural landscapes should often be implied through other means.

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2. Atmospheric perspective Atmospheric perspective describes the distortion of light by particles in the air. It is the effect that causes the colours of distant mountains to tend towards blue-grey and which makes skyscrapers appear increasingly spectral as they recede into smog. A lifetime of visual cues has trained us to subconsciously recognise a decrease in tonal distinction, a tendency towards a mid-tone and a shift of hue towards blue as implying greater distance, allowing artists to employ the same visual devices to suggest depth in pictorial space of any size.

3. Detail The perception of detail is the third distinct category of depth and one which is often overlooked because it seems so very obvious – the further away something is, the less detail we can see in it. In a consistent, detailed plane – for example, grass, pebbles, or seaweed-covered rocks – we tend to see the nuance and complexity of the near ground, giving way to repeating shapes and patterns as it recedes. 46 Artists

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Transcribing depth In representational art, the principles of depth must be balanced with considerations of composition and colour scheme; even abstract paintings borrow from our ingrained understanding of depth, with blues and mid-tones appearing to sit “behind” warm colours and areas of greater tonal variety. For this exercise, I want you to make drawings of other artists’ works. Alongside these studies, make notes in your sketchbook about which principles of depth have been employed to create the illusions of space and which have been reversed or manipulated to flatten the image or support the composition. This will help you train your eye to identify which principles are required to achieve various results. Next month: Jake explores distance and scale. Jake’s new book, Figure Drawing, is published by Ilex Press. To save £9 off the cover price, see our reader offer on page 10.

Drawing of Gustav Klimt’s Orchard with Roses While drawing from Orchard with Roses, I noticed that while Klimt implied depth through the diminishing size and detail of flowers, he also subverted our expectations of atmospheric perspective by employing the greatest tonal contrasts in the distant top third of the canvas and allowing the foreground to tend towards a mid-tone. This push and pull keeps the image simultaneously representational and flat.

Drawing of Dame Paula Rego’s The Cadet and his Sister Dame Paula Rego often subverts diminution in her work, re-sizing characters in a scene in relation to their importance or the order in which she wants you to look at them. In The Cadet and his Sister, she nodded to depth with a corridor of diminishing trees leading to a vanishing point, while painting them without the cues of detail or atmospheric perspective that re-enforce their recession. This gave them the appearance of a flat, theatrical backdrop rather than a depiction of illusory depth.

Drawing of Vilhelm Hammershøi’s From the British Museum, Winter Vilhelm Hammershøi’s painting provided me with a textbook example of all of the principles of depth acting together to imply physical distance. Atmospheric perspective placed one less tonally distinct building behind another, re-enforced by increased detail in the windows of the nearest building and in the section of railing which recedes away from us in accordance with the principles of linear perspective.

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Bring the colour! A DV E R T O R I A L

DERWENT’s two new paint pan sets – Pastel Shades and Line and Wash – are perfect for on-the-go artists to sketch and paint the world around them

D Artwork by Abby Nurre

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erwent’s Pastel Shades Paint Pan Set is a collection of 12 uniquely formulated shades that celebrate the persistent pastel colour trend. These paint pans are unique in that they are a gouache-style pigmented product within a palette formulation. The soft, playful colours build up in thick, opaque layers, allowing the colour to dry as a bright, matte finish. These dreamy, contemporary shades can also

be applied in light washes for a pretty and light finish with a slight opacity to it.

Popular hues The versatile Pastel Shades Paint Pan Set (RRP £25) is perfect for professional illustrators and hobby painters alike. Derwent conducted focus groups with many artists and feedback has been very positive with the paints being described as soft, yet vibrant on the page. Artists felt that


pastel hues are missing from so many palettes and so this set fills that gap. With that in mind, Derwent worked with Abby Nurre to develop the packaging illustration. Abby is an accomplished watercolour artist, who tends to use light, refreshing colours in her animal paintings.

Versatile application Derwent’s uniquely formulated Pastel Shades Paint Pans can be used with

Derwent’s Inktense or Metallic paint sets to create an array of dramatic effects. This compact, self-contained set contains 12 pastel paint pans, a mini waterbrush, five mixing palettes and a sponge to clean your waterbrush, making it ideal for urban sketching and on-location art. Buy Derwent’s new Pastel Shades and Line and Wash Paint Pan Sets today from select art retailers or directly from

Paint your world

Artwork by Jedidiah Dore

Derwent’s Line and Wash Paint Pan Set (RRP £30) allows artists to sketch and paint the world around them. This compact, curated collection contains versatile greys and blacks along with highly pigmented colours, perfect for urban sketchers, landscape painters and illustrators on the go. The Line and Wash Paint Pan Set includes six of Derwent’s most loved Inktense colours. These paints can be dissolved for subtle washes or unlike traditional watercolour, washes of vivid Inktense paint can be applied without dissolving previously dried layers. Four Graphitint colours provide muted tones and the set is completed with two neutral lighter shades. The two black Line Maker pens, featuring the finest quality 0.3mm and 0.8mm Japanese nibs, are perfect for versatile linework. For the packaging illustration, Derwent wanted to work with an artist who specialises in urban sketching, so they chose New York-based artist Jedidiah Dore. In his painting of Times Square, Jedidiah was able to explore real perspective with the Line Makers.

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Making Marks ALAN MCGOWAN continues his series on expressive anatomy with a focus on the hand and how directional marks can improve your drawings


ands are an important and expressive part of figure art. In portraiture they are often as expressive as the face, and are capable of many varied actions, configurations and poses. They can also be the part of the figure we love to draw – or the one we most avoid. Understanding the anatomy of the hands can influence how we use our materials, and the direction and emphasis of mark making, to help us create more interesting and persuasive representations of them. Anatomy gives us insights into how the body is structured in space and how forms meet, overlap and wrap around one another, which can be helpful when drawing. However, it must be recognised that a knowledge of anatomy is not the answer to all of our challenges. Life drawing is a fascinating journey of exploration, not something to be ended with an easy, one-size-fits-all solution. The complex negotiation with subject, with our materials, and with our own creative intentions is what makes drawing the figure constantly interesting; it is an exchange which is expressive partly because of its elusive qualities. Anatomy is to some extent the acquisition of – and application of – knowledge, which I would argue expands our possibilities in drawing.

Nevertheless, we should be careful to also incorporate other elements that form part of our perceptions and should inform our pictures too. It is important to keep a place for what we don’t know – for uncertainty, ambiguity, mystery, suggestion – and for the ability of the model to keep surprising us as if seen anew every time. Our knowledge of anatomy therefore becomes one part of a negotiation with the other aspects of the subject and of picture making – elements such as ambiguity, shadow, line, colour, tone, gesture and so on. It can also contribute as a participating partner to the other things we might consider; to the way colours subtly change and merge; to the way the brush goes down; to the way shadows might dissolve and destroy form; to act as a kind of foundation upon which to build, one that can have an effect on the way we use our techniques and materials. Anatomy informs the feelings we have as artists for the relationship of forms in space as they meet, turn, overlap, recede or project. This in turn can be helpful in influencing the kind of marks that we might put down, the emphasis that we place on them, and the direction of mark-making we may use to help explain and represent the movement of these forms.

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Planes of the Hand When we come to represent the hand, it is useful to think of it as being structured around four main planes bounded by three important margins (or axes). The important planes are the forearm (shown in yellow on the drawing on the right); the metacarpals, which are the five bones we would think of as the palm or back of the hand (red); the fingers (blue); and the unit of the thumb (green). In placing these main planes, the axes to which we would want to pay particular attention are at the wrist (A), the knuckles (B), and the arc of the ends of the fingers (C). Note that the finger plane (in blue) can be quite complex given the possible range of movement of the fingers, but it is useful to conceive of the fingers as if in a mitt, working together as a simple unit in the first instance, before thinking about the arrangement of individual fingers. Having roughly established this


simple structure, we can move on to more complex and detailed forms. Anatomy of the Hand Many of the muscles acting upon the hand lie outside of it on the forearm, and transmit their actions via long tendons that cross the wrist to the hand and fingers. On the back (dorsal) side of the hand these are extensor


Palm of the Hand: Surface Landmarks 1 Flexor tendons may appear at the wrist (especially if the hand is flexed or gripping) 2 The concave bowl of the palm is created by the raised masses of muscle of the thenar and hypothenar groups 3 In full extension, the middle finger is the longest,

while fingers tend to close starting from the outside in (i.e. the smallest finger first)

Palm of Hand (Palmar)

Radius and Ulna



Thenar group

Hypothenar group




Flexor tendons

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Top tip

simplify It helps to y to think tr – y anatom as four of the hand ne s la p dis tinc t


tendons, and on the palm side flexors. These tendons and the bony forms they run over are visible mainly on the back of the hand, as they are masked on the palmar side covered by a webbing of tendon (the palmar fascia), and thick skin. We have two bones of the lower arm – the radius and the ulna. The bones of the hand fall into three groups – small carpal bones (which we won’t see individually) at the wrist;

the metacarpals (palm or back of hand); and phalanges (finger bones) of which each finger has three, and the thumb has two. The small muscles situated in the hand are organised into three teardrop-shaped masses – the thenar group (which controls the abduction, flexion and opposition of the thumb), the hypothenar (which does the same for the little finger), and the first dorsal interosseous.


Back of the Hand: Surface Landmarks 1 The ulnar styloid is an oft-visible bump at the end of the forearm, near the wrist on the little finger side 2 We have a number of small muscles between the bones of the hand, but these are not visible on the surface apart from the first dorsal interosseous 3 The abductor of the little finger is part of the

hypothenar group 4 The MCP joint takes the form of a diamond or raised pyramid as the extensor tendon crosses over the knuckle

Back of Hand (Dorsal) Radius and Ulna





First dorsal interosseous

Extensor tendons Metacarpals

Abductor of little finger



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CASE STUDY Mark Making

Usually in drawing there is an emphasis on accuracy of placement and proportion, but often less consideration of how things are put there – namely, the way we use our materials and the direction, weight and emphasis of the marks we make. Whilst an understanding of anatomy brings us knowledge about what is going on under the surface of the figure, relying solely on this can lead to drawings which are dull, flat and mechanical. We risk seeing the body as a kind of machine rather than as a living, elusive, vital organism. In order to achieve more sympathetic renderings of the figure 54 Artists

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we may need to leave a space for what is uncertain, suggested and ambiguous, which is also a part of our perception of the world. Two simple things that we could use to help us are varying the direction of our mark making and changing the emphasis we place on edges (more specifically, trying to vary the clarity of these edges in order to suggest the forms moving through space). In the drawing above, notice how the direction of the shading on the upper hand moves around the back of the hand, but the white chalk takes a slightly different direction at the forearm where light falls on the radius and ulnar styloid, helping suggest the change of direction in space.

Similarly, on the lower hand, the depiction of light on the muscles at the ball of the thumb helps to give the sense of a sphere moving round in space and coming towards us. Certain things can be clearly seen – for example, the profile of the MCP joints at the back of the hand shows a definite change from light to shadow, and the hypothenar at the heel of the lower hand catches a little light, bringing it forward from the shadow behind. It is useful to play these defined edges off against others that are less clear – in this instance, the margins between the middle fingers of the upper hand, which are softened by the light, or the heel of that same hand which is lost in shadow.


DEMO Developing Hands


Begin by roughly establishing the four main planes and three main axes, concentrating on their relative proportions and placement.


Think about the smaller planes – the axes of the fingers across the knuckles and the spaces between the fingers.


Move towards more detail in the forms, taking notice of anatomical features and any rhythm or asymmetry. In this example, the MCP joints are raised in bumps, especially at the index finger, while

the plane break at the knuckles effects the little finger slightly differently. Think about the direction of marks as you rough in these forms.


As the image becomes resolved in more detail, concentrate on varying the direction of mark making to echo the changing direction of the forms and varying the kind of emphasis placed on edges. Think about the immediate context too – try to find some edges which are less clear, destroyed either by shadow or in light. Next month: Alan shows how to draw the head, using tone to describe form.

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How to


Positively If you’re struggling for confidence as your painting develops, HASHIM AKIB has some simple strategies to try – and an exercise at the end to put it into practice


ositive painting requires positive thinking – and this generally develops through confidence. If you’re a beginner, improvements often come if you simply draw or paint more. However, as you progress, it is natural to want to tackle more challenging subject matter, pursue your own style, or seek approval from others, all of which can test your fragile confidence levels. I want to begin by sharing some of the ways in which I have developed confidence and a more positive attitude to painting.

1. Stay productive Firstly, contrary to popular belief, you should feel happy about attempting to create any type of art. The idea of the suffering artist is a romantic one. Try to stay productive. Judgements over whether a painting is “good” or “bad” should be secondary to the habit of producing art, as you will learn far more through practical experience. That said, don’t shy away from criticism entirely. Public opinion may be a driving force in your work or you may choose to ignore it completely, but critique is important. Ultimately, art has little to do with definitive answers so remember that you have the final word on the art you produce. 56 Artists

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2. Be prepared Before you start, set out the brushes and paint you need. Turn your phone off, as unnecessary interruptions will disrupt your concentration. The early stages of a painting are when I’m most liberated with marks and colours so it is important to make quick in-roads into a painting. This provides a greater sense of accomplishment and drives the momentum forward.

3. Know your medium I use acrylics and when it comes to positive painting with them, there are a few things to consider beforehand. Acrylic is similar to watercolour in that the more you work the paint, the duller it becomes. The quick drying time makes fussing problematic, while adding too much white to the mix can make the colours look chalky. Knowing the limitations of your chosen medium is important. Try painting with a big brush on a slightly larger canvas or sheet of paper than usual. Both factors will instantly transform how you apply paint and the scope of the marks you use. I use large, fresh applications of acrylic and while they lack the lustre of oils, they can still make artworks look weighty and substantial. Looking back on my older paintings, I like to

see how my confidence blossomed in conjunction with the expression and qualities of paint I began to use.

4. Don’t rely on drawing An initial drawing can provide confidence as it provides a guide, but relying too heavily on it can lock you into a certain finish. Aim for a quick sketch to establish the forms and composition. Creating a mini deadline for each stage will provide a sense of urgency and streamline your thinking. The tendency is the more time you have, the more you dwell and fuss.

5. Make a strategy Creating a strategy in your mind can resolve issues later on. My three-step guide for every painting goes like this: First, I start with the largest brush and create a bit of chaos. Next, I turn to a mid-sized brush and start to indicate forms with a little definition. Finally, I reach for the smallest brushes and chisel out details, ending with the strongest lights and darks. You needn’t follow my lead. You might give yourself some guidelines about the scale, the colours used, or the time taken instead, for example. Whatever you choose, developing your own guide can provide more focus for each painting thereafter.


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PROJECT Positive impact Aim Paint a more complicated subject while maintaining a positive flow of confidence and putting some of our pointers into practice.

Materials •A selection of acrylic paints •A large stretched cotton canvas •Large flat brushes in a range of sizes (1/2” to 2”)

Subject Choose a complicated subject, perhaps one with more detail than you might usually go for. In my example below, I made a fairly detailed painting of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London.

What you will learn This exercise will help develop your confidence and improve your positive thinking when tackling a complicated scene, while also giving a solid foundation for making any painting in acrylics.

Process Begin by making a painted sketch on the canvas. Even though you might rapidly paint over it, this acts as a warm-up exercise and a way to get to know the subject. Start as you mean to go on by dominating the painting, using large expressive marks and plenty of paint. Try to remain liberated and openminded about the marks you’re making. While approximating the overall colour of the subject, allow small amounts of other colours to infiltrate into the mix. Beginning with a bolder palette can stimulate your senses, even if these colours are knocked back later with tints, shades and a certain amount of detail. Simplify what you see by using large brushes initially. Even when painting buildings with multiple straight lines, your aim should be to simply suggest basic structures and harness the positive marks that will provide a contrast against the refined ones later on. Think of details as the humps in the road that slow you down on your way to your final destination. 58 Artists

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Too many of them can kill any positive momentum generated early on, so it is important when working from a photographic reference to get to the point where the painting takes over. To avoid perfection, aim to paint details like windows and doors in a quick, varied way – make some slanted or elongated. Remember that a painting should be your interpretation of a subject and that these quirky representations help break the confines of a photographic image. Large brushes work really well for this and final adjustments can still be made at the end. As you begin to add more information, maintain relatively large quantities of paint on your brush and simply vary the pressure you apply from the wrist as you make your marks. It is easy to hold a brush like a pen or pencil and maintain a constant pressure, whereas more relaxed movements that are the

T t

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allow the odd fleck of a purer colour to streak , through. It’s essential aringly Use white sp s ic not to forego the yl in acr e specially m o fr t positive attitude ac – it can detr s e ix m developed early on for a t confiden safer, more conventional approach as you progress. That said, drawing drains your concentration quicker than anything and so remaining positive after depicting endless windows and doors can be taxing. For a scene like this, reserve your proficient drawing skills for the focal point so that you can loosen up in less important areas to diminish the level of focus they attract. Knowing when to finish a painting and put down the brush is hard. Rather than waiting until you feel exhausted by the process, try to finish on a high, perhaps even with the hallmarks of a good painting come artwork feeling a little under done. with experience. It is important to recognise that Acrylics can be difficult to blend the process was fun while it lasted because of their quick drying time so – and another experience is just try opting for an Impressionistic way around the corner. Even the most of painting and use optical colour mixing (a process of placing individual challenging paintings should feel substantial and energising, not a strokes of colour side by side) to limit slog to the finish line. the number of layers used. Positivity breeds more positivity Once you’ve exhausted pure colour, so aim to make each painting a joyful apply strong tints using large experience from start to finish. quantities of white mixed with colour. Leave things slightly under mixed to

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Painting DEMO

with masking fluid SIÂN DUDLEY shows why we should stop treating masking fluid as a purely protective measure and start seeing it as a medium that offers the freedom to be more expressive 60 Artists

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Siân's materials •Paints Lemon Yellow, Gamboge Hue, Permanent Rose and Sap Green, all Daler-Rowney Artists’ Watercolours; Cobalt Blue and French Ultramarine, both Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolours •Brushes Rosemary and Co. Series 33 round, size 10; Da Vinci Series 35 round, size 4 •Paper 300gsm watercolour paper •Masking fluid •Ruling pen •Colour shaper, size 2


Ma sk your dr aw ing

Masking fluid is often used to simply prevent the paint from reaching a section of the paper, whereas I believe it should be firmly seen as a medium that can be expressive in its own right. I began by drawing up the main flowers, but only marked roughly where the grasses would go. I wanted to retain the white paper for the daisies and clover later, so I painted them with masking fluid. I placed a small drop of masking fluid on each petal with the colour shaper and then used the tip to pull it across the area to be preserved. I took care to manipulate the fluid from the top of the meniscus and not allow the colour shaper to touch the paper.






L ay dow n colour

I wanted to keep the colours fresh so I loosely applied a pink layer first and allowed it to dry. Then working wet-in-wet I applied the other colours, allowing them to blend. The tones should be a little richer than you'd like, as some of this colour will be removed or covered later. Allow uneven tones and even a few cauliflowers, as the variety adds to the richness.


Pr ac ti s e mark s

I looked back at my preparatory sketches and looked for ways of making similar marks with masking fluid. I experimented making those marks with a ruling pen and a colour shaper on

a spare piece of paper. I thinned the masking fluid a little to ease the flow. By altering pressures and angles, I found I was able to make a large range of marks, drawing expressively and confidently with the masking fluid.


D r aw the ma sk

I used masking fluid to draw the rest of the design over the dried paint, while referring to the practice marks made in the last step. I used the colour shaper's side to shade in leaves and the chisel-shaped head to print buds. I used an old toothbrush to spatter masking fluid for frothy grass heads. When it was dry, I rubbed off some of the excess with my finger to leave an

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T t

o p ip

ne lines, To lighten fi eraser with use a putt y ield – er an eras sh rub t n’ do b, da

appropriate shape. Stems were drawn with the ruling pen, altering the width of the nib to give different sizes. I let them cross to form geometric shapes similar to the ones seen in the hedge. I let the rest of the masking fluid dry.


C ar ve out shadow s

I could now fill in these shapes, using the masking fluid as a dam between areas. Within each shape, I worked wet-in-wet, varying colour and tone, carefully painting around flowers and leaves I would define later. Dark shapes represented the shadows in the hedge, while paler, brighter colours represented the unexpected places where sunlight broke through.

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Pull it to gether

When everything was dry, I carefully removed the masking fluid by rubbing it off with my finger. The first layer of paint was revealed and the stems, leaves and flowers I had drawn with masking fluid showed light against the darker background. Although I liked the graphic quality of the drawing as it was, I decided to alter the tones within some of the stems and leaves. I did this gently, rolling a damp size 4 round brush across the drawing, dragging paint from the surrounding areas.


Pick out f lower s

I added detail to the daisy petals by pulling in colour from

the area around each flower. I painted the centres in a bright clear yellow made with Gamboge Hue. I added a few shadows to the grass flowers.


Add f ine detail s

I used the size 4 round brush to paint in the details on the honeysuckle, bramble and clover flowers. Complementing the green background, the reds emphasised the sense of movement and busyness of the hedge. Applying masking fluid in the same way as paint can open up exciting opportunities. It becomes part of the creative process – not for what it prevents, but for what it can do.



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You don’t have to be Picasso to become an artist. All you need is your imagination. In An Artist’s Tale, British author and artist Sue Exton offers a journey into the joy of art. Focusing on the use of watercolour pencils, specifically Inktense, a new collection by Derwent, she shares how to get started creating your own drawings. In this work, she presents a collection of a variety of her drawings from flowers, to landscape, to abstracts. Exton discuses the creation of each piece and gives tips, tricks, advice, and techniques for creating on your own. An Artist’s Tale includes more than sixty colour pictures accompanied by short stories, encouraging people of all ages to pick up a colour pencil and get started scribbling.

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Artists & Illustrators 63


Martin Greenland The former John Moores Painting Prize winner tells STEVE PILL how he creates his imagined landscapes with the help of a limited palette and a close look at Velázquez

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artin was born in Marsden, Yorkshire in 1962. He studied at Lancashire’s Nelson & Colne College before taking a BA in Fine Art (Painting) at Exeter College of Art. Martin moved to Cumbria in the Lake District in 1985 where he has lived and worked ever since. In 2006, his painting Before Vermeer’s Clouds won the prestigious biennial John Moores Painting Prize, following in the footsteps of previous winners such as Euan Uglow and David Hockney. His next solo exhibition runs from 15 September to 1 October at Portland Gallery, London.

You live in the Lake District with great landscapes on your doorstep, yet the subjects of your paintings are largely invented. Why is that? Largely invented, yes, and until fairly recently almost completely invented. I never set off with the intention of doing this, but it was almost to absorb what I’d seen and then to reinterpret it in a way that means most to me, I suppose. There’s always somewhere in the back of my mind, some place of reference that was probably a starting point, and then I allow the composition to develop.

ABOVE Retreat (Maulds Meaburn as a State of Mind), oil on canvas, 61x91cm

Let’s take Whitbarrow from Lindale, across Witherslack Bay as an example. What was the element that kickstarted that painting? With that painting, and quite a number of more recent paintings, there was very much a real landscape as a starting point. I was always interested in what the Lake District might be like if it had clear blue seas and crashing waves, so this painting was a personal indulgence to imagine what that might be like. Whitbarrow is a real place, Lindale is a real place

and Witherslack isn’t a bay, but a little village, so I brought this Mediterranean sea around what is effectively our local landscape to see what it would look like. You studied photography for a while at art school. What part does photographic reference – and the camera in general – play in your work nowadays? I’m very aware of the power of photography. I studied it on my foundation course and [my degree], so I was very aware of what an impact it had on composition. I’ve always tried to avoid photography [in my work] because I wanted to believe that I could actually produce the paintings without the need for it. Lately I have been referring to photographs a little bit, just because I need some specific topographical details, but most of the time I just use drawings if there is a part of the landscape I need to use in the painting. Whitbarrow… was done from drawings and then just using my imagination to see what those places would look like in certain conditions. Do you need a scientific brain as well as an artistic one to work like that? Yes, I think so. The value of understanding the science is really important. Skies, for instance, can be painted successfully by copying a photograph, but if you’re inventing a sky, you need to know how the atmosphere works – different clouds behave in different ways, depending on what time of day or year it is. What part does drawing play in the composition of your paintings? Most of the time now I work straight on the canvas. I don’t produce working sketches or even studies in paint or anything like that because, inevitably, the composition always changes. It would only be a guide anyway. With some of my paintings, I have a fairly strong idea of how I want it to go. Sometimes I have

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ABOVE Whitbarrow from Lindale, Across Witherslack Bay, oil on linen, 61x102cm

no specific idea where the painting will go, and I just quickly whip some marks down and start to see how it goes from there. There’s no pattern to every painting, I have a number of different ways of working. A lot of it is about trying to gently coax an image out without being too pushy with the idea. Do you tend to work on more than one painting at the same time? Yes, the one that develops quickest tends to dominate, but I’ve always got several paintings on the go at the same time. Like all good things,

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one leads onto another and one good painting becomes the catalyst for the next. What does a typical day in the studio look like for you? I tend to work evenings and the early hours – I’m very much a night owl. If it’s going well, I don’t feel like stopping. I don’t have a very strict routine. Sometimes I’ll only come in for an hour or two, sometimes it’s 14 hours of solid work. Tell us about your materials. Do you have favourite brands?

I mostly use Michael Harding and Winsor & Newton oil paints. I was very lucky to be gifted some tubes of paint by the wives of a couple of old painters who sadly died recently. They gave me some wonderful old tubes of Cobalt Blue and Cremnitz White, which is pretty difficult to get hold of now. Cremnitz White is a superb pigment. I use linen canvas predominantly and I always prime it with rabbit-skin glue and oil-based primer, very traditional. I used to make my own stretchers but that took too much time, so I just buy commercially-made


Understanding science is really important… If you’re inventing a sky, you need to know how the atmosphere works usually with an earth colour mixed in to start a painting off, then I add washes of colour in turpentine onto the dry base. As a painting develops, I increase the amount of medium and then the washes become glazes. Do you ever look at other paintings from a technical point of view? Oh yes. I get as close as I can to see how the surface has been developed. That’s where I learn a lot. I remember I so admired Velázquez’s The Waterseller of Seville, I had a small illustration of it. There is a little drop of water running down the jug in the foreground and, when I saw the real painting in a show way back in the 1980s, I went up to it and I realised this little drop of water was just a couple of flicks of paint. I’d thought it was this precise detail but close up you see the dexterity of those little flicks.

ones from R Jackson & Sons in Liverpool or I stretch my own with Loxley stretcher bars. Do you use mediums? Yes. I sometimes put wax into paint, not to thicken it up but to get a less glossy surface as the painting develops. Sometimes I use a white paraffin wax with turpentine in, sometimes I use Wallace Seymour’s Beeswax Impasto Medium or C Roberson & Co.’s Impasto Medium. They give a semi-matt finish. I use Winsor & Newton’s Underpainting White as a base coat

BELOW Western Landscape, oil on linen, 122x152cm


I see that in your work too: Retreat (Maulds Meaburn as a State of Mind) has really abstract marks in the foreground. With areas like that, do you always intend to leave them looser or were you going to finish them but then decided against it? It’s more like that. When I look at [the work of John Everett] Millais and the Pre-Raphaelites, I’m impressed by all that fine detail, but when it comes to [my own] painting, I’m more excited by a loose, almost abstract way of working. It has the freshness of the natural world without that meticulous precision which might kill it off. That painting also has a lovely low tonal range. What’s the key to maintaining visual interest across the whole painting? I suppose there are a number of focal points in the painting with the windows in the houses and the lights. It’s based on a real village called Maulds Meaburn, but it’s very much a reinvention. The goalposts on the right-hand side aren’t there, but I really liked putting them in. It gave another focal point. Your palette is very muted. Could you say a little about how you modulate the colours? I like to limit my palette and I tend to use the same ones all the time. I’m very keen on the earth colours, plus Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Viridian and Yellow Ochre to make greens. I tend to keep that [limited palette] until I can’t get any more out of it and then, when I absolutely have to, I will turn to more saturated, higher chroma paints to make stronger greens, for example. This approach goes right back to college days. The tutor told me to just go out and paint so I chose a very limited palette of Prussian Blue, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and white to see how far I could go with it. The colour in Western Landscape is very striking with that fire in the centre echoed in the rocks and clouds. How did that all develop? 68 Artists

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I’d started to put darker colours and tones down, and there was this space in the middle – initially it was going to be a pathway, but I sort of ignored it for a while. In the end, I said it’s going to be a fire. By that time, I already had painted the distant clouds and I loved the pairing of the orange sunset with that fire. Symbolically it doesn’t mean

I like to limit my palette… When I absolutely have to, I will turn to more saturated paints


anything at all, it just felt like the right thing to do. Does the subject dictate the marks you make or the brushes you use? To a certain extent, yes. I will use the paintbrushes and the mark making to effectively describe a subject, I suppose. I’m working on these oak

trees at the moment and I’m putting down thousands of tiny little marks, still with a bristle brush. I try to avoid using tiny sables if I can, so I use very small, very clean, well-used bristle brushes. Then if it is a broader area like the sky, it requires a size 14 filbert to get these lovely organic, soft areas of paint.

I think of it almost like collage, but with mark making. When does a painting finish for you? You just get to a point where the surface is developed enough and adding more would be unnecessary really. You can feel the sense of balance in the whole painting.

ABOVE Little Alpine (Foxfield Allotment to Cow How and Birch Fell), oil on canvas, 76x91cm

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Painting Reflections Whether you’re trying to depict shiny objects or watery mirror images, we’ve got a host of expert tips and lessons from the masters to help you out

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CHOOSE SUPPORTS CAREFULLY Consider your support carefully before beginning. If you’re painting with oils or acrylics and want a smoother finish, try using a prepared wooden panel or a fine cotton or even linen canvas. With watercolour, the texture of your paper can have a huge bearing on how the paint behaves too. A rough paper can be useful for showing the sparkling highlights of light on water as the paint fails to settle in some of the dinks in the surface, while hotpressed paper is very smooth, allowing for wet-in-wet washes that could suggest softer reflections. A coldpressed (or NOT) paper is a good mid-point between the two.


ABOVE Kate Brinkworth, Golden Cherry Coke, oil on board, 100x150cm

EXPERT TIP – Kate Brinkworth: “Whatever the subject matter, choosing the right paint can really help, especially with reflections. I try to think quite literally with paint: transparent paints for transparent objects and opaque paints for more solid areas. (Most paints contain information about opacity on the tube or packaging.) “A transparent colour can be thinned down with oil to allow a white background to show through or to glaze over the top. I avoid pure white, instead using this technique to achieve paler tones. This can really help to show the qualities that a reflection possesses.”

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WORK DOWNWARDS Reflections in moving water tend to become more abstracted the further they and the subject gets from the surface of the water. They also appear to come “towards” the viewer. A good way to depict this in a very economical fashion is to start painting the reflection at the top and allow the stroke to move more towards the bottom and become increasingly fragmented. In JeanLouis Forain’s The Artist’s Wife Fishing, notice how the fairly solid reflection of his wife in red becomes more fragmented towards her head and shoulders. He suggests a quick moving stream without painting the water directly.


ABOVE Jean-Louis Forain, The Artist's Wife Fishing, 1896, oil on canvas, 95x101cm

It sounds obvious, but always paint what you see, not what you think you can see. Surprising shapes or colours often appear in reflections and capturing those is the key to making a very realistic finish. If you’re struggling to identify shapes in the reflections on a complex still life surface or a fast-moving water source, try taking photos using a very quick shutter speed on your camera. Zoom in on the pictures to get a more abstracted look at the various colours and shapes, replicating what is there without trying to determine what you think they represent.

RIGHT Mary Cassatt, Woman with a Sunflower, c.1905, oil on canvas, 92x73cm 72 Artists

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Remember that reflections can be used to indirectly connect different elements to add interest to a composition. Mary Cassatt’s clever 1905 double portrait Woman with a Sunflower used an ornate hand mirror to link the sight lines of two figures who were facing in the same direction. The American painter angled the hand mirror so that the child’s eyes meet the viewer’s gaze within its reflection, while a second mirror on the wall further adds to the sense of depth and threedimensional realism in the work.





ABOVE Claude Monet, The Seine at Giverny, 1897, oil on canvas, 81x100cm

MATCH YOUR STROKES The simplest and most effective way to convey that you are viewing a reflection in water is to vary the brushmarks in the reflected image. Claude Monet was a master in this respect. In The Seine at Giverny, notice how the “real” trees are rendered using smaller strokes in varying directions, whereas the apparent reflections in the river are delineated by longer horizontal marks that often merge several distinct areas of tone together. There is also no distinct line between the land and the water.

AVOID PERFECTION Light scatters on the surface of water, so a reflection never presents a perfect mirror image. Colours are often duller and less saturated in the reflected image, while tonal contrasts (the range between the lightest light and the darkest dark) are also less pronounced: darker colours often appear lighter in reflections, whereas lighter colours appear darker too. Try utilising complementary colours to add the required subtlety to a mix – use a touch of orange, for example, to take the edge off a bright blue.

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BELOW Grahame Booth, Misty Reflections, watercolour on paper, 36x26cm

EXPERT TIP – Grahame Booth: “The strongest indication of reflections will always be inverted objects. The land and water to the front of the trees is a simple continuous graduated wash. The only thing that makes the water read as water is the indication of the inverted, reflected objects above. I always make sure to include angled objects such as the fence posts as these give a much stronger, obvious reflection. Don’t forget that if the post is leaning to the side, the reflection also leans to the same side.”

CONSIDER YOUR VIEWPOINT Whether you’re painting a reflective object or a distant scene, it is important to always consider the angles from which you are viewing both your subject and its reflection. The temptation can be to simply paint the reflected image as an exact, flipped copy of the real subject, yet actually a subtle change in angle can help you make a far more lifelike representation of the effect. Close observation is key here. Painting a dog paddling in shallow waters, for example, might reveal more of its belly in the reflection because you are seeing it from a steeper angle. Likewise, you may see more of the hull of a boat in its reflection, depending on the angle from which it is viewed.

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REMOVE DETAILS When daylight streams into a dark interior, much of the detail in the reflected light is lost. You can depict this using high tonal contrasts and smoother, simplified marks. Take Edmund Charles Tarbell’s Mother and Mary as an example. There are warm yellow-greens and lighter blues employed to suggest trees and their shadows outside seen through the net curtains, which are rendered using textured drybrush marks. By contrast, the reflected light on the polished floor is smoother and almost detail free, as well as being a stronger tonal contrast to the areas around it.


ABOVE Pedro Campos, Jellybeans and Marbles, oil on canvas, 114x162cm

LEFT Edmund Charles Tarbell, Mother and Mary, oil on canvas, 112x127cm

HIGHLIGHT THINGS EARLY Highlights are very important when painting the reflections on metallic objects. Establishing the whitest highlights and the deepest shadows early on in the painting process can help you to judge the in-between tones more accurately as you progress. Also, remember that highlights are very rarely pure white – even the slightest tint of say a blue or orange can add an appropriate note of cool or warmth to the most piercing highlights.

PAINT IN ONE LAYER EXPERT TIP – Pedro Campos: “Although traditional painting is done by using a series

of overlapping layers, I normally use a single, final layer only. Each day I paint a certain area and, once it’s dry, I don’t paint over it again. “I use oil colours that are as opaque as possible. I employ synthetic, medium-strength brushes for the different areas, and softer, watercolour-like brushes to merge the edges between those areas. “Rather than relying on extreme detail, the feeling of realism is usually achieved by choosing the colours correctly. The silky and uniform look of my paintings is a consequence of always employing spray varnish, either matte or satin.”


When painting reflective objects, remember that the colours of surrounding objects and surfaces are always affected by them. A red shiny object on a white table, for example, will reflect a light red glow on the table that often becomes more pronounced the closer they become. The intensity of that colour can also be affected by other sources, so the best approach is to simply ignore the logic and observe things as accurately as you can. WITH THANKS TO: Grahame Booth – Kate Brinkworth – Pedro Campos –

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Figures BRUCE YARDLEY reveals how the French Impressionist painters incorporated portraits and figures into their interior scenes and plein air landscapes


rawing and painting the human figure was and is the central concern of academic art teaching, and the academically trained Impressionists never entirely abandoned it in their own painting careers – or never for long. Their early figure paintings, when their professional prospects were governed by their performance in the annual Salon, were understandably conventional. Claude Monet’s life-size portrait of his companion Camille Doncieux, The Green Dress, was greatly admired at the 1866 Salon: it had a reassuringly high level of finish, despite having been painted at great speed (in four days, by repute). When he attempted the same kind of subject in an outdoor setting, employing techniques that we would now label as Impressionist, the Salon jury rejected the submission. He continued to paint Camille, albeit on a smaller scale, until her early death in 1879, at which point the human form disappears completely from his work for several years. Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Berthe Morisot were all figure painters first and foremost, and unlike Monet, Renoir painted the human figure more, not less, in his later career. But these were hardly ever portraits in the full sense: indeed, I can’t think of any mainstream Impressionist for whom commissioned portraiture was important in a way it clearly was for, say, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Walter Sickert, like Degas, didn’t want his figure paintings to be “too definite” portraits; he wanted instead to capture an emotion suggested by a pose. In most of these paintings the figure itself is anonymous, representing a mood or action. This is the sphere in which an Impressionistic technique comes into its own, as distinct from one that is intended to catch a close likeness. It’s correspondingly more important, to the Impressionist, that the figure looks right in its setting, and that its tones and colours relate to those of its surroundings. When painting from the model in his studio,

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ABOVE Bruce Yardley, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, Paris, oil on board, 15x30cm “The smaller, lesser-known Arc de Triomphe of Paris is located next to the Louvre and thronged not by cars but by tourists. At this small scale it is feasible to render figures with just a few dabs of the brush, which should in turn communicate a sense of movement. If you paint your figures with too much care and definition, they’ll stiffen up on you. The viewer will know that those flicks of paint represent figures and will mentally supply the missing information in order to read them.”

for example, Ken Howard paints the background colours first, before painting the model, “partly”, he says, “because the subtle colours of the figure are affected by the more obvious surrounding colours”. A portraitist or figure painter working in a stable north light can afford to take such a methodical approach. If, like me, you work in a studio in which the sun comes in you can’t be so disciplined: you have to get things down on canvas quickly. My own figure paintings take as their inspiration the intimiste figure studies of Degas, Sickert


and, especially, Bernard Dunstan, a 20th-century English Impressionist much influenced by the first two names. (I should really add to this triumvirate Morisot, whose earliest paintings of women at their toilette actually predated Degas’, but I confess that at the time – the mid 1990s – I was only familiar with a few of her paintings.) Dunstan’s constant model was his wife Diana Armfield, herself a distinguished painter [see Issue 432], and his informal – sometimes very informal – bedroom and bathroom portraits of her have a quiet tenderness. My wife Caroline sat for me in much the same way for several years. Sickert, who worked exclusively with professional models (or professionals of one kind or another), would not have approved; he thought it “good artistic hygiene” not to use one’s own circle for modelling duties. Someone else might have envied Sickert his businesslike arrangements: it’s said that Monet was persuaded by Renoir to take up figure painting again after the years-long hiatus referred to earlier, but the plan was

When figures are small, a few deft strokes of the brush ought to suffice vetoed by Madame Monet when she found he had engaged a good-looking woman to sit for him. Many cityscapes and interiors have figures in them in a subsidiary role: these sorts of scenes would in fact look rather unnatural without the human presence. Figures provide a sense of movement and, quite often, some useful accents of colour. It’s therefore important to develop a technique that allows you to render them convincingly but in a way that doesn’t distract. The challenge here is that the human form is so familiar to us that the slightest error in drawing and painting stands out. Problems of scale are magnified when figures are

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Bruce Yardley, Sonia at Ston Easton, oil on canvas, 61x51cm “This was commissioned by a friend as a surprise birthday present for his wife, whose portrait it is. The surprise element meant I couldn’t have sittings in the normal way; I adapted photographic reference material that was sent to me. “The unifying element is the low sun coming deep into the room, so much so that one doesn’t immediately notice how many different colours there are on view.” 78 Artists

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present; so often, it seems, one comes across painted scenes populated by dwarves and giants. Impressionists such as Morisot, taking their lead from Édouard Manet, began placing identifiable people in their landscapes. This required them to paint those figures in some detail, with facial features and so on. I’d caution against such an approach, unless you are specifically painting a conversation piece or multiple portrait, for as soon as you apply features to a face the viewer’s eye will go straight to them, creating a potential source of distraction. When the figures are small enough, a few deft strokes of the brush ought to suffice to make them recognisable as such: the viewer should know what those flicks of paint are meant to represent and will be able to supply the rest of the information themselves. Before the Impressionists, it would have been almost unthinkable to treat the human form in such a manner. The abbreviated way in which the figures were painted in Monet’s Fishing Boats Leaving Port, Le Havre, shown at the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, drew derision from the sketch writer for [the satirical magazine] Le Charivari, who likened the black

A good general rule is to paint your figures in exactly the same way as the rest of the painting

ABOVE Bruce Yardley, Morning Sun in the Bedroom, oil on canvas, 61x122cm “The other painter from the generation above mine who has most influenced me (besides, of course, my father) is Ken Howard. It was after seeing some of his paintings of the model in his sun-filled Cornish studio that I attempted this bedroom study. In order that the sun catches Caroline’s hair I’ve turned her head-to-foot on the bed, which I concede is a bit contrived. The main draw, though, is the sun glowing through the silk curtain.”

“licking” marks that were intended to depict people to the slapdash way in which granite is whitewashed to imitate marble. Actually, Monet’s black-dressed strollers don’t look to me to be at all roughly painted, but at this period any departure from the accepted Salon practice was bound to meet opposition. A good general rule is to paint your figures in exactly the same way as the rest of the painting, again to ensure that they do not jump out at the viewer. If, as is usually the case, the figures are in motion, walking either towards or away from the viewer, you can suggest this movement economically by painting one leg shorter than the other, and perhaps using dry paint to create a broken, lost-andfound sort of line, which is less eye-catching than a solid, carefully painted one. This is more of a watercolour technique, but it works well in oil too. At all events, it helps, I think, to try to view the figure – the figure in its subsidiary, animating role, that is – as an abstract dab or assemblage of colour; if you start to think of it as a real person, you’re liable to become over-anxious about your depiction, and your painting might lose fluency. This is an edited extract from Bruce’s new Crowood Press book, Paint like the Impressionists.

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I like to ask questions through my art... I’ll have a thought and I will really want to unpick it When I was three, I drew my mother. She was pregnant with my younger brother and I stuck a piece of paper that was concave out from the page to show the bump. All my work has stemmed from that drawing, they all have sculptural effects. I like to answer questions through my art. I’ll have a thought, and I will really want to unpick it. I don’t think I’ve actually managed to answer a single question, but I have been led to ask more interesting questions.


The portrait artist takes on tarot cards and Hollywood glamour in her latest projects. Interview: REBECCA BRADBURY

Portraiture should be more accessible. I think it should be both an actual representation of the day-to-day and available to everyone. My recent exhibition, Safe Places, featured actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Their lives were presented as perfect, just like they are in today’s Instagram culture. I wanted to show the reality is far more interesting. The colour in the Safe Places portraits is on the inside of the glass. It’s make-up pigment, suspended in medium. Straight on, it looks as if the colour is on the canvas, married to the graphite. But if you look at an angle, the colour actually throws a shadow. For me, sitters need to have a presence outside of the physical – something that I wouldn’t be able to capture just by painting what they look like. It would take a nuance and a sensitivity of my skill to capture that thing that isn’t so obvious. My tip for portraiture is paint the background first. It helps put the subject in context. Then start on the eyes. The Fool’s Journey is the name of my new book, out later this year. It will include a set of tarot cards I designed for an exhibition and I’m halfway through writing poems to accompany each card. Tate Britain is my favourite art gallery. It’s quietly magnificent. It’s got a foot in the past, but also a foot in the future. The most important thing is not your materials, it’s your mindset. If you get to a point where you feel frustrated and angry, that’s actually not a bad thing. It’s part of the process.

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