Sketching on Holiday

Leisure Painter magazine has articles by both David and myself this month. David’s article interprets a scene in Yorkshire painted by Turner two centuries ago and my article reflects on autumn colour in pastel. There is also a bonus feature by me at Painters Online, (scroll to the bottom of the page) the online branch of the magazine, on the subject of Rapid Sketching which shows a number of  sketches from my journey through Vietnam and Cambodia. A good way to improve your sketching is to restrict yourself to 5 or 10 minute sketches. This forces you to concentrate on the most important features and to leave out unimportant details. It also improves your hand to eye co-ordination. As an exercise try sketching without looking at the drawing, keeping your eye on the subject and use quick fluid lines. It may not work first time but it can be quite liberating and often surprisingly good images emerge.

Mekong River sketch

Sketch of Mekong River, Vietnam

Farm in Mid Wales

Farm in Mid Wales, pastel by Jenny Keal

David and I are taking part in an exhibition in Mid Wales next month (October 2012)  entitled Our Fragile Heritage at the Crossroads, to highlight the threats to our precious wild landscapes. The whole of Mid Wales, from the English border to the Celtic Sea, from Snowdonia to the Brecon Beacons is under unprecedented pressure from industrialisation.  David and Jenny will be exhibiting landscape paintings to highlight the threats to these endangered landscapes. They will be joined by other artists and local campaign groups working to protect their environment. Jenny will be demonstrating Pastel Techniques and David will be giving an illustrated talk on 9th October click here  for details.


Demonstrating in Pastel

Watercolour sketch of Llyn Gwynant

Below is the demonstration painting that I did for Sandpiper Studio last weekend. This event was organised by owner Julie McLean who also teaches painting. The subject of the demonstration was water and reflections so I chose this view of Llyn Gwynant which I had sketched on a damp day. (Above) You can see the speckles where the rain has fallen on the sketch whilst the wash was still wet. I quite like painting watercolour sketches in the rain. It keeps the washes fluid and prevents you fussing about with the detail. I emphasised to the audience the importance of sketching to capture mood and atmosphere. Something that is difficult to capture in a photograph.

Llyn Gwynant, pastel by Jenny Keal

The painting was done with Unison Pastels on Fisher 400 Art paper, which is an abrasive surface and extremely good for creating mood and atmosphere and for portraying reflections. The distant mountain was kept cooler in colour, lighter in tone and without any detail. These three tips will help with the illusion of recession. The autumn colours on the foreground trees also help with this illusion, as their bright, warm colours  and stronger tones stand out well against the soft blue grey background.
If you are anywhere near Llandrindod Wells this week please come along to Art in the Park on Wednesday 22nd August where I will be demonstrating in pastel and on Thursday 23rd August where David will be demonstrating in watercolour. You can even join in and do your own painting of the Rock Park for the exhibition at the weekend.

Pastel Painting Demonstrations

River Wye at Erwood

River Wye above Erwood, Pastel by Jenny Keal painted as a demonstration at the Summer of Great Events 2011

August is a busy month this year. I will be doing three demonstrations, two of which are free.

  1. 11th August at Erwood Station Craft Centre and Gallery near Builth Wells, as part of the Summer of Great Events. I will be at the station most of the day, demonstrating in pastel and leading a walk to the River Wye to sketch the scene above. This event is free.
  2. 17 August at The Sandpiper Studio on the Wirral. An afternoon in Julie McLean’s lovely studio learning how to portray water in pastel. I will be sharing my secrets on how to achieve atmosphere and recession in your landscape paintings. There is a charge for this session.
  3. 22 August at Art in the Park in Llandrindod Wells as part of their Victorian Festival. You are invited to come and watch me sketch and paint in the Rock Park and to try your hand at producing your own painting. Materials will be provided. This event is free of charge.

If you want to improve your painting, or if you just want to get started, then come along to one of the above events and join in the fun.  The painting above was a demonstration at last year’s Summer of Great Events at Erwood Station Craft Centre and Gallery. We had a lovely sunny day last year, let’s hope it is fine again this year.

Demonstrating at Erwood Station last year.

More Pan Pastels – Monument Valley

This is another painting that I did with Pan Pastel. This time I used a sheet of white Clairefontaine Pastel Mat paper. This paper has a good tooth which is not quite so ‘sharp’ as sandpaper.

The challenge this time was the warm colour of the distant features, especially the right hand mitten, which would make creating a sense of recession quite difficult. When the painting was almost finished the colours of the two ‘mittens’ was very similar so I loaded the oval sponge with a light coating of white pan pastel and patted it gently over the distant ‘butte’ to push it into the distance.

My family and I travelled to Monument Valley earlier this year to celebrate my 60th birthday. Since a child I have loved cowboy films and many of them were filmed in this very special scenery. To fulfill one of my lifetime ambitions, we hired horses and went riding through the buttes with a Navajo guide. We also went to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Mesa Verde, so we ticked off several more of my amibitions whilst we were there.

Free Demonstrations at Aberlasney Gardens

Clegyr Boia

Clegyr Boia, Pembrokshire

I am at Aberglasney Gardens in Carmarthenshire tomorrow, 15th September all day where I am taking part in a joint exhibition.

I will be painting off and on during the day. You are welcome to come and watch.

I will also be there on Saturday 17th and Thursday 22nd .
The exhibition continues until 22nd September