So last week saw us exploring ways that we can recreate texture found in nature through the use of Acrylic Mediums and a Gelli Plate!
After taking some reference photos in the local park we came back and looked at how we could replicate different types of tree bark, moss and undergrowth without using a brush!
The first way to find out exactly what each of our Mediums could do was to create a reference board.
We used these really cheap panels from the SAA as our base and divided them up into 12 squares.
In each square we added a small amount of colour to each Acrylic Medium to see how many textures we could create!
Crackle Paste was not a success and we are still playing with that to see if we can get the desired effect. It requires a lot of patience as can take up to 3 days to start to 'Crackle'! Dries to an opaque, matte finish, with an absorbent surface suitable for acrylic paints and mediums.
Fine Pumice Gel is a great texture to add to your canvas and you can either add it to Gesso to give the canvas or ground some tooth, or add it into your colour for instance effect.
The Fine version of this medium is also really good for creating a 'tooth' for pastel to adhere to and can be used to great effect in Mixed Media Paintings.
Talking of Mixed Media, Acrylic Matt Gel is a great multi purpose medium. You can seal pastel passages in your work by applying a thin layer (take care not to scratch the pastel as you apply - I use a palette knife) and can also be used to stick any paper media to your canvas, and then seal it over the top. It is easy to apply acrylic paint over the top should you wish - or even glazes so the paper media shows through.
The world is your oyster!
With Modelling or Moulding Paste you can create peaks and troughs and really go to town with the whole 3D effect.
We coiled some string on one of the squares and built up the Molding Paste around it, but you could add all sorts of small objects and build them into your work, then paint over them. Be careful that you are using this medium on a rigid surface if you are using larger objects as canvas has a tendency to move and could cause a heavy addition to crack off!
The second half of our workshop was all about how to apply direct texture to either paper or canvas using a Gelli Plate. In essence it is the same process as mono printing and since the options for what you can use to create a texture are practically limitless you can seriously end up losing days while you go through the contents of drawers and cupboards to see 'what mark will that object make if I press it into the Gelli plate!
One tip we would pass on is less is more - it is so easy to get carried away with all the methods we tried, but think it through and you will no doubt end up with a pleasing result.
Thanks to the SAA for supplying the Acrylic Paints - not as heavy bodied as Golden but perfect for using on the Gelli Plate! Thanks to Jenny, Lorna and Tracey for letting us share their experiments. Do let us know if you have a go - we are always happy to answer any questions if you have them!
With the first two workshops of our Spring programme under our belt we have been really impressed with the level of enthusiasm that our artists have displayed! We tackled some really tricky techniques and for a group of beginners we have been blown away by their work!
OK, to get the circumference of the bowl, we cheated and used one of my only two remaining side plates, but who do you know that can rattle off a perfect circle and then paint it with a brush in a medium you haven't used before?
We say hats off to all the ladies that came and painted a Pear in a Bowl with great success!
We tackled textures - the smoothness of the ceramic bowl, and the texture of the pear. We learnt about Glazes and how they can be used to great effect - and also how to avoid sticky disasters! We learnt about how tone can make or break a two dimensional painting that is describing a three dimensional object. We talked about lighting and shadows. We learnt how using a limited palette can unify your painting. We practised Dry brush technique....oh and everyone got to appreciate my home baked Banana Cake and drink wine and tea!
To Book onto one of our remaining workshops please CLICK here. There are still places on all workshops to date - but hurry! Spaces are limited to ensure everyone gets the attention they need to improve and understand.
As we wind up our Arty activities for the Christmas break we look back on a year of achievement, new friends, laughter (lots of that!) and an excess of cake and coffee! My waistline hopes that will be rectified in the New Year!
Our PPP calendar of artfulness began back in January with a complete beginners introduction to painting Portraits.
We hope that we will see some more positive painting next year!
February saw a Still Life Workshop where we looked at light and form using a limited colour palette! Wow! Acrylics and wine were our best friends as we tackled this one with some fantastic results!
It is testament to our beginners being willing to open their minds to new possibilities and just a teeny bit of competitive spirit! We had some lovely ladies from one family that used it as time to spend together learning a new skill and they entertained us with their banter through the session!
We even got our PPP print master, Karen tackling the exercise, and very good she was too!
Time to feed the creative beast this month so it was off to a fantastic Pastel Workshop courtesy of Les Darlow at Castle Park Arts Centre. A very informative day spent at the hands of Les and we learnt some great top tips!
Materials were included and Les' generosity with his time and tutelage have got me hooked on pastels, taking them into several paintings since!
Pan Pastels are great for laying down atmospheric backgrounds and I have since used them to paint a complete horse, though it was admittedly hard to get the detail even with the 'knives' that come with a set of Pans.
We also learnt how to use ink to create an interesting ground to lay the pastels on top. This creates movement and added interest.
Both techniques have been used extensively in personal work since this workshop. Thanks Les! :)
July was one of the highlights in the PPP calendar as we had a day out in London, and especially to the Summer Exhibition at the RA which was curated by the colourful Grayson Perry. It didn't disappoint!
We came away having been most entertained and inspired and with the feeling that really, with the right audience anything goes!!
As we are all in a BIG BIRTHDAY year we treated ourselves to the poster for 1968's exhibition which now hangs on the wall at the PPP studio!
Though, admittedly not one of the most inspiring posters through it's 250 year history!
One of the hottest on record if our weight loss over the 3 days of Patchings was anything to go by!
We took our art on the road and pitched up alongside our fellow artists for some on stand demonstrations, and meeting our public! We had a ball! Though admittedly probably spent more than we took on accommodation and refreshments! We sadly cannot do Patchings in 2019 due to family commitments but will definitely be back in 2020!
Karen's Lino print, 'Pintail Patterns' appeared in several publications and was much admired - especially by those that appreciated the intricacies and technical aspects of this print!
You can find out how Karen did it in our 'Reduction Lino Printing' workshop! To find out more click HERE
Always a busy month as we organise the Exhibition for the Association of Animal Artists! We were at the fantastic Weston Parks Granary Gallery and filled it with some very talented members artwork. Sales were great and feedback fantastic! We will be returning to Weston Park in 2020 with the AAA and plan to have a PPP exhibition that year too! More of that later.
Damp and dark must mean a sneaky trip to France to stay with the lovely Linda Matthews, a recent defector to sunnier climes (in more ways than one!), and despite the weather forcing us to partake in a spot of Still Life painting in Linda's dining room, we managed to cover a lot of ground in the Languedoc region, where she lives.
We will be planning a PPP painting trip in the back half of 2019 so watch this space for news of that!
Forward planning and catching up with neglected tasks to ensure a fresh start back in January! Our New Year's resolutions are to Print, Paint and Pastel even more and spread the art bug far and wide!
We would love you to come and join us for a 3 hour workshop in 2019! Or meet up with you if you are out and about at an exhibition, or painting plain air! In short 2019 is all about making new friends and having fun! After all life is too short! Be kinder, smarter, wiser and spread a little artfulness wherever you go!
Happy Christmas to you all and wishing you a happy and healthy 2019!
Alison, Karen and Jenny
No sooner will we have packed up from the Granary Art Gallery, and we will be preparing for Animal eARTh Exhibition in Chester, where we will be demonstrating on our stand on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday before packing up our paintings on Sunday 28th October.
So not much time in-between to plan and run workshops, which was definitely on our To Do list at the beginning of the year!
Nonetheless there is still time and there will be a series of Acrylic and Pastel workshops run from our Cheshire base in November and some Lino Cutting Workshops planned for early 2019. These are ideal for beginners or those revisiting art after a break and would like to learn some new techniques.
Spaces will be limited and placed on a first come first served basis, so do sign up to our newsletter so you will be the first to know about them.
To watch a video straight from the Association of Animal Artists Exhibition you can click this link!
Don't forget to watch to the end so you can see Alison being daft!
There were times when I really didn't think we would...but we did!
There was a last minute (before the printing of the price list, signs, catalogue etc) trauma with my computer.
And lost all it's data.
DO NOT MENTION THE 'BACKUP WORD!!!!
Despite a promise from the supplier that my frames for my paintings would arrive in plenty of time, they arrived two days before we left leaving me to paint 8 frames and actually stick them around my paintings in 8 hours - they all needed 3 coats and despite having a short coated dog (Manchester Terrier), in the extreme heat we have been having, he is conveniently moulting!
Karen meanwhile had all her framing equipment to hand only to find the blades were blunt and had to make a last minute dash to a local and ever so friendly but also manically depressed framer who saved the day! At great expense! Hooray!
I then got a last minute 'good luck' text from a lovely art friend who asked me who I insured my paintings with when I go to art festivals as she was looking to do one in the future and just wondered....ha!
Admit it - you thought I had forgotten didn't you?
Luckily I am a member of two organisations that provide insurance for such events.
The SAA and the GSA.
I am an Gold member and Professional Artist of the SAA which gives me some great benefits including:-
- £10,000 exhibition cover (UK & ROI) under SAA Group Insurance Policies
- £5 million third party public liability cover (UK & ROI) under SAA Group Insurance Policies
- £5 million product liability, professional indemnity & libel and slander cover (UK & ROI) under SAA Group Insurance Policies
- £10 million employers liability cover (UK & ROI) under SAA Group Insurance Policies
- Free promotion for professional artists
- Free Tax and Accountancy helpline
They have a great support package for it's members including the Original Art Register which protects artists copyright by cataloguing the artwork, along with relevant images. For only a few pounds per artwork it is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Along with comprehensive legal advice and extensive knowledge in areas that most artists will utilise, such as picture framing, fine art printing and exhibiting artworks it is a good way to develop your art career with their knowledge and support to guide you.
Patching is a great event. Friendly and full of like minded people happy to help and willing to advise and share their methods.
It was hot when we arrived and even hotter through the four days we were there. We had a great position in the marquee but unfortunately airflow was limited. After a few attempts at 'unstitching' the side of the tent, we found a friendly steward who managed to make a hole large enough for us to breathe through but small enough to deter people looking for a short cut.
A lot of interest was from fellow printers who wondered how on earth she managed to print a 3 colour lino cut in the heat - it wasn't easy and Karen actually declared it a bit of a failure - but I loved it and so did others! It was really too hot for the ink though and as fast as she could roll it on the ink dried making the outcome a bit patchy - or interesting textured if you're a glass half full kind of person!
Despite the heat everyone remained cheerful and positive and we had some great visitors to the stand.
Patchings is also great for ticking off all the items on your Art Shopping List and both Karen and I had promised ourselves that we would not get carried away buying even more things for our private art store - I mean, studio. But we would allow ourselves to go and look once we had made our first sale.
Which was a card.
There was a brawl over who would get to go round the art suppliers tents first!
I won and came back with a nice shiny set of Pan Pastels which I had promised myself after attending a fabulous Pastel workshop by Les Darlow, who was also demonstrating there.
Pan Pastels are NOT cheap and the £2 greetings card didn't really cover it, but with a promise to use them extensively I convinced myself that I would easily make the outlay back in art sales once I had got the hang of them.
From then on we deiced that as long as we covered the cost of our wine consumption while we were there we would be happy.
We were very merry indeed....every night!
It was indeed quieter than the other 3 days, but still busy enough to keep us entertained until about 3pm when everyone seemed to disappear. It is always the last hour or so of a show that is torture for the stall holders as the clock ticks slowly and visitors dry up.
Furtively we began to pass things through the hole in our tent one by one, and scurry them away to the car. By 5.15pm the stand was practically bare and although hot, sweaty and covered in dust from departing cars, we knew we had one last mission to perform.
Get back and unload in time for Poldark!
Thank you to everyone that made our Print Pastel and Paint adventure to our first Art Festival so enjoyable and to the amazing Patchings team that seem to have it all down to a fine art!
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As the preparations for Patchings Art Festival begin to ramp up into frenzied bursts of activity crammed in-between commissions and child care I ponder, can our art relationship stand the pressure of a big commitment?
Karen is situated in the Shrewsbury - in a teeny weeny incy pincy titchy witchy little settlement at the end of a farm track (great in the winter months! NOT!) and I (Alison) am in sophisticated and well connected (haha) Cheshire. As we forge ahead with our own work for the stand, there are other things to consider. Things such as the layout of the stand, the decoration, signage, equipment, hanging space, prices, wrapping in the event of a sale (wonder if we'll need it), and food/wine. It's all very well coming up with a snazzy logo and a colour theme but who is buying what in the way of props and presentation, and who is making stuff?
Racked with guilt over the effort and time this must have taken I dismantled an old frame and painted it pink! That should even out the score in the "what did you do to make the stand look amazing?" stakes! It did take three coats after all! And a coat of varnish!
OMG!!! She's either hyper thyroid or on some sort of recreational performance enhancing drug!
Look what I got! Her tile cutting hands must be covered in Band Aid!
'PING!' Ha! Sent! That'll get her going! HAHAHA!!
So despite the frenzied activity in the Sillar Studio, and a deep feeling of guilt that I harbour, I personally cannot wait to see how the stand comes together and spending some time with my PPP friend will just make our 5 days together all the more enjoyable.
It will just be Karen and I showing this time as Jenny takes some time out with her little boy, but we are so excited to be able to show you what we have been up to.
Do come and see us on Stand 60 at Patchings.
We are at the top of the first bend so easy to find - plus the Stand will be several shades of cerise pink so you can't miss us! x
Now, on with weaving that cerise pink carpet for Karen to rest her feet on! ;)
Karen has become the Treasurer of the Association of Animal Artists accompanying me, (Alison) into the world of volunteering! I have been the Chairperson of the AAA for a few years now and love it but it does sometimes get in the way of personal creative time! So our plans for PPP have taken a slightly different turn this year! We have taken a stand at Patchings Art Festival and although Jenny will not be showing any of her work this time, she will be visiting us on Saturday 14th June so if there are any dog owners that are after a beautiful dog portrait you can grab her then. In the meantime, Karen and I are busy planning our stand and painting and printing like mad to fill the space with colour and goodies!
Of course there are costs involved in presenting your art to the public, including the extortionate cost of framing. It is the one thing that is often overlooked and unappreciated by buyers of art but the one thing that can make or break a work of art.
In our AAA experience we see all sorts of horrors and as we are members of the Fine Art Trade guild we get inside information into the best practice when it comes to professional presentation. They have also launched a new Guild Society of Artists of which we are members. This is aimed not just at framers but at artists which gives some great advice, including guides on pricing and professional practice. We hope that this means that when you purchase a work of art from PPP that it will be optimum quality and made to last a life time!
So it's back to the easel and printing press and we look forward to seeing you at Patchings!
It will be sad to say goodbye but we have some exciting plans for 2018 so keep watching and following for news about future ventures!
We would like to thank everyone for coming in and especially to those who have left feedback and entered our Prize Draw! We will be revealing the winner of Big Cock this afternoon and I'm sure he will be bringing a smile to whoever is the lucky recipient.
Over and out!
From Alison, Karen and Jenny
Oscar dog was in fine form today and greeted the visitors with a full inspection and seal of approval. He was very conscientious and made sure that everyone knew that the prize draw was going to be drawn soon. Every comment on the blog counts! Here he is pointing out the prize alongside the entry info. (I knew he had his uses! Useless at hoovering and washing up though!)
After many visitors and an early morning sale (hooray!) to a lady that had found the 'one' for her new house, Karen settled down to an urgent competition entry - a tiger wearing a santa hat (er...like you do!).
I would like to take this opportunity to gush about Karen for a couple of lines (don't want to get carried away). She has been a total natural as gallery guide and it has been pointed out on several occasions that she really should try to seek employment in this area. We are totally indebted to her as she has turned up every morning to open the gallery and has been on hand to meet greet and inform, refresh, wrap the paintings and take the sales. She has battled snow, ice, a broken car, and a horrendous chesty cough! Karen we couldn't have done it without you! You are amazing! This surely is what friends are all about and both Jenny and I are really looking forward to taking our Print Pastel and Paint adventure into 2018. (Hopefully nearer to home so we can do the 'running')
So we are open from 10-4 tomorrow and then our final day will be an all day party! So come on down! There will be some bargains and some really cool last minute gifts that will make the recipient oblivious to the fact that it wasn't bespoke and thought of months ago.
Purchase of the week is a set of four of Karen's contemporary lino cut birds which look stunning in both a square and linear formation. Framed in black and white they suit any wall colour.
See you tomorrow and don't forget to leave your comments...
Alison, Jenny and Karen
Some don't believe it exists, but those that have experienced it know that it most certainly does. Karen was witness to it happening in the gallery today. A couple came in, walked straight to a painting, didn't look at anything else, and bought it! Everyone loves a decision maker!
Tomorrow is Wednesday which means there are only 4 more days to enjoy the exhibition!
Don't forget if you do come and see us, that you only need to leave a comment here using the contact form, to be in with a chance of winning a Limited Edition Print of 'Big Cock'!
We are three artists and more importantly friends that share a love of art, wine and cake! Gathering for weekly art making sessions over the last 10 years, and even when one of us moved counties, we are bound together through a common thread whose tapestry of life, laughter and art come together in our first exhibition!