Demonstration Reports

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Stewart Beckett – Demonstration Report (March 2022)

Stewart kindly took on this acrylic Zoom demonstration as the professional artist originally booked couldn’t undertake a Zoom session. Hopefully, Covid allowing, this will be the last Zoom session and we can go back to face-face meetings from July onwards when the AGM coupled with a demonstration will be held. Stewart had prepared himself well by undertaking a drawing in advance – combining two New Forest scenes into one – in preparation for an acrylic landscape painting. He used mountboard for the painting rather than acrylic paper as this, he felt, took the paint and other materials used better than paper. He had already applied some white gesso mixed with fine builders-sand to create small textured areas in the foreground. He had a range of “heavy bodied” acrylic paints and around five brushes from large to rigger. The paints were mixed on a traditional wet pallet set up for acrylics. His introduction only lasted around ten minutes, which is probably the ideal amount of time, and then he started painting. Initially he painted the sky by starting with some white acrylic gel to put moisture onto the paper and then with a mix of white (neat – no water) and a light blue created a blue/wispy cloud sky – blending the colours as he went along; along with a touch of permanent rose. Then working along the sky line – horizon he started to create the far headland (IOW) and with a mauve mix and some green for the tree line. Then, turning the foreground he boldly added some light green and burnt umber acrylic inks and allowed them to run across the painting – apparently in a messy and haphazard way. This wet area was then hot aired dried for speed of the demonstration. Normal drying would have taken up to 30 minutes. Going back to the sky line area a light blue was added to create the water area using small flat brush. Sap green was then added to create the riverside/edge of sea area. Some pink/pastel shade areas were then added to the foreground over the now dry green acrylic ink area. Darker elements of the painting were now worked on using a range of colours – cobalt blue, phthalo blue and brown for dark green areas and to create the trees in the foreground of the painting. Touches of cadmium red and pink touches were also added to the trees /shadow areas. Stewart then finished off what he called the “initial mark making and overall creation of the painting” with some lighter greens, acrylic green ink touches on the foreground and a grey/mauve mix for undulations on the ground. The second stage of the painting consisted of some sixteen “finishing touches” which bought even more life to the painting and cleverly touched up/improved some of the mark making areas. These touches included the – fence line, further work on the trees – tree trunks, gully area in the foreground, grasses, shadow areas, boats (painted delicately with white and blue), sky holes in the tree foliage, some sticking up grasses using the edge of a small pallet knife, addition of a few birds in the sky and some splattering with white paint to create effect over the foreground area. Altogether an excellent demonstration helping Stewart build on the reputation with OAG members from his past demonstration and workshop sessions with us. 

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Melanie Cambridge – Demonstration Report February 2022


Melanie is an experienced and professional artist - and tutor who has
undertaken demonstrations with the OAG in the past – and who specialises in oil
painting. The theme of this demonstration was “Big Skies” and using a photo as a
guide, but as she advised not to be slavishly followed, Melanie took 45 members
through a two-hour demonstration of many different aspects and techniques of
oil painting. She described the canvas being used, taped edging and priming - and
then went through the pre-loaded pallet with approximately 14 different
colours. Five brushes were used – Large Filbert, 6, 8 and 12 Filbert and Round 4.
Total cost around £22+ which Melanie felt indicated more expensive brushes
were not essential for successful oil painting. Plus two painting/pallet knives and
special paint mixes to speed up drying time for thicker coatings of oil paints.
Having outlined the horizon area (bottom quarter of the canvas to leave a large
area for the sky) and main clouds with a simple brush drawing Melanie set about
painting the blue areas (ultramarine and white mixes) of the sky followed by the
darker areas (violet and yellow plus ultramarine to darken) of the clouds. Plus
white, Naples Yellow and Titanium Buff for the wispy clouds in the sky and
above the horizon. The came the foreground painting and hills using a mix of
greens plus ultramarine to darken where needed. Having completed Stage 1
Melanie went on to Stage 2 by adding a thick white/creamy mix onto the tops of
the main clouds to create the light areas with some pink added to indicate
warmth. On the left side of the foreground was added a number of additional
touches – not in original photograph – of woody growth, flowers and one figure.
Melanie emphasised the need to paint spontaneously and quickly adding detail
not in the original photo – this led to a couple of questions about aspects of the
main cloud area and part of the foreground but Melanie felt she was happy with
what had been achieved – and it certainly was a good painting. Note: “(Painting
like beauty in the eye of the beholder).” Melanie kindly finished her
demonstration by illustrating a range of mixing colours for skies and for
seascapes – another of her speciality areas for painting. Maybe a future
demonstration subject.

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Adebanji Alade – Demonstration Report, January 2022

Adebanji's  reputation has gone before him as he is well known on TV with the One Show and Sky Arts along with his role as Vice-President with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and his Search Press publications related to drawing and painting. He certainly proved a lively and energetic demonstrator bringing all his professional skills to drawing and painting an urban scene from London (Embankment) over a two-hour period. He started by gridding the MDF board (Gesso primed) to match the gridding on the photo he planned to work from. Once ruled he started to sketch using Winsor & Newton Brush Pens – mainly browns – which he classified as like drawing with felt tip brushes. His love of sketching and the importance of this as a base for the painting came across strongly as he started the many tips and comment made throughout the demonstration about all stages of the demonstration. He talked of the four key stages of a painting – I.e. Sketching, Creating Tonal Values, Blocking in Colours and adding the Final Detail. Then using W & N acrylic paints he took us through the painting of the sky, the shadows on the embankment/foreground, bridge and outline buildings, the Sphinx and then the trees (an important part of the painting) on the embankment using a range of greens from dark to light and illustrating the “joy” of painting trees, finishing with a number of detailed touches to the painting by looking back over the key parts of the painting. 

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JAKE WINKLE; DEMONSTRATION REPORT NOVEMBER 2021

Jake gave the third demonstration of OAG’s new programme for 2021/22 and there were around 50 attendees and the atmosphere was “buzzing” as Jake is a well known and popular artist with OAG Members. Jake specialises in watercolours with either landscapes or animals – painted in his own distinctive style.  He began by painting a pen and wash landscape. His view was that this was an easy introduction to watercolour painting as around 50% of the work is in the drawing and pen work prior to creating a wash of different colours. Having drawn the important outline of a farm/barn/tree scene in pencil he did his pen work using a shaped (cut wedge end) lollipop stick with waterproof Indian ink from a bottle. He felt this was better (and cheaper) than using artist pens as different strength of lines and shaded areas of stroke were achievable with the shaped ends of lollipop sticks. The paper being used was Arches Aquarelles (Rough) – 300 gsm - which Jake feels in more suitable for watercolour work in general and particularly suitable for pen and wash. After this stage Jake started to paint by wetting the paper all over (for wet-in-wet work) and creating warmth in the sky with Raw Sienna and Cobalt Blue then working on the foreground and parts of the farm and barn buildings with Raw Sienna, Light Red and touches of green. After drying he went on to use a mixed grey for images in the distance, more greens for the trees and hedgerows and then added finishing touches with warmer colours. Jake is well known for his speed of work whilst at the same time giving a detailed and thorough explanation of what he is doing for the audience. He had stated at the beginning he would try to finish the painting in one hour and he did it to the minute which generated a spontaneous round of applause. After the break Jake went on to paint a puffin from a photograph and sketch. He applied his own specific style for painting animals by first creating a Cobalt Blue sky and Raw Sienna foreground. He emphasised the shadow colour on the body of the puffin could be created using colours that we might not associate with shadow – Cobalt Blue, Alizarin Crimson and even Orange. Painted as a watery mix, allowing the edges of the colours to mix illustrated the puffin’s body very well. Thicker paint mixes of the same three colours were used to paint the eyes, feet and claws. Jake emphasised that leaving areas of white paper as part of the image are important for all paintings. Finally he added cast shadows around the puffin and some his trade mark splattering to add movement to the painting. At the end of the meeting some members expressed an interest in Jake undertaking a Pen and Wash Workshop for OAG and discussions are underway for next year.

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REBECCA DE MENDONCA; DEMONSTRATION REPORT OCTOBER 2021

Rebecca gave the second demonstration of OAG’s new programme for 2021/22 – and it was the group’s first face to face meeting  for 18 months. There were around 50 attendees and the set up and the atmosphere was like 'old times'. 
Rebecca is a well-established professional painter who specialises in pastel paintings and runs courses for art groups, undertakes demonstrations, exhibition work, writing and publications. She has exhibited with the Pastel Society and is an Associate Member of the Society of Equestrian Artists. 
Rebecca led us into the two-hour demonstration with an explanation of some of the key principles of pastel painting – drawing with colour, mixing colours on the surface of the paper, tonal contrast and using a 'tonal ladder', mark making, blending and matching colours. Rebecca also emphasised the importance of using high quality pastels and pastel paper and board. Her pastels were made by Unison with individual boxes containing a range of shades for each colour. 

In the first half a landscape painting was undertaken running through the use of black charcoal for the outline drawing, then adding blues, creams, greens, purples, ochres and white to create a rocky and country scene from Devon. One specific point related to constant use of fingers and palm of the hand to rub and blend each colour put down. 
The second half featured a tonal sketch cleverly “painted” by Rebecca showing a cloudy sky and sea scene with reflections. There was an emphasis of tonal variation within each part of the scene as well – e.g. the tonal variation in the clouds, plus use of white and Naples Yellow to create light under and linked to the clouds. All in all a “masterclass” on how to prepare, paint and finish a pastel painting.