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TA02_front cover 1_TA12 Front cover 08/12/2016 11:08 Page 1

February 2017 £4.20


T H E P R AC T I C A L MAG A Z I N E F O R A R T I S TS BY A R T I S TS – S I N C E 1 9 3 1

Capture light & dark in watercolours Follow our prizewinner’s step-by-step demonstration



l OILS & PASTEL • How to paint rain & reflections • Paint a reclining nude step by step • Find subjects close to home


Achieve texture and dramatic tension in your still lifes


How to create painterly looking botanical images in easy stages



Choose an art course to help develop your work !


TA02p3_5Contents_TA04p3_4_Contents 14/12/2016 08:18 Page 6

18 29


FEATURES 14 Patterns in light


MASTERCLASS Bryan Evans award-winner in The Artist Open Competition 2016, demonstrates his watercolour techniques

18 Patterns and texture in the landscape IN CONVERSATION Caroline Saunders talks to Nick Andrew about how he expresses motion, vitality and atmosphere in his acrylic landscapes

66 Adebanji Alade’s motivational tips Start the job!

22 The beauty of rain and reflections Adebanji Alade reveals how he depicts realistic reflections in oils

26 Dramatic tension


Alison Rankin explains how she depicts texture and tension in her acrylic still-life paintings

29 Digital work for watercolour paintings Paul Talbot-Greaves advises on the best way to take photographs using your phone or tablet, and then edit them to use as painting reference

32 32 Naked advice Adele Wagstaff demonstrates a reclining nude in oils, with tips on foreshortening, composition and how to describe the form

36 Developing an idea Charles Williams considers more strategies for beginning a painting in the second of his six-part series

40 A developmental approach to painting Graham Oliver shares his approach to painting reflections in water using pastels

42 Papers on trial In his second article in this threepart series, Ian Sidaway subjects ten popular watercolour papers to an array of tests

46 Strong botanicals

22 4

artist February 2017


Kerry Day explains her reduction linocutting method to Cath Read as she demonstrates a bold ‘painterly’ linocut print

TA02p3_5Contents_TA04p3_4_Contents 14/12/2016 08:18 Page 7

NEXT MONTH IN FEATURES MASTERCLASS The Artist Award winner in the 2016 RWS Contemporary Watercolour competition Eleanor Langton explains her approach to still life and her watercolour methods u

36 49 Close to home Be inspired by subject matter at home, says Gerald Green, who demonstrates an oil painting of his garden shed

t IN CONVERSATION BP Portrait Award exhibitor Martin Brooks shares his combination of traditional and contemporary techniques for painting portraits

53 Lose your references Max Hale shows how to achieve stronger paintings by reducing your reliance on photographs and doing a little planning before you start

57 A–Z of colour O is for Opaque, says Julie Collins




Paint impressionistic snow scenes of your local allotment with Haidee Jo Summers


6 Your views 11 The Art World 56 Opportunities 59 Books 60 Exhibitions

l Advice from Frances Bell on how to achieve success when painting portraits to commission


l BBC judge Lachlan Goudie discusses his recent trip to Collioure and the advantages of using gouache for capturing scenes en plein air l Paint night time scenes step by step by following Jo Quigley’s demonstration in acrylics l Overcome common problems in your watercolour painting with advice from Judi Whitton

Ken Howard OBE, RA studied at Hornsey School of Art and the Royal College of Art. He is a member of the NEAC, ROI, RWS, RWA and RBA. He exhibits extensively and has won numerous awards.

Jason Bowyer NEAC, RP, PS studied at Camberwell School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. He is the founder of the NEAC Drawing School and exhibits his work widely.

Bernard Dunstan RA studied at Byam Shaw School of Art and the Slade School. He taught at the Camberwell and Byam Shaw Schools of Art among others. He exhibits widely including in the annual exhibitions of the NEAC, of which he is a member, and RA.

David Curtis ROI, RSMA has won many awards for his en plein air and figurative paintings in both oils and watercolours. He has had several books published on his work as well as DVD films, and exhibits his work extensively.

l Robert Dutton shows how to use acrylic inks to create cleaner, more vibrant landscapes

PLUS l Julie Collins’ A to Z of watercolour continues: P is for palette l Be inspired to paint in the style of David Hockney with step-bystep guidance from Glyn Macey

And much more! Don’t miss out: our March issue is on sale from January 27 artist February 2017


TA02p14_17_Masterclass_Layout 1 13/12/2016 12:46 Page 14


Patterns in light Bryan Evans, winner of the St Cuthberts Mill and Exhibition Awards in The Artist Open Competition 2016, demonstrates the watercolour techniques behind his atmospheric interpretations of Glasgow


've lived in Glasgow for almost 30 years and have always been fascinated by the tenement flat 'closes' of the city. I've painted numerous versions of them over the years. They all have a central stairway and large windows that allow light to flood in on Scotland's rare sunny days. My work is predominantly tonal, concerned with light and shade and the 'closes' allow me endless possibilities to examine variations in lighting, structure and tone while sticking to a similar basic theme. The close I'm painting for this article is in the fashionable Finnieston area of Glasgow's West-End. It's south facing,


artist February 2017

so in the afternoon light floods in to create fascinating shapes and patterns on the wall and stairs. The relatively cramped space meant I couldn't capture a satisfactory image with one photo so I took over a dozen photos from different angles, which I combined digitally in Photoshop in my studio. Before the wonders of digital technology I used glue and sticky tape to paste photos to a board. The idea here was to create a slightly vertiginous, forced perspective that appears basically normal but also a little uneasy in atmosphere. The windows, bannisters and stairs veer away from each other in slightly

unnatural ways, but hopefully not too artificial a manner.

How I work I tend to use watercolours in a fairly unconventional manner, usually starting with the dark tones and, as part of the process, often removing as much paint as I apply. When I do demonstrations of my technique I tell my students that I don't so much 'use' watercolour as 'abuse' it. I almost always use Bockingford watercolour paper. When I first began painting in watercolour I used this paper because it was, and still is, one of the best value watercolour papers

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t Dusk Falling on Platform 6 – Crewe Station, watercolour and gouache on Bockingford paper 140lb (300gsm), 19⫻223⁄4in (48⫻58cm). I wanted to catch the warm glow of the waiting room as night falls and felt that the reds of the rail staff coats echoed this well. I painted the beautiful Victorian buildings in various cool blues with some Payne’s grey to emphasise and contrast with the warm oranges and yellows emanating from the windows u

St Enoch Square in the Rain, watercolour and gouache on Bockingford paper 140lb (300gsm), 271⁄2⫻193⁄4in (70⫻50cm). St Enoch is one of the main squares in Glasgow city centre. I wanted to paint the square from above (as seen from a modern shopping centre) to flatten the picture plane and accentuate the abstract nature of the pedestrians and their reflections. It's primarily a tonal piece allowing the blues of the people to contrast with the warm sepias and reds of the buildings

around. Over the years I've come to rely on the intrinsic qualities of Bockingford for my work. It comes in a standard weight of 140lb (300gsm) and has a very sturdy surface, suitable for the abuse I inflict on it and the way it's sized allows me to remove paint in a way that suits my technique. I used the blue tinted paper for In a Blue Close – Late Afternoon (pages 16-17), which suits the cool tonal range, and allowed me to add lighter highlights as the painting progressed, extending the tonal range of the image. Also, JMW Turner used tinted paper, so if it's good enough for the Great Turner…

Painting sequence I start the painting with a basic drawing, sometimes with watercolour pencil for the initial drawing. At this stage I don't need much detail, just an indication of the basic structure for blocking in at the next stage. Initially I usually use Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour tubes, but as the painting progresses I transfer to artist-quality paint for its added vibrancy and intensity. When I'm satisfied with the basic accuracy of the drawing I begin to block in the shadow areas and darker tones. I use a neutral dark grey for this. I sometimes mix this shade using dark crimsons, blues and umbers but I also often use a Payne’s grey. A few years ago I discovered Winsor & Newton large pan watercolour paints, which I've started using more and more. The large surface area of these paints (about four times that of standard whole pans) is invaluable if using large brushes and broad washes.

They come in a fairly limited range of colours and are quite pricey, but for serious watercolour painters they’re worth it. My watercolour paintings usually start with broad, expressive washes. I work on the whole image at once, blocking in the basic tones. I aim for an overall balanced effect of composition and tone, often turning the painting upsidedown so as not to get too involved in detail at this stage. I use fairly intense, very wet washes, which I allow to dry naturally, often overnight. I rarely work wet-on-wet for very long. Because I rarely work on any piece for more than about 20 to 30 minutes at a time I always have a number of paintings on the go at once. As I write I've probably got about a dozen paintings in various stages of completion scattered around. As a painting progresses I add more layers, usually in similar dark tones,

gradually refining the image and pulling together the work as I go along in an attempt to clarify it.

Scrubbing I have a collection of old and battered stiff-bristled brushes for scrubbing off the watercolour, and also use toilet tissue. I find the surface of Bockingford paper very sympathetic to this technique. I also use this scrubbingaway of paint to achieve a softening effect in certain areas. I'm particularly fascinated by the way in which adding, and then scrubbing away, layer upon layer of dried washes seems to give the painting an element of narrative and history all of its own – stains and marks appear beneath subsequent layers in an intriguing way almost reminiscent of the stains on the walls of the actual Glasgow tenements. My preferred watercolour pencils are

artist February 2017


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The beauty of rain and reflections Adebanji Alade is fascinated by reflections. He reveals his methods for depicting realistic reflections in urban scenes in oils, along with his favourite recipes for mixing interesting greys


became really fascinated with reflections when I was painting a series of plein-air paintings in Bath. I was struggling to depict the effect of the reflections on the wet pavements and it was quite an ordeal. I was painting purely from observation and it wasn’t until I settled down to observe really keenly that I noticed the reflections were easier when simplified to shapes and then mastering the edges around the shapes. It just clicked! Every reflection has a beauty of its own – they should be treated purely as subject matter in still life, even though they are just illusions. Urban scenes can be complicated with buildings and objects like cars, poles, trees and figures but reflections help to unite and simplify the whole scene.

Recipes for grey On rainy days, greys are the most dominant colours and the ability to mix them correctly makes the other colours


artist February 2017

sing! I have some core recipes I adopt. They are based on mixing complementary colours in unequal portions. My favourites are viridian with alizarin crimson and cobalt blue with touches of cadmium red and yellow ochre – the cadmium red and yellow ochre making up the right kind of orange I need. Another great recipe is ultramarine and burnt sienna or transparent red oxide. All these are mixed with various amounts of white to produce interesting mixtures of greys. There’s something about mixing the greys a bit richer and more saturated than they are, to make the scene really come to life. The whole scene should have an overall greyish feel, but at least every colour should have a bit of neutralising in the larger components so that the more vivid colours can be used in the figures, cars or lights to attract attention and lead the viewer to the centre of interest in the painting. If I were to paint a red bus on a rainy day, I’d make

p After the Rain, London Streets, oil on canvas, 24⫻30in (61⫻76cm)

sure that the road colour was mixed with a more greenish grey to complement the brightness of the red, and I’d make sure the components around it were also in that colour scheme too. It’s like a game; once you know the rules you can apply them at ease.

Painting reflections I have discovered that the most successful way to paint reflections is to paint the reflected surface – road or pavement – separately from everything else and treat them as separate subject matter (I look at them as portraits or a still life). Once I’m able to look at them in this way it makes me more careful about paying attention to shapes, colours and subtle shifts in tone and temperature. The most important elements are the edges. Most edges around shapes on

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PRACTICAL wet pavements and roads are soft, but look out for they suddenly have a hard edge. If this is managed and depicted well it creates a closer and accurate representation of the reflections. It’s also best to paint reflections alla prima when using oils, which is my usual medium for painting reflections. The effect of wet-on-wet creates an even more believable illusion of the reflections. Never underestimate the power of your drawing, either. Being able to get the reflections in the right size, proportions and angles is so important, especially when it comes to the reflections of poles, streetlights and other verticals in the scene. If you can treat them this way, by isolating them from the main objects in the scene and making them stand out on their own, only a few adjustments will be needed

to tie the whole scene together when you look at the painting at the end.

Bringing it all together Even though I work purely from observation and picture references, and I believe in depicting what I see to the best of my ability, there are still times when I follow the rule of my mentor Ken Howard, who said that ‘dark things appear lighter when reflected and light things appear darker.’ If I have done everything right and I notice this rule is broken or doesn’t really apply, I go over by making these adjustments. This helps to make the painting look believable. When next it is raining or when the rain is over, look carefully for these things and you’ll be surprised to see how true they are. When it comes to painting reflections I have studied

the works of Ken Howard, Peter Brown, Irene Marsh and Jeremy Mann. All have different approaches but it’s always great to see how they handle rainy days and reflections with skill and dexterity.

Details and finishing touches The details and finishing touches are by far the most important aspects of the painting but they should be handled with care. They are like the icing on the cake. Just little marks here and there – the lines of the pavement, the lights on the road and pavements and the minute features on figures and their reflections. There’s nothing worse than over-doing a particular passage until it’s painted out of life. So the main tip with details is, once you start fiddling without knowing where next to TA land the brush, it is time to STOP!

DEMONSTRATION Rain, Rain, Rain, London Streets u


Using a wash of orange, burnt sienna and white I created a warm gessoed ground on the linen canvas, after which I spent as much time as possible sketching with a ZIG 75 Dual brush pen and a black pencil. I was very rigorous with the drawing; nothing was taken for granted. It’s quite a large surface and if the drawing had gone wrong it would stick out like a sore thumb. The key at this stage is patience


This is where I show exactly what I was talking about when I said the reflections are treated as a separate entity. I had hardly painted anything else in the scene when I decided to take on the reflections, taking my time to get the right colours, shapes, tonal and temperature shifts and edges. Notice the soft edges between the colour shifts in the light pavement areas. The recipes for greys were used extensively here, mostly alizarin crimson and viridian green. I have also given the trees a good start, painting with very thick colour straight from the tubes, which is a great contrast to the fluid application of the smooth surface of the pavement

artist February 2017




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Achieve texture and dramatic tension in your still lifes


How to create painterly looking botanical images in easy stages


stories from your imagination with Nicola Slattery



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Richard Suckling demonstrates how to achieve light & atmosphere



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The Artist February 2017  

Masterclass with Bryan Evans, award-winner in The Artist Open Competition 2016 Caroline Saunders talks to Nick Andrew about how he expresses...

The Artist February 2017  

Masterclass with Bryan Evans, award-winner in The Artist Open Competition 2016 Caroline Saunders talks to Nick Andrew about how he expresses...