Jane Dwight

Due to the change of venue Jane had to do her demonstration of Chinese Calligraphy painting upright, rather than on a flat surface, which she achieved with beautiful results.  During the afternoon a brief history of Chinese painting tradition and equipment used, was imparted to the audience.  Like the 4 treasures:
Brushes some a finer grade than water colour ones, from badger to chicken feathers.
Ink blocks which are ground with water.
Ink stone used to grind the ink blocks.
Paper like Mulberry bark, hemp, bamboo - some with added golden flecks.


Whilst making the fluid strokes Jane applied varying pressure on the brush thus altering the intensity of the paint or ink and also giving dry brush areas, like the birds feathers.  The Chinese paint contains Gum Arabic which helps to preserve the paint when mounting it on lining paper with wall paper paste.


To complete the painting and keeping with Chinese tradition a seal, either representing the Yin-Yang  was stamped in red along with a signature.  

Traditional bamboo - honesty and uprightness


  Crested crane on Mulberry bark paper with gold flecks

Brett Hudson

Brett started with a near complete illustration to show the techniques he uses to paint the final picture and proceeded to work backwards during the demonstration and finish at the early sketch and ideas stage.  For this article I will put it in sequence.

The paper Brett used was Bockingford 300 gsm, hot pressed water colour paper which meant that there was no need to stretch it before hand. The sketched outlines were in pencil and began as basic shapes and padded out afterwards.   The final lines of the images were drawn with permanent ink using a dip pen, which he feels gives variation and interest to a line, unlike a fine liner pen.  It also means that paint can be applied directly over it without the worry of bleeding or smudging.

He also used a limited palette, Cerulean Blue, Ultra Marine Blue, Hooker Green, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber and Sap Green - no black,  which helps to eliminate 'muddy colours' and ensures they sit together well in the painting.  It also enables easy mixing, especially for book illustrations where images are repeated.


The washes were applied in varying intensity of pigment and the layers applied built up depth of colour.  This technique is more time consuming but Brett believes it gives the images form and contrasts, a more interesting finish. Hard edges weren't always blended out so to give a different effect - see close up of flying ducks.


Brett's numerous sketch books, reference material and paintings were on display throughout the afternoon and his attention to detail and his observation of people and his surroundings had you looking time and again at the images and seeing something new each time until you finally began to appreciated the full story within the pictures.

Nicola Liddell - Website Editor
14th February 2015

Alan Luff

Alan Luff starting the paint along by sharing his two passions in life, listening to Jazz performed by black musicians and painting art. 

He began painting approximately 20 years ago as a hobby to enjoy in his retirement.  Initially he joined an art group in Lydd, but unfortunately he quickly became discontented, mainly because they insisted that he paint subjects he was not interested in.  He eventually got tired of being told that he should not paint in his unique loose style and that both black and white paints must not ever be used!

Alan subsequently, left the group after about 6 months to explore and develop his own style of painting, black musicians and Romney Marsh landscapes. This has led him to become a recognised artist, who at one time was commissioned to paint numerous pictures to decorate many walls inside one of P&O's cross channel ferries. Latterly, he has become President to both Folkestone Art Society and the Lydd Forge Art Group.
For the 'paint along,' Alan showed us how to paint a jazz musician portrait and explained that he always sketches his portraits in water colour pencils first, the reason being that when he put his colour washes on, the pencil marks will disappear, saving the necessity to rub out standard graphite pencil marks which usually result in damaging the surface of the paper.

Alan handed out some photographs of his musician portrait paintings and then showed his painting technique to the 25 members attending.  He initially applied washes to both the background and portrait face, allowed these to dry, he then followed with tone washes, ensuring no hard edges were left.  Finally, he very loosely applied a final coat using his individual style of very dark paints to bring out facial details and emphasizing all the light tones. Throughout his demonstration, Alan constantly went round to everyone, helping and advising them with their paintings.

Alan is well known for his very fast method of painting and to further emphasise this, while everyone was still working on their own portrait painting he finished his demonstration portrait then started and finished another Romney Marsh landscape painting, simply using his memory as reference.

At the end of the 'paint along'
session, everyone attending agreed that it was a very interesting, informative and enjoyable afternoon and showed Alan their appreciation with a round of applause.

Richard Larkin

Richard is an artist from East Sussex who originally trained in ceramics.  He now works in pen and ink, watercolour and acrylics to paint a variety of subjects from coastal, maritime to landscapes, trees and foliage.

For this demonstration Richard's chosen subject was a coastal storm using interactive acrylic on a prepared canvas.  He went on to explain the benefits of using interactive acrylics, such as being able to reactivate the paint even after several weeks and after the paint had formed a skin as they are a water based medium.  This could be achieved by spraying the area and re-hydrating the paints, something that would be impossible with 'normal acrylics'.

Richard used 4 colours - Titanium White, Cobalt Blue, Light Red Ochre and Yellow Ochre applied with synthetic brushes.  He masked the horizon and used a combination of these colours for the sky and clouds blending the colours on the canvas and spraying the canvas with water when the brush started to drag so to keep the paint fluid. 

After removing the masking tape, a white horizon line was left as he began the sea by blending the colours down towards the foreground and making sure the sky was reflected in the sea.  Some rocks were added and the white sea spray was applied by pushing the paint into the canvas and flicking.  Wave patterns/shapes were put in and blended to avoid hard edges and darks were added to give form, contrast and texture to the sea and surf.  Richard continued this process building up the movement of the storm on the sea.


In the foreground ripples were put in between the rocks and blended.  Lighter areas built up the sea foam, reflections and texture on the rocks and to indicate they were wet.  Using a still bristle brush, white acrylic was splattered to indicate the spray of the sea surf.  

Finally by using a water spray Richard return to the sky and re-activated the paint enabling him to add stormy clouds and blend them in with the paint previously applied at the start of the demonstration.

Interactive Acrylics
Interactive acrylic dries quite matte but they are a good medium for under painting when using acrylics and oils.  They can be used like watercolour paints on paper but they are not as bright or translucent.   As they are water based they do not damage brushes.  When used on canvas they need to be varnished to stabilise them.

Nicola Liddell - Website Editor
19th January 2015

Brian Oxley

Brian made a great start to the 2015 programme with a still life demonstration in oils.  He began by roughing in the still life subject using a mixture of ultramarine blue and crimson on a sheet of MDF prepared with a mixture of Gesso and a little Indian blue acrylic to create a mid blue background.  

He then blocked in various areas with colours thinned with white spirit during the first half of the demonstration, whilst holding a dialog with the 27 of members watching him, about the highlights of his life painting both explaining why he likes to paint loose and why Picasso's African phase has influenced his work.



During the second half of the demonstration, surprisingly the thinned blocking paint had dried allowing Brian to start applying solid colours defining the final details of his subject material to finish his painting, taking care to ensure that all colours were balanced throughout his inspiring work.

Brian had many examples of his finished paintings on display and happily chatted to our members about them during the half time refreshment break.

Jeff Phipps

7th January

Joe Dowden

The large audience chose the image of a stream running through woodland for Joe's demonstration in watercolour.   He used Arches 140 rough paper and began mapping out shapes and spaces for the trees, rocks and water and made sure that the distant bushes didn't fall midway and divide the picture in to three equal sections.

Joe throughout the demonstration gave advice on colours, if you can't identify a colour it's grey (Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna make a perfect grey) and Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow and Thalo Green make perfect greens.

Masking fluid applied with
a splayed out hogs hair brush in a stippling motion was used to preserve the sparkle of the water and a fine brush to keep the white areas on the rocks and leaves.  This medium gives shape and texture no other medium can make - constructive masking.

Yellow tones were added to the background and splatters of different tones were added along with more water to give the impression of leaves.  Grey was used in the foreground for the rocks and was loosely built up with light greys to save light areas.  As good tip - paint colours onto a scrap piece of paper and offer up against the photograph to see if the correct tone rather than applying directly on to your work.

Maples Yellow and Cobalt Blue were used as an opaque green for the trees and leaf mass in the distance.  Then an intense dark was added to some trees to bring them to the foreground and define dark areas in the woodland and rocks.  The dry brush technique was used to leave white areas to build up the ragged shapes of the rocks.  Alternatively by wetting some of the rocks before adding the greys gave a diffused effect in contrast to other harsh edges.


For the water, Joe applied a neutral grey (Cobalt Blue and Paynes Grey) with a dry brush in horizontal strokes and blended dark areas under the rocks to form shadows.  Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna were used to indicate the ripples and reflections of the rocks and trees.  The beams of light coming through the trees where produced by wetting the paper and lifting the colour with kitchen towels until the colour was sufficiently removed and the rays of light were defined.  After drying the painting the masking tape was removed and some white areas that were revealed were softened with colour to make them more natural, like the leaves and rocks.

For workshop information go to www.joedowden.com

Nicola Liddell - Website Editor
9th November 2014
Kay Curtis

Kay welcomed, with her usual infectious humour, a full hall of eager artists to her landscape paint along.  The pre-drawn picture on HP200 paper of St. Clement church had a wash of maples yellow to give an underlying warmth to the picture.


Using a warm grey  (Burnt Sienna and tad of Paynes Grey) dramatic clouds were added.  By turning the paper upside down and dampening the horizon the same colour was used to add hazy tree lines and distant bushes.

Kay then concentrated on the church itself using yellow and Brown Madder for the roofs and when dry, shadows were added to give depth and dimension to the building.

When the background was dry, trees, birds and a fence were added to draw the eye in.  The sheep in the foreground were painted in Raw Sienna and purple and a watercolour pen was used to add the final details.

Nicola Liddell - Website Editor
22nd October 2014