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

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