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Aurora Spain Demonstrations

See www.saa.co.uk/art/aurora or contact her at aurora.spain@talktalk.net

Message from Aurora about her Art Classes
Dear Friends
Just to let you all know that my artclasses are starting back for The Spring Term on Wednesday 18th January 2017 10.45 til 1.00 at The Pavillion, Broomhall Road Sunningdale Berkshire SL5 0QS. Fee for the 9 week term £135
You may work in your preferred medium or learn the fascinating art of painting on silk using either iron or steam fixed dyes. I will be taking you one stage further and showing you how to fuse your finished designs onto glass platters or vases. These make beautiful decorative and practical objects.
Whether you are a beginner or improver this course has plenty to offer and a warm welcome awaits you If you would like to know more please ring me on 07710349804.
Happy Creative New Year
Aurora Spain, 8/1/2017

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Copper & Brass
Back to History Page 2014
The Touchables
"The Touchables", 4/4/2014

Aurora is still sponsored by Chroma's Atelier Interactive Acrylic. She gave us the standard spiel about how it can be used thin (like watercolour) or thick (like oils), revived with water and unlocked with "unlocking medium" (which cleans brushes, too), and she mentioned how easy it is to open tubes with stuck tops!

This time, however the main thrust was the use of physical textures to produce work that the viewer is encouraged to touch. The dirty finger problem is solved by painting a removable spirit-based varnish over the acrylic.

She prepares her 300 lb (640 gsm) Saunders Waterford paper with thick acrylic gesso ("if you want thin gesso, just add water").
There is no right way in art. Aurora encourages experimentation but when she teaches she covers the traditional ways first - it is best to know what is known to work, so you can break "rules" deliberately.

She advises starting with a mid-tone background (mix some paint with the gesso).
This makes it easier to judge lighter and darker tones and colours than a dead white background.

She prepares an original outline design either full size on tracing paper ready to trace onto the prepared surface, or smaller, in which case she will enlarge it using a projector.
She uses countless media, mostly from Atelier, to acheive texture:

heavy gloss medium, which dries clear
impasto gel, which also dries clear
Liquitex "string gel" (which dries clear and is self-levelling)
modelling compound, which dries opaque
Golden's glass beads (which take watercolour)
aluminium foil
metallic leaf (gold, silver, copper, brass, dutch gold)
maybe even impasto paint.

Sometimes she mixes colour with a clear-drying medium, sometimes she just paints over it.
Aurora brought lots of examples of the effects she gets and there are many more on her website.

You can mix polyfilla, sand, sawdust etc. with an acrylic medium to a spreadable texture. Apply them liberally with a palette knife and remember you can scrape back - to get anything between abstract patterns and the mortar between bricks. Thinly applied sand and medium gives a good feel if the painting includes paths or stonework.

Another trick (great for the grandchildren) is paint-pouring. Thin two or three colours of paint to a pourable consistency, pour them "artistically" to form a pool on a smooth plastic surface, stir a little if you must, leave to dry (overnight) and finally peel off and stick to your paper with binder medium.
After too many examples to list here Aurora got down to the use of gold or other metal leafs. There is a good video on this towards the bottom of her website page,www.saa.co.uk/art/aurora but it deserves a brief description here, too.

As mentioned, she starts with a pencil outline. Using a palette knife she fills the outline with modelling paste. When this has set it is carefully underpainted with acrylic paint of about the same colour as the leaf to be used (gold, silver, bronze, say). This is so that any tears in the leaf do not show. When dry, the area is painted carefully with gilder's size (or perhaps the faster-curing "Wunda tack" water-soluble size). This is left until it is just tacky, almost like Selotape. A sheet of metal leaf, mixed copper and dutch gold today, is cut to cover the whole sized area and dabbed into the surface with a soft blusher mop or very soft watercolour mop. Sweeping sideways with the same brush will remove leaf from unsized areas. Finally, the surface is sealed with shellac.
So ended an unusual demo.
It was full of interesting tips on the many ways you can experiment with texture in your paintings.
Thank you, Aurora.


Copper & Brass
Back to History Page 2014
The Touchables
"Copper & Brass", Atelier Interactive Acrylics, 26/2/2010

Aurora with an earlier work
Aurora, spectacularly attired, had brought a good selection of her work, with leaflets and samples from her sponsors: Chroma Atelier (paint) and St. Cuthbert's Mills (paper). She left a sample pack of Saunders Waterford and Bockingford papers on every seat and gave the Society a starter set of Atelier Interactive Artists' Acrylics (which was raffled and won by a visitor who now promises to become our newest member!).

Aurora recommended a couple of books: "Acrylic Revolution" by Nancy Reyner and "The Acrylics Book" by Barclay Sheakes. But "interactives", as I'll call them, differ from other acrylics in that they can be re-activated (re-opened or un-locked). A water mist is OK initially (as for any acrylic) but once it has started to polymerise, interactives can be revived with a proprietary "un-locking medium". No need for a stay-wet pallette.
Interactives take well to paper, canvas or MDF (well primed). The paints are used with a number of mediums but Aurora advised that one normally needed only a couple: a gloss varnish and a binder medium, both of which can be mixed with the paint, but she did also use an impasto gel.

The demo addressed techniques, rather than finishing a picture. Scraffito is one such technique: for example, a layer of dark paint (let dry), a layer of binder medium (let dry) and then the pattern scratched out of a subsequent thick layer of a lighter colour.

She was currently using 300lb w/c paper primed with thick gesso (the binder medium is as good). Either may be mixed with colour if you want.

Detail of an intermediate stage of a painting with indigo outlines and texture paste impasto

Tones in indigo and white
Aurora recommends working with a black and white photo, so that your perception of tone is not affected by colour.

One of the pre-prepared boards had an outline drawing of a copper jug, in indigo and white (you could use Payne's Grey). She worked into this with the same mixture to create a tonal painting of the neck of the jug.

Normally she would complete a background first but this can't be very important because she did it the other way round this time. But shadows, she says, are best left until the colours of the objects have been settled

Before starting to add colour she talked us through a discourse on shadows etc.
Shadows are a combination of the complementary colour of the object, the colour of the shadow surface itself and a touch of blue.

The square on the right consists of five overlapped square areas derived from an earlier painting. The smallest square (1, on the right) is an exact copy of the original. Surrounding this is (2), more of the same painting using exactly its complementary colours, then, around that, (3) the original modified with black, then (4) mixtures of the original colours with their complementaries and finally (5) back to the original colours.

She also digressed into a catalogue of what she called "wacky techniques": impasto scribbles on acetate, peeled off to make decorations; mixtures with ordinary acrylics, sand or sawdust; dried work overpainted with un-locking medium; pools of paint and medium poured and lightly stirred; use of unprimed paper for "monoprints", paper to paper, with paint and gel.

"Shadows" exercise
Then back to the jug. She replaced the board where she'd done the tonal work on the neck of the jug with another one whose tonal work had been completed, a rose had replaced the crumpled base and a foreground impasto tablecloth had been added.

To go from a monochrome indigo to a coppery look takes several glazes. For these you must use transparent colours (no cadmiums or whites unless they are diluted with plenty of gloss medium). Each glaze must be bone dry before you add the next. The only way to get it right is to experiment on old bits of paper until you get the effect you want. If the surface is well enought sealed you can wipe off any stray marks or, in extremis, use sandpaper.
The paints had strange names. She cited perinone orange and lemon yellow as suitable but actually started with "June brilliant" (yellow) with some "Red Gold" and a touch of a complementary purple, following the original brush-strokes over the whole vase. (When I looked at the colour chart a few days later I saw it was "Jaune Brillant". Sam D)

When this was thoroughly dry a similar mix was applied but with much more "red gold" and medium. Then a glaze of burnt sienna (with enough medium to make it transparent) and another one or two of crimson and burnt sienna. The same colour was glazed in to start the background on the left.

There was no time for more but she said that some dilute white might be used to lighten some areas and that highlights needed to be added and the background and shadow completed.

It had proved to be a very interesting evening.

At the end I saw money changing hands, so some people were obviously impressed enough with Interactive Acrylics to part with good money (a criterion I apply, unspoken, if people say that they like one of my paintings).

Sam Dauncey
The end of the demo.
Copper & Brass
Back to History Page 2014
The Touchables


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