|Understanding Acrylics (Saturday 19 Oct 2019)|
|Liz Seward gave another of her very popular Saturday
workshops on Saturday 19th October.
Click here for Carole Head's write-up
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|Watercolour Plus Inks Still Life (Sat 20 October 2018)|
|Brief. This year Liz is working with the vibrant colours available in FW, Liquitex, Golden Colour, Acrylic or Magicolour Inks (not Winsor & Newton triangular inks). Please bring your own Still Life material which could be flowers, fruits, or any objects that would lend themselves to an interesting Still Life (nothing too fragile).|
| The workshop was a great success.
See the illustrated write-up
and here are the paintings produced by the participants.
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|Collage Workshop (Sat 7 October 2017)|
|Liz Seward kindly agreed to run another
of her popular workshops for us.
This year it is a Collage Workshop on
Saturday 7th October at St. Peter & St. John's Church Hall on Caesar's Camp Road, Camberley.
It was a thoroughly inspiring and enjoyable event.
See attached notice for details.
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|Watercolour Workshop (Sat 15 October 2016)|
Church Hall St Peter & St John, 1 Caesar's Camp Road, Camberley.
Cost: £25 per person.
Time: from 10.00 am until 2.00 pm.
The hall is booked from 9.30 a.m. until 2.30 p.m. There will be a short break for participants to have their own packed lunch. We have been asked to be sure that the hall is clean and cleared by 2.30 pm at the latest.
Even if you have already expressed an interest could you confirm your wish to be a participant by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, Carole Head Chairman, FCSA.
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|Acrylic & Mixed Media Workshop (Sat 17 October
Notes and photos by Carole Head
|Liz Seward began her workshop by telling everyone that
there was to be no drawing whatsoever. Her aim was to get everyone to work as
loosely as possible.
She started by taking FW Acrylic Inks and covered her paper with glorious Indian Yellow, Red Earth, Indigo and Processed Cyan. She let the colours flow down the page and mix randomly together.
For those of us using Watercolours she repeated the process with Daniel Smith Watercolours which she purchases from Ken Bromley. She used Quinacridone Gold, French Ultramarine and Cobalt Blue Shinhan.
Finally for those using heavy Acrylics she used a board prepared with Gesso and reminded everyone that when painting with acrylics it is important to start from the mid-tones and add the lights at the end. She used Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Orange and Quinacridone Red among other colours.
|Everyone was sent off to start their own work but warned to stay as
loose as possible to maintain the energy in the painting.
When we went back for the next stage in the demonstration Liz talked about working with the negative shapes and after she had drawn on some tree shapes with sepia pencil she began to work up some of the shades in the negative spaces.
Later she used Caran d'Ache Neocolor II to draw into the FW Acrylic Ink painting she was developing. She said these could be used on watercolour as well..
| When using heavy acrylics she advised it was a good idea to always
add a little colour to the white for the initial highlights and only use pure
Some other gems of advice included :
Draw trees in the direction they grow - Up!
Vertical lines give STRENGTH,
Horizontal lines give STABILITY and
Diagonal lines give MOVEMENT.
| At the end of the Workshop we all put our work out and stood back.
What a fabulous variety of paintings had been produced! Everyone expressed
their thanks to Liz for giving us such an enjoyable and worthwhile
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|FW Acrylic ink and Neocolor II landscape demo. (3/4/2009)|
|Starting with a photo of a scene she knew well, Liz
had prepared a sketch re-shaping it to her preferred square format and locating
the centre of interest (the "floodlit" central tree).
|Tonight she had selected a view in the Test Valley. It is so
important to know and absorb the feel of the scene. We live in a lovely area
for painters - and this spot is convenient for the pub near Chilbolton,
From her sketch, Liz had done a fairly detailed drawing on a new 300lb Saunders Waterford hot-pressed paper sold as being good for acrylics. Using it unstretched but taped down on all four sides she used only FW liquid acrylic ink and Caran d'Ache Neocolor II crayons (these were what made her choose HP paper, so that the Neocolor did not pick up texture from the paper).
| The only brushes Liz used this evening were Da Vinci "Cosmotop"
flat ones, using widths between about 10 and 50 mm. Unlike DIY brushes these
form a very sharp chisel end.
First she brushed water all over the paper, to keep the initial washes soft, and then went straight in with Yellow Ochre in the area of the "floodlit" tree. This she surrounded by Red Earth (to separate the yellow from the blue, so that greens were not mixed by accident) and then Prussian Blue. Some touches of Paynes Grey darkened the edges and began to define the water's edge.
FW white ("miracle-worker, she called it) is miscible with watercolour. Although it covers very well it can be diluted to give lovely reflections in the water (draw the brush down) and to create patches of sky in the trees.
|Since Prussian Blue and Yellow Ochre make a rather Caribbean green
she dulled it with a little brown and applied the resulting green thinly enough
for the red still to show through. For darker features Sepia serves
Liz then moved almost entirely into Neocolor, using white and other colours, like chinese green, sky blue and beige, to cut out the trees, add highlights, twigs (sepia) and other bits of interest.
Dead white is stark so instead she often uses very pale shades of other colours. However, Neocolor will pick up previously-applied layers and so you can often get away with white (especially if you plan to apply a wet brush to it.
The time after the break was devoted almost entirely to putting more light into the picture (turquoise and orange are colours she loves for this) and to various more-general snippets of advice and comment.
|If you want a really non-absorbant surface, a couple of coats of
Gesso should do the trick. On the other hand, if the surface is not absorbant
enough (for example you may have a pre-primed board) you can buy "Absorbant
Ground", a coat or two of which creates a very good surface for watercolour or
Neocolour II can be used dry, spread/softened with water or applied onto wet paper - and the shavings in the pencil-sharpener can be used to make a quite serviceable paint. Beware! Many other pencils, even reputable ones, especially the reds, are not as lightfast as you might like.
Women are colourists; men draw.
|Only at the end did Liz add the
blue-white horizontal reflections of sky into the water and strip off the
masking tape. "It's not finished - I'd usually take a couple of days, not a
couple of hours, for something like this. It will come home with me and be
'considered' for as long as it takes"
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|Acrylic landscape demonstration
(Apologies for the poor quality of the photos: hand-held snapshots by your webmaster)
|Being faced with a blank piece of paper was not a serious problem
for Liz - she had pre-prepared a sheet with acid-free tissue-paper (crumpled,
smoothed by hand and thoroughly stuck down with diluted PVA glue) and was
enthusing so much about the glorious textures this gave and about the new
"Golden Acrylics" that she could hardly wait to start.
Incidentally, the thinner the paper you are applying with PVA glue the more the glue should be thinned.
|Liz had a photo on her laptop screen and a pencil sketch to help
with the composition. Surrey Heath is her favourite source of inspiration at
If you are a watercolourist converting to acrylic, avoid heavy-body acrylics like the plague - they loose a lot if you thin them too much (in fact you are almost obliged to use thinning media).
Use soft-body acrylics or acrylic ink, and remember that they will dry slightly darker - the opposite to ordinary watercolours.
Heavy-body white is OK but I think Liz still prefers FW acrylic ink white (both needing to be warmed up a fraction with something like naples yellow if you were thinking of putting them on neat).
|The initial applications were in naples yellow, a couple of reds,
cobalt blue (her favourite blue), burnt sienna and french ultramarine. You can
see from the final picture why these colours were put where they were. Each new
colour was worked back into the (wet) edges of the earlier ones and lovely
effects appeared as the creases in the tissue paper guided the way the paint
ran and collected.
While the underpainting was drying came some general comments: about brushes (use soft brushes for water-colour style acrylics - NOT, repeat NOT hog); more about the way only paints like Golden Acrylics, www.goldenpaints.com/, and some "almost as good ones", e.g. Liquitex, can easily be pushed where you want them; about using transparent darks - and enthusiastic words of general encouragement.
|The exact positions of the foreground and middle-distance tree
trunks will effectively be defined by the tissue-paper creases. The line of the
bottom of the distant trees was built up around these, while off-whites created
smaller areas of sky and other distant features. Light over dark.
The trees were then roughed in. Foliage is not green, it's grey (perhaps a slightly greenish grey) and the sky is put back in on top of the foliage where the light is shining through.
Trunks were quickly located and then strengthened. Negative spaces, most often lighter, gave further definition. More touches of whites added unidentifiable features which avoided flat areas. and shadows were introduced to shape the surface of the ground.
|Remembering at the last minute that she was "supposed to be"
demonstrating in multimedia, Neocolor II pastels were produced for highlights,
deep shadows, areas of shadow, grasses and general colour-correction.
A thumb smudged out any hard lines left by the brush or the pastel.
As demonstrators so often say, the picture was not a finished work.
Liz thought that she might well wash the pastel off when she got home, continue with the acrylics and reintroduce the Neocolor only for final touches.
|Nevertheless the audience was suitably appreciative
and the mount presented it very well.
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|Liz chose to take advantage of the new camera to have the luxury of
demonstrating with a horizontal board. She had photos and a flower arrangement
- a mixture of real and artificial flowers - but used them for flower
recognition rather than composition.
For detail and good flow she had chosen hot-pressed Saunders Waterford paper, not stretched. She wet it thoroughly and then, using a flat household paintbrush, liberally dropped in FW acrylic ink: Indian Yellow in the centre, then Flame Red, then in the corners, Purple Lake and finally Indigo Blue. She then turned the board round in a vertical plane so the paint dripped and ran almost randomly. Then she dried it thoroughly ("don't put the green in too early or you can get mud").
|Then one could see where the various flowers would best fit. She
pencilled in the outlines roughly. Then negative shapes between the flowers
were filled in with Purple Lake and Indigo and then the greens (mixed with a
little sepia to get rid of the garishness). The background colour shows through
enough to maintain the feel of the original washes and to add interesting
gradation within the individual elements of the picture.
She decided a lighter highlight would improve the top corner - in with slightly thinned acrylic white which she also used to create some lighter negative shape edges. For very pale colours the white can be used over Neocolor II, to pick up a trace of its colour. Hint: for a very pale green use white with the slightest touch of lemon yellow.
Detail and texture went in with Neocolor II, dry-on-dry, dry-on-wet, wet-on-wet and sometimes softened with a damp brush.
By the end of the demo, when most of us felt she had a saleable picture, she said she would be spending another couple of 4-hour days finishing it off, not just adding detail but probably even putting a water wash over the whole thing and then re-building the detail from scratch
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|Liz started by showing how she "rescued" failed watecolours, perhaps scrubbed down, as underpaintings. In this case she gave texture by gluing tissue paper over it before starting again. Working mostly in conventional watercolour she used other water-soluble media for detail, highlights etc.|
. . . and the following are from Liz's follow-up workshop
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