Bruce Argue

The RMAS would like to thank Molly who very kindly agreed to be Bruce's model for the afternoon.  Bruce's first portrait  was in chalk pastel and he went through his pallet and introduced a new ultra soft PanPastel.  He used thick lining paper which has adequate tooth to retain the pastel applications.

Charcoal was used to draw the head and guidelines were added so that Molly's features would be in the right position and in proportion.

Bruce then shocked the audience by applying red pastel all over the face and then went on to add further colours and blending these to achieve the complexion and skin tone, he then did the same with the hair. 


Next he re-drew the features and added highlights to the forehead, nose, chin and eye area blending in with his fingers.  Bruce picked up colours from other areas of the picture and used these to add shadows and exaggerated these at times to emphasise the features.  Various colours were added to build up the background and blended with fingers, sponge and a 'Sofft' tool applicator for more controlled blending.

In Bruce's second demonstration he used oil pastels on 100% cotton canvas board using a limited pallet of 2 x reds, blues, yellows 1 x white along with white spirit applied with fabric scraps.  He began as before mapping out Molly's features and applying a base coat but this time he blended the oil pastels with soft or hard strokes using the fabric moistened with white spirit .  When this was dry he re-drew features using charcoal, this blends with the oils and won't come off.  The oils pastels on the other hand remain workable for a week or more depending on the thickness to which they have been applied.

Bruce then added further colours and blended again to build up the skin tones, hair and background.  He then went on to add highlights and shadows using a small area of various coloured oil pastels he put down on the corner of his canvas .  Some areas of the portrait where softened or details were scratch into the surface to form the highlights and waves in the hair.


Nicola Liddell
Website Editor

23rd April 2014

Geoff Thorpe

Geoff's chosen subject was a street view of Kersey in Suffolk, synonymous with paintings by James Fletcher-Watson.  Geoff uses stretched canvas as the No.26 palette knife glides over the surface easily, this was primed several days earlier with left over oils just to knock out the white.  He went over his limited palette, his preference to oils rather than water based oils, his belief that rather than brushes a palette knife gives a freer painting and less of a tendency to fiddle with too much detail and that much of the mixing of colours would be done on the canvas itself.


First Geoff drew in his horizon line using the edge of the blade and then went on to infill the sky using the palette knife in circular motions to give an undercoat of whites and blues rather than adding details - like butter on toast, spread it on and scrape it off.  Finally finishing off with his fingers to blend to a gentle transgression of colours.

Geoff then added a distant line of trees using varying pressure on the knife to give different effects, again only to give an impression of shapes.  The blade was used on edge to put in the fine lines of the buildings and a bend of the knife gave a dip to the roofs.  Geoff emphasied the importance of keeping the blade clean to insure these lines were sharp and that colours weren't added to other areas.  The knife was used in downward strokes to put in the tiles and sides of the buildings whilst blending in new colours and those underneath.


Finer details like windows, branches and foliage were added to the buildings, trees and foreground either by adding more paint or by scratching into existing painted areas.  Geoff squeezed paint directly onto the canvas and mixed this with other colours to indicate the road which leads the eye through the painting. Highlights, darker shadows were then added to balance the painting along with spring flowers to finished off the street view in Kersey.

Nicola Liddell
Website Editor

10th April 2014

Melanie Cambridge

Melanie began the demonstration by going through all the mediums she would be using during the afternoon, from acrylic paint, ink, single ply paper towel, PVA glue to heavy molding paste.  She also explained the importance of priming canvases and MDF boards adequately with acrylic Gesso before using them.

Melanie started outlining her composition in charcoal using various sketches she had made on location and recommended changing the proportions of paintings to add variety and change the point of interest.

Melanie first added various vibrant coloured inks using a mop brush letting them blend and run forming the under painting of the picture.  Whilst the ink dried she applied acrylic paint to the sky and added medium to thicken the paint to add another dimension.  She then painted in the boats along with their high-lights and shadows.

To add texture and to demonstrate the process, PVA diluted with water was applied to the area under the boat in the foreground then torn paper towel was applied, this would be painted over with acrylic paint when dry.  Using a flat brush Melanie painted the water and sandbanks and used a scrubbing motion to add distant to the mud banks in the background.  

Estuary Moods in mixed media

Finally Melanie added birds to the water's edge and flattened off the lower left hand corner of the painting with purple paint. She reiterated the need to be in-situ of the scene to capture and maintain its life and vibrancy and therefore not be tempted to add unnecessary details or over work areas of the picture.

Nicola Liddell

Website Editor
22nd March 2014

Andrew Blythe

Andrew promised the audience 3 quick watercolour sketches and he didn't disappoint.  He began with Fairfield Church a very popular location for many artists, next was a view from Rye overlooking the River Rother and finally  dramatic waves.

Andrew prefers to draw with a rigger brush and not pencils when laying down the basic image which will disappear when the washes are applied.  The first two views had a lot of abstract qualities and these shapes were  used for the buildings and features of the river.

                            Fairfield Church                                                                                     Rye

Using a mop brush Andrew applied loose washes over the whole painting to create unity.  He left areas of white paper and blotted out colour to show light.  He then went in again and softened the hard edges, added his darks to bring out the light and negative painting to achieve the shapes he wanted.



Finally he used colour as a basis for tone and worked down the page using various brushes to give texture and soften whilst adding directional stokes to show contrast.

Andrew is holding an exhibition at the The Fountain Gallery, Hampton Court London from
10th - 22nd June 2014.

Nicola Liddell
Website Editor

5th March 2014

David Aspinall

David began his watercolour demonstration by showing a sketch of Cranbrook and explained how he had used an artists prerogative of moving objects to make a more balanced and pleasing view without losing the atmosphere of the scene, in this case the windmill.

David used bold colours to build up the background, to isolate the areas of light and  paint in the shadows whilst reminiscing about his early painting experiences and how these were influenced by the weather and his meetings with Edward Wesson.

Kentish scene with people

David prefers to blend his colours on the paper so he can see the strength of colour and tones.  He continued the painting ensuring that there was not too much detail but an impression of buildings and people by varying the colours, depth of shadows and by using dry brush strokes. 

The RMAS Committee and Members were surprise and delighted to see Anne Payne at the demonstration and looking so well considering the last few months, welcome back Anne. 

The Chairman thanked Anne for kindly agreeing to become the RMAS President after the sad loss of Betsy.

Nicola Liddell
Website Editor

15th February 2014

Keith Collins

Keith gave RMAS Members a relaxed and informative afternoon of wet in wet watercolour painting.  His step by step tutorial was followed eagerly by the group and his invaluable advice and tips on paper and paint consistency was appreciated by all who attended. 

The RMAS would like to thank Keith for stepping in for Anne Payne who was unable due to illness to present her paint along with flowers afternoon.


Nicola Liddell
Website Editor

5th February 2014

Curtis Tappenden

Curtis delighted the Society again with his exuberant delivery of poetry and entertaining anecdotes, all whilst producing a vibrant pastel painting acknowledging the architecture in both plants and buildings.

With his clever use of colours and confident strokes he blended the pastels and built up tones.  He finally added texture and allure to his picture by applying the pastels in a downward motion and by cross hatching.



At the end of the demonstration Curtis kindly requested that the finished picture be forwarded to Anne Payne along with his good wishing for a speedy recovery, as do all the Committee and society Members.


The RMAS Committee and its Members would like to thank Curtis for an inspiring and thoroughly entertaining afternoon.

Nicola Liddell 
Website Editor

9th January 2014

Dawn O'Sullivan

Dawn gave an oil painting demonstration entitled 'Ascension' and interpretation of her personal body aura.