FIGURES ON A BEACH IN OILS.
Last Tuesday afternoon saw approximately 24 members and visitors enjoy a wonderful demonstration by Ros Psakis. We had technical issues with our camera, and then a blackout, so the afternoon didn’t follow our usual well-honed procedures, but nonetheless, a great afternoon of inspiration was had by all. How lucky are we to have our Coach House, where we could move onto the verandah and enjoy the afternoon sunshine while Ros created a charming scene of figures in a beach setting. Thank you Ros, the Committee and everyone in attendance for being so accommodating and adapting to the changes.
Before the blackout
HINTS FROM ROS: Use a limited palette: Blue , Red and Yellow with warmer and cooler in each of these, plus Titanium White. Mix on a white surface.
Brushes: Long handled, chisel edge, long bristle. Art Basics or Neef brand
Medium: Lean medium, reduced odour, attached to easel in a Birdseed holder. Odorless solvent in a large jar for cleaning brushes
Using photos: Outdoor painting limits the subject to what doesn’t move, so use photos as well. Learn to interpret the photo so your work becomes a painting, not a painted photo. Check lighting state – front lit, back lit, side lit etc. Turn photo upside down to help see the tones – lightest lights etc. Keep the photo easily visible and refer constantly.
Palette mixing: Mix basic colour (eg for 3 tones for skin -light red and yellow for basic skin tone, then adjust with a little white on one edge for lighter tone, a little blue on another edge to darken, leaving basic mid tone in centre, so the basic mix can be adjusted lighter or darker as required). Same method for other colours and tones
Shadows: Ultra with a touch of light red. Shadows anchor figures to ground
Ros’s Rule of Threes: Three colours ( blue, red, yellow): Three elements of figures (skin, hair, clothes): Three skin tones (Light, mid and darkest -plus highlights): Three drawing directions (horizontal, vertical, oblique): Figures ( basically skin, hair, clothes), Three lighting states outside.
After- on the Coach House deck in the winter sunshine.
PROCESS: Sketch composition first in charcoal, then make quick additions of a neutral bluey grey using a no 2 brush. Scrub in mid tone skin, going over edge lines, then darker tones. Do same for three tones of dress colours, sky, sand, sea etc, working to cover the whole surface.
Keep correcting the drawing while refining the tones. Then reference the photo to add highlights .
Always check you can see the three tones plus highlights in your painting.
Keep checking, refining and making neat edges. Remember colour is only as good as the colour next to it allows it to be.
Special thanks Ros for a wonderful demo under difficult circumstances, to Robyn, and helpers for a great afternoon tea, even without the hot water, and Lesley Hetherington for solving the camera problem, which is now fixed and ready for our next demonstration.
Some of the wonderful paintings Ros brought to inspire us.
– Photos by Doreen Teasdale