There have been a series of Friday sessions at the art studio led by members of FCSA. This week it was Carole Head who encourage people to have a go at sketching florals with water proof ink and watercolour. As usual those who preferred to do their own thing worked on their own projects at the same time.
Carole likes using pen & inks for sketching, however colour is important to her too. By taking along some watercolours and a small pot for water a little black & white sketch can become something more. Here is the sketch she did on Friday evening.
The materials needed for this kind of work are a sketch book with watercolour quality paper, waterproof ink pens, watercolours, preferably in a watercolour palette set, and a good watercolour paintbrush (Jackson’s nylon retractable brush size 9 is perfect). You will also need a light container for water for some water.
Carole discovered it is possible to buy a pad of watercolour postcards so that you can paint your own postcards. She has often taken one of these pads on holiday to make a collection of holiday sketches as she finds sketching a scene cements it in the memory far better than holiday photo.
Members led studio sessions are a new idea being offered to members this year to introduce different materials or techniques and engender inspiration to the regular Friday DYOT nights, however, members are very welcome to use the session as a Do-Your-Own-Thing evening as before. Craig Whitehead, the Membership Secretary, took the opportunity to continue working on one of his portrait paintings on one of the large easels available in the studio.
The next opportunity for members to participate in a members led session will be in September when Liz Seward, FCSA President, will lead a studio workshop on Friday 22nd September. This will be the first studio session after the Annual Exhibition on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th September with the Reception Evening on Thursday 7th September.
Thanks to our Chairman’s enterprise and a band of dedicated members manning the two gazebo stands, including our President, Liz Seward on Sunday, the pop-up exhibition at Longacres Garden centre was a great success.
More than twenty paintings were sold, several portfolio paintings and numerous cards as well as some little coasters by Sarah Wilkinson. Among the paintings sold there were several by Liliya Zinchenko, a professional artist from Ukraine, who joined our society when she came to this area to escape the devastation of the war.
Fatima Pantoja studied Fine Arts in Valencia. She came to live in Hampshire from Spain in 2011. She has given a portrait demonstration to Frimley & Camberley Society of Arts in the past and she was the first artist to give the Society a Zoom demonstration when Covid prevented everyone meeting in person. She is known to a great many people now because she reached the semi finals of Portrait Artist of the Year 2019. This evening she is going to demonstrate a cityscape in acrylics.
At the start of the evening Fatima gave us a very useful little tip. She found that her canvas had developed a little dent. No need to panic. Just wet the canvas on the back and the dent will come out. Fatima explained that when she is painting she gets very excited and then she starts to speak very quickly with a noticeable Spanish accent. She plans to use different techniques in her painting and this means that what she produces will not necessarily be traditional.
Fatima prefers not to use photographs but if she is going to use a photo for reference then she makes it suit her taste and purposes. She pointed out that it is possible to change a photograph by altering its size and shape by cutting it up and manipulating the image. This evening she used scissors to make little echos of the photograph she was using for reference. She did this by having multiple copies of the image and layering them over the original photo.
When planning a painting Fatima would usually make lots of different sketches to try out a variety of shapes and sizes. If you go outside the standard format for a landscape it can become more interesting. She has chosen to paint her cityscape a portrait layout.
The original photograph has been manipulated in a way that the eye is confused and fascinated as it tries to make sense of what it sees.
Fatima uses a plastic palette that can be covered to make it airtight and preserve the paint to be used again another day. The clean palette has been prepared for this demonstration. The very colourful older paint is what happens to her paint as she works. People have their own preference for setting out the paints but Fatima uses an L-shape of warm colours going to cold colours. By keeping them separate it helps to keep the colours pure and clean. She has set out larger amount of Titanium White and Cobalt Blue. She uses Cobalt Blue with Cadmium Red to get a grey she likes or mixes it with Magenta to produce a purple.
Fatima uses colours that she likes and one of her favourite colours is pink and the large bright pot of bright pink paint will find its way into this painting too. She stresses that whatever you see is as valid as what anyone else sees. To begin she makes a pale pink colour with Pink Magenta and Titanium white. Armed with her 12 inch old brush she starts to sketch out the image. It is very important to keep looking carefully at the reference picture. Look for negative and positive spaces to help block in the buildings. You can accentuate angles to add a bit of movement. Fatima chooses to avoid buildings that are butting up to each other, ‘kissing’ as she called it, so she makes sure lines do not run into each other to create a sense of distance one building from the other. A little artistic license is always permitted.
Having blocked in an idea of the shape and position of the buildings and she made a wash of Cobalt Blue with a little Magenta and plenty of water for the sky, still using her 12 inch brush. Fatima changed to a flat head brush to add more detail. She mixes a dirty green colour of two blues and a touch of yellow and red to paint the cupola roofs. She tends to paint holding the brush at the very end. She is still only providing guidelines for the future painting.
It was interesting to see how Fatima ensures that her lines are straight and at right angles to each other. She knows that she tends to draw lines that lean a little, so she uses pieces of paper that she knows are absolutely straight as they are machine manufactured. On the other hand, she creates stencils of different shapes by cutting them out with a pair of scissors to make curves for the edge of the domes and arches on the buildings.
It is important to work all over the painting and to use colours from one area in some way in other parts to the painting to create colour harmony. Try not to concentrate on only one area at a time. This image takes the eye into the middle of the painting and to the building in the distance so it is important not to give too much detail to the foreground. She will not make a point of counting the number of windows or worry about accurately detailing the balcony pillars. Most of the time less is more.
To increase the amount of paint and the texture Fatima will use a palette knife technique. She does have an expensive silicone brush. It is possible to get these with several different shaped tips but Fatima finds that she can create the shapes she wants either by using card or glue sticks. Baker Ross glue applicator sticks are very inexpensive and work well, although they do bend a bit after a lot of use.
As well as showing the room the silicone brush she can use, she also recommended Princeton brushes and the Backer Ross glue applicator sticks which are so cheap they can be bought in boxes of 50. It was a very hot evening and everything dried very quickly however Fatima manages to keep acrylic paint for weeks by using airtight containers, even jam jars or plastic sandwich boxes will do this provided no air can get in.
Fatima is not a quick painter. A painting such as this one will take as many of ten sessions like this to work it up. Fatima will continue to develop this painting over the coming days and she will let us see it when it is finished. She stressed that it is important to remember that acrylic paint dries much darker than it looks when it is first applied. She chose this scene for the colours and she will continue to keep the colours light. White should be used with care to keep colours transparent.
It was a very hot summers evening but the time flew by and everyone appreciated the variety of information and techniques Fatima had imparted while painting at the same time. Thank you Fatima for coming to FCSA once again.
Longacres Garden Centre Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th June
Longacres Garden Centre, Bagshot has offered Frimley & Camberley Society of Arts an opportunity to promote the society and exhibit members’ artwork for sale. All the paintings, cards and mounted artwork will be available to purchase from two gazebos situated near the entrance to the garden centre.
The response by members for artwork to display at Longacres has been excellent. There will be up to 50 framed paintings, some portfolio stands of mounted paintings and a display of cards made from members artwork.
Spread the word to family and friends and encourage them to visit the stands and enjoy Longacres Garden Centre this coming weekend.
This was the first face-to-face artist demonstration since the Coronavirus lockdowns. There was a large attendance with a full room of 24 people, some painting with Rebecca and some just watching.
Rebecca Le Tourneau has been teaching in Surrey Adult Education for 7 years which includes Mixed Media, Portrait Painting and beginners acrylics. She has a degree in Fine Arts and went straight into teaching as a secondary school teacher but changed to adult education quite quickly.
She handed out a step-by-step information sheet for this demonstration/workshop.
She says that she can paint a portrait either very quickly or take hours depending on her mood and how the painting is going. Usually she starts off very loose but can get into minor details and doesn’t always know when to stop. If she was doing a detailed portrait, she would use a pencil sketch with more accuracy. With a loose painting it’s not needed as much.
To paint looser, she uses a bigger brush and a limited colour palette with just 3 or 4 colours/tones. Tonight she will use Paynes Grey, Raw Umber, Pale Umber and a bit of White. You can use any colour as long as you use a dark, mid and light tone. (With more colours you have more decisions to make. By limiting the palette, you concentrate more on the brush strokes)
To start she painted the entire paper using a mixture of Paynes Grey and Raw Umber with a sponge. Ideally two coats would be preferable (and drying in between the two coats) but due to this being live, she is only using one coat. Try to get the paint laid down as flat as possible. DO NOT add any water to it.
She then drew the face with a fine paint brush and white paint. You can either draw it free hand or trace the image. When tracing ideally the image should be the same size as your paper/canvas.
She then blocked in a slightly paler background around the shape of the head in a few areas.
She started painting the dark colours then went onto the lighter ones. (Try to retain the dark areas in the portrait.)
After an hour she finished and said that she could go on and on and probably did about 250+ strokes in the end.
Rebecca mentioned that this is more of a learning task than a perfect portrait painting and people in the room were keen to respond to the idea as they painted along with her.
After the tea-break Rebecca demonstrated how effective limitations can be by producing a second portrait from this reference photo of a woman with intricate braids in her hair in under half an hour.
Rebecca was asked if she paints straight from the tubes of paint and she said that as soon as you start adding water, the paint becomes translucent and the pigment isn’t as strong. You can add a flow enhancer/improver to the paint to keep it open longer, but only need a little drop of it with the paint.
The paint she used is a mixture of Daler Rowney System 3 and Windsor & Newton Galleria.
Getting back into the studio for a live demonstration was evidently appreciated by all those who attended. It was good to feel a buzz of activity in the room and lots of friendly chatter and discourse.
With thanks to Patti Dutton for her write up and to Peter Tuitt for some of the photographs.
Rebecca de Mendonca is a pastel artist based near Exeter, South West England. She often finds inspiration for her landscape paintings from nearby Dartmoor. She will cover elements such as the use of soft pastels to capture atmosphere and distance in landscapes. She will also give lots of tips on colour choices, colour-mixing, and use of tone and saturation. She intends to put figures in the landscape to create a sense of scale.
One important way in which pastel painting differs from paint is that pastels have to be mixed on the surface of the artwork itself. Rebecca likes to work on a primed surface. She uses Art Spectrum Colourfix, an acrylic primer with pumice, mixing white and deep blue and painting it onto the mount card with a two inch old decorators brush. It has to be accepted that textured surfaces do eat up the pastels more quickly than paper.
Rebecca is going to use two sets of pastels; a starter set and a mini earthy landscape set. She will also use a little charcoal and a rubber and pastel pencils to draw the figures.
To begin there are four things to consider. (1) Tone – light or dark; (2) Saturation – how vivid are the colours. (3) Warm or Cool – creates sense of distance; (4) Mark making – movement and energy.
Rebecca likes to do a little thumbnail in black and white to develop the composition. She will make the horizon quite high and a strong diagonal creates a sense of drama. The size of the figures will give a sense of scale. She illustrated tone with a tonal ladder from darkest charcoal to lightest white.
The sky will be the lightest element and will become less saturated as it goes into the distance. The same is true for the foreground. The warmest tones will be at the front and the cool ones will be in the distance. The darkest darks and lightest lights are nearest to the viewer. The grasses will give light and life to the foreground. The figures will be in the middle distance and in a mid-tone.
Colour mixing is the next consideration. With pastels it is best to experiment on a spare piece of paper as it is not easy to know how different colours will mix. Rebecca uses Unison pastels. Different brands mix differently. To blend she needs a good amount of pastel and with a textured board it can be quite rough on the fingers. At times it is easier to use the palm of the hand.
Rebecca has used a lilac in the mid distance to create the muted colours in the landscape. She also used it in the clouds to give them the softness of a warm summer day. She used cream to give the hint of sun on the clouds. She does not always start at the top of a pastel painting but with this landscape it makes sense. She often works on an easel but not when giving a Zoom Demonstration.
The camera has not coped well with the colours in the shadows of the rocks. Mark making on the rocks give them a craggy look. Rebecca twists and turns her hand and uses the edges of the pastels to make sharp marks. The facets and sharp edges contrast with the soft lines the fields in the distance. Twisting and varying the pressure produces interesting marks.
Rebecca gave some useful tips. She brings all the colours she uses in the sky down into the landscape to make a gentle transition. When it came to the field boundaries she pointed out that the land curves away so the trees do not have trunks as they follow the lie of the land. Rebecca is keeping the mid-distance quite light to contrast with the figures. She uses a scraper to take off any loose pigment and she wipes her pastels clean on a piece of kitchen paper.
For the foreground grasses Rebecca used the light yellow olive. The long grass will help to give the impression being much nearer and push the landscape back into the distance. To neutralise the yellow she knocked it back using the lilac colour. She then decided to try an orange colour and a little pink to add interest.
After the break Rebecca was going to put in the figures. She wants these to suggest movement. She mentioned a book “Figure Drawing Without a Model by Ron Tiner as a good reference source. She likes to simplify figures and bring the legs together. Remember perspective. Heads should be on the same level whether near or far away. In this landscape there is no clue as to where the heads should go but Rebecca knows the size of the figures will give scale to the rocks.
Notice the curve line on the back of the girl which will help to indicate movement. Rebecca has emphasised the hood on the man’s jacket to add form. She uses a brown pastel pencil to draw the figures lightly. She then uses a dark blue, (never black in a landscape), to develop the figures. She adds yellow ochre to highlight the edge of the figures and adds a suggestion of a ginger colour for the girl’s hair. With good quality pastels it is possible to use a light colour over dark. By adding a few light lines around the figures it is even possible to suggest more movement.
Although Rebecca has masses of different pastels in jars, in box lids and in drawers in her studio she tends to just take a set of cool colours and a set of warm ones when she goes out to sketch.
This is a little sketch to illustrate the warm and cool colours. The concept remains the same as what she has demonstrated this evening. There are strong darks in the foreground and muted shades in the distance in the background. Rebecca uses cellophane to protect her work. It is effective since even if some of the pastel attaches to the cellophane it is placed back where it came from when the cellophane is replaced, so the work remains clear.
Rebecca had a great variety of work in her studio in different stages of development. This painting of horses is on a very large scale and has taken some time to do and is not complete yet. She is very productive and has run a number of different courses to encourage people to use pastels. She is running a pastel course in Exeter in July and there is one more Zoom Workshop entitled “Travelling with Pastels” on Monday 3rd April which can be accessed via Eventbrite at £15.00 for two hours.
Covid has caused enormous disruption to everyone’s lives, not least of all to the life of an art society. The lockdowns meant societies could not meet together and the answer was to resort to on line exhibitions and demonstrations. It makes sense to continue to take advantage of being able to have online exhibitions and Zoom Demonstrations, while returning to face-to-face activities agin. However, it would seem that people have changed some of the things they do. The number of people attending regular studio sessions has reduced considerably. Managing change is always challenging.
Below is the email that the Chairman, Peter Tuitt, has sent to FCSA members to explain the actions that FCSA has decided to do to address this problem.
Dear FCSA Member,
The committee has had to make a tough decision. Up until now we have opened the studio every Friday evening. We have not yet recovered to the numbers of members attending the studio to Pre Covid numberswhich means that for the past year we haven’t yet managed to be anywhere near to covering the rental cost of the studio and are running the sessions at a loss.
You will see that the new studio sessions will be every 2nd & 4th Friday every month commencing this Friday 10th March. If and when the numbers of members attending increases to near pre Covid we can hopefully go back to every Friday.
We do hope that with the lighter evenings and better weather coming soon, you will feel able to return to the Friday studio sessions.
You will also see we have changed DYOT (Do Your Own Thing) to STUDIO LIVE it was suggested that DYOT sounded like you are on your own and not in a friendly environment. So, for no other reason we have changed it to STUDIO LIVE.
You will also see we have got some new events for you to take part in and enjoy in the coming year. Pop up Exhibitions and members doing demo workshops on various Friday evenings, which you may choose to take part in. Demonstrations in the summer will be face to face in the Studio, while in the winter they will be via Zoom.
The Function Room of the Canal Centre provided a warm, inviting environment for the majority of those who came to the Canal Centre Painting Day on Saturday, although a few hardy souls ventured out into the cold to paint en plein air beside the canal.
Despite the freezing cold there were some artists who braved the weather and took advantage of the scenes outside.
It must be admitted that the majority of people remained in the warm, carpeted environment of the Function Room where there was also hot tea and coffee available. A picnic hamper and a pink hyacinth provided a still life to draw if desired, although some artists chose to take photographs of the canal and then draw from these inside.
There was a lovely variety of work produced. Here are some of the results of our efforts.
The event was well attended and even attracted a few people who were not members who had either come along to see what we were doing or to paint with us. As a result a couple of people decided to join FCSA on the day which was very pleasing.
Peter Tuitt, the chairman, pictured above, was impressed by the enthusiasm of those taking part given the inclement weather and assures everyone that the next painting day will be later in the year when hopefully there might even be some summer sunshine.
Frimley & Camberley Society of Arts held the AGM on Friday 3rd February 2023 via Zoom. It was good to see so many members on the screen. The AGM minutes of the meeting will be sent out to members when the current membership list is confirmed.
The Chairman’s Report
The Chairman, Peter Tuitt, opened the meeting by saying FCSA has come through the worst of the Covid pandemic but, like all art societies and clubs, is suffering a drop in the number of members. The committee is keen to find ways to increase attendance at the Friday evening meetings and intends to take on the suggestions made in the recent members’ survey.
Peter Tuitt has been Chairman for the past four years. He thanked the committee and members of the society whose efforts have enabled the society to provide several opportunities to exhibit members’ paintings over the course of that time. The main event of the year is the Annual Exhibition, and there have been opportunities to exhibit at Frimley Lodge Park, the Queen’s Jubilee event and the Frimley Green Christmas Market. There are also paintings and cards by FCSA members at the Heritage Gallery in Camberley Mall.
FCSA Annual Exhibition Winners 2022.
The Winland Award, for Sera Knight for Red Bus & Black Cab.
The FCSA Committee Prize. Valerie Painter for Thirsty.
THE Themed Competition. Lesley Kilner for Living Legends.
The Val Brooks Award for best Pastel
Lisa Clifford for Newlands Corner.
The Seward Memorial Trophy, Carole Head for Flying Free (Also known as the People’s Choice).
Peter secured seven sponsors for the Annual Exhibition last year which helped the exhibition make a small profit. Pullingers Art Shop in Farnham also offers FCSA members a discount.
The Treasurer’s Report
Lesley Kilner began her report by saying that FCSA are grateful that over the last 60+ years of the Art Society there has been a gradual healthy accumulation of funds. This does not mean that we can squander these assets, – but it does allow us a cushion in these hard times. She went on to outline the areas where rising costs are creating a deficit and the different ways the committee are looking at to mitigate this.
The suggestion that the membership fee should go up from £16 to £20 in 2024 was passed by a majority vote. It was also agreed that there needs to be a concerted effort to increase the membership.
The Membership Secretary’s Report
Craig Whitehead is the Membership Secretary and he reported that there were some members who had not renewed this year. He went on to outline some of the points raised by members in the recent survey. Dark nights in the winter was a major deterrent. The committee has considered addressing this by closing the studio between Christmas and the AGM.
Demonstrations saw the membership divided between those who strongly prefer studio based demos and those who like the convenience staying at home to view them via Zoom. The committee has booked a mix for this year with Zoom demos during the winter months and a couple of studio based demonstrations in the summer.
Sue Whitehead reported on opportunities for members to exhibit in the coming year
Annual Exhibition (Thurs 7th Sept – Sat 9th September 2023
Coronation Celebration at Frimley Lodge
Pop up exhibitions at Long Acres and Tesco
Exhibitions at the Heritage Gallery and on-line
Frimley Green Christmas Market
The Webmaster’s Report
Olga Salgado is FCSA’s webmaster. She reported that peak viewing/visit to the website occurred around the time of the exhibition. Olga produced a number of charts to illustrate the way the website is being accessed and it was clear there were more visits this year than last. Olga reminded everyone that each member has an individual page if they have exhibited on line and at an exhibition.
Election of the Executive Committee
The Executive Committee was re-elected unopposed with the exception of the Honorary Secretary. Very sadly, the Honorary Secretary, Valerie Painter, had to step down for health reasons earlier this year. The society is very fortunate to have discovered a new member, Patti Dutton, who was prepared to be co-opted onto the committee and agreed to take on the role of Honorary Secretary. She was confirmed in this role by a majority vote.
Please note this is an account of what took place. The AGM Minutes with facts and figures will go to the membership in an email.