Monday, 28 January 2013

EXPO 2012 - painting masterclass

This is mainly for Pam and is a long over-due (and not that great!) blog post - I apologise for that.  Life got in the way of this one!

Last year, I took part in the Jesmond EXPO, a great local art exhibition, details of which are here: and also here:

As well as exhibiting a wide range of high quality artworks by local artists and crafts people, the EXPO included a number of events showcasing the artistic and musical skills of people who live and work in the Jesmond community.  One such event was a painting masterclass by Linda Scott-Robinson.

Tickets to the masterclass were sold out and the demonstration was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.

In front of her audience, from blank canvass to finished work, Linda painted one of her famous and much sought-after poppy landscapes. It was fascinating to watch her work - she made it all look so effortless. Her self-deprecating manner and humility - in spite of considerable talent - made it all the more compelling to watch.

I scribbled down a lot of notes whilst it took place and I promised I'd write them up so here they are - As it's such a long time since the event, I've made no attempt to write them in any kind of sensible English (mainly because there are gaps in my memory about what some of them actually mean!) - they're just notes and cover things such as colour and type of paint, type of paper used, etc.  They will only really make any sense to those who attended.  I also include some photos taken of the event, but as we were in a candlelit church and I didn't use a flash (so as not to distract Linda whilst she worked), they are a little grainy.

Linda doesn't stretch the paper she uses - she buys 450gsm watercolour cardboard made by Bockingford.

There were many questions about how best to represent the blue in skies.  Linda uses Nordic Blue by Aquarelle, also umbre and indigo mixes.

Linda advises to have your mount frame ready before beginning painting so that you can hold it in front of your picture as you go and check how the painting looks within its intended frame. She commented that sometimes it is possible to salvage a portion of an otherwise unsatisfactory painting by trying smaller-than-intended frames on areas of the picture.

Linda usually begins painting with a broad, soft brush.

She applies a rule of thirds... (I can't remember what she said that meant!) and works flat on a table usually - rather than on an easel.

Watercolour dries lighter in shade than when first applied.

To get her trademark cloudy, dramatic skies, Linda sprays her work with water and then 'swishes' it to cause bleeding and fuzzy soft edges giving a natural impression of clouds.

For the demo, she used a hairdryer to dry the paint between stages of painting but would usually allow time for drying in between each stage.

God works in mysterious ways alright. 
Power direct from the pulpit...


For the middle ground of the poppy landscape - Linda used cadmium orange.

She mixed together crimson, nordic blue and umbre for the 'black' tree lines - she never uses black paint straight out of the tube. 

Tree lines were 'dragged down' using a light touch to blend them into their horizon.

Linda uses a palette knife to scratch texture into her paintings - laying on lots of colour and then scratching into it to soften it and create the impression of (for example) dry stalks on fields.

She sprays her work with water and then uses kitchen roll to 'dab' out patches for application of further colour and detail.

The poppies were made on to wetted canvass to encourage them to 'bleed' into natural-looking petals. Pure cadmium red and Aquarelle Bright Red were used for the colour.

More of my photos from EXPO can be found here: EXPO

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Goodbye SeaLorna

I promised I'd share the photos I took in Woodbridge and area, during my recent visit for Lorna's funeral so please find all 74(!) of them here: Woodbridge and around...  (Not all are of Woodbridge; the first few photos are of Lavenham, just a bit north west of Woodbridge, John and I had a stop off there on the way down.)

As Rhoda has said in her posts on Lorna's blog:, the day of the funeral was perfect. She and Aidan did Lorna proud; the service was truly special. On top of that it was such beautiful weather; and really great to meet so many of Lorna's friends - all lovely people - who had travelled from every corner of the British Isles!

It was an incredibly sad and emotional day - but it is no cliche to say, in this case, that there was much cause for celebration too. Lorna was special. No question.

The sailing club was a stunning venue to meet up after the funeral.  The club members looked after us all so well - and all of them clearly had a lot of affection for Lorna, who, as well as being a frequent sailor there, was one of the Club's main 'working party' who had given a lot of time and practical help to improving the club house and making it into the fine facility it now is. One of the club members, Emma, told me that when Lorna arrived at the Deben club they'd asked her if she would like to help out with club duties and had suggested she might like to help with making tea and selling cakes in the club tea shop....  Hmmmm.  Needless to say, Lorna was having none of that and was soon mucking in with the men in clearing the old club house site and building the new one - and from what I can gather, she carried on with many 'heavy duties' with the working party throughout her illness and only gave it up when she really could not do it anymore.

As well as the chance to say my goodbyes to Lorna, this visit gave me the chance to say a big hello to Woodbridge - and indeed Suffolk, where I'd never been before. Thank you for that Lorna - Woodbridge is lovely, lovely place, I really hope to visit again sometime in the near future - I feel quite smitten by it -  it will always hold a special place in my thoughts now. 

For those who couldn't make it to Suffolk, we plan to have a North East 'send off' for Lorna at Tynemouth later in the year, hopefully coinciding with the next Scammell Dash...  More news on that to follow later.

I hope everyone  who wants to can open the linked photos okay, but if not just drop me a comment below or contact me via my contact form here: