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Art Masterclass   

                          April 2009


Each month presents a feature from either The Artist or its sister publication, Leisure Painter.  

Art masterclass      

from The Artist, the monthly magazine for amateur and semi-professional painters, giving practical instruction in painting and drawing in watercolour, pastels and oils, as well as news of art events, exhibitions and competitions open to leisure artists;  


This Month:


By Tony Paul art-1

Tony Paul gets to grips with the latest improvements in this popular range of Winsor & Newton acrylics.

Winsor & Newton is never satisfied! That is why it is respected as a world leader in the production of colours and materials for the artist and leisure painter. The company is constantly improving the quality and range of its products.


The difference between Artists’ and Students’ quality varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and the disparity is more obvious in acrylic than any other medium. Galeria has been made to the highest standards but, not satisfied, Winsor & Newton has looked hard at the range – and improved it.

Galeria now includes genuine cadmium yellow and red, and cobalt blue colours which, because of their cost, are usually reserved for Artists’ quality colours. There are no substitutes that can match the opacity and brilliance of the cadmium pigments. Naturally, as these are expensive pigments they are priced slightly higher than the rest of the range, but are still excellent value.

For those who might prefer more translucent effects there are still the cobalt and cadmium ‘hue’ colours – made from blends of other pigments to look like the target colours.

A balance of opaque and transparent colours is useful in acrylic. I think that its natural slight translucency gives it a unique textural quality of its own, but at times, some of the less opaque pigments can appear too transparent. While this is fine for watercolour technique painting, if you are painting in a more substantial way this transparency can cause difficulties.

To address this, Winsor & Newton has increased the pigment levels of 20 existing colours to make them stronger and more opaque, and added ten new pigments, each of which has a characteristic that adds a special quality to the range.

New colours

Raw sienna and burnt sienna are important bread-and-butter colours, which tend towards transparency. In many acrylics they can be streaky, even in dense applications. So Galeria now offers two versions of each colour – the traditional semi-transparent one and a new opaque version. This will enable the artist to create flat shapes of colour easily in the style of Mondrian, or as Matisse did with L’Escargot.

Alizarin crimson has never been used in acrylic as it is chemically incompatible so other crimsons, often based on naphthol pigments, have been substituted. These have never equalled the rich depth of alizarin, but now Galeria has introduced a permanent alizarin crimson. This contains no alizarin and is therefore suitable for inclusion in the range. Other additions are buff titanium, Hooker’s green, Vandyke brown and lamp black, plus cadmium red medium, cadmium yellow medium and cobalt blue. The range now has 35 opaque and 25 transparent colours.

DEMONSTRATION Sheep at Kingcombe


Galeria Acrylic Colour range

Hooker’s green
Titanium white
Lemon yellow
Cadmium yellow medium
Raw sienna opaque
Naples yellow
Cadmium red medium
Permanent alizarin crimson
Burnt sienna opaque
Vandyke brown
Cerulean blue
Cobalt blue
Phthalo green 


Canvas board, 8x12in. (20x30.5cm)


Small Cotman round nylon
Artisan, No. 8
Flat, No. 2
Galeria Heavy Carvable Modelling Paste


I took a canvas board that had previously been tinted in a dark colour and rough primed it with Galeria heavy, carveable modelling paste. This gave a textured surface that worked well with the acrylic
paint. The paste was applied with a hog brush to give higgledy-piggledy brushstrokes. The texture shrank back slightly as it dried.


step 1

Step 1

When the board is dry, draw the subject with a small round nylon brush loaded lightly with burnt sienna opaque. At this stage you only need to position the elements of the painting




Step 2

step 2 Using a No. 8 Artisan brush thinly scrub on a blend of Hooker’s green and Vandyke brown to darken the shaded foreground and tree.

2  Mix cobalt blue, raw sienna opaque and white to indicate the far background trees.

Combine lemon yellow and cobalt blue with a little white and scrub this on lightly to create the sunlit meadow.

TIP At this stage, the application of paint should be thin and loose.


Step 3

step 31  Block in the sky using cobalt blue with a lot of white. Add Naples yellow to the mix and use this to paint the sky nearer the tree line.

2  Touch into the sky here and there pink made from cadmium red medium and white. The colour should be the same tone as the sky.

Make a dull purple from cadmium red medium, cobalt blue and white, and touch in the darks of the background trees using a No. 2 flat brush.

4  Place the lighter areas with a blend of cadmium yellow medium, cobalt and white.

5  Add colour to the shadows in the meadow with Hooker’s green and cerulean, with touches of the sky pink and dull purple. Then resolve the middle-ground tree with lemon yellow, cadmium yellow and Hooker’s  green, and suggest the barn.

Step back and look at the painting. Are the tonal aspects of the painting working? Do you need to make alterations?

Step 4

step 41  With a mix of phthalo green and permanent alizarin crimson paint the shadowy leaves of the foreground tree.

Mix phthalo green first with cobalt blue, then with cadmium yellow to make the cool and lighter greens of the tree. Paint the trunk with Vandyke brown mixed with a little phthalo green.

3  If the shadowed foreground is too light at this stage, scrub in a mix of Vandyke brown and phthalo green. Do this thinly to allow some of the original colour to show through.

4  Using the same mix, give form to the greenery in front of the barn. As the green is highly transparent and brown is semi-transparent this will give a textured effect that helps to give the impression of rough grass.

Finally, paint the sheep using Vandyke brown and cobalt for the dark sheep’s fleece, and cerulean and burnt sienna for the white sheep.

Painting notes

Altogether I felt that the new Galeria colours worked well and were strong with good covering power. I did a small test to compare a few of the new Galeria pigments with similar colours in an Artists’ quality acrylic and the difference between the two was minimal.

Winsor & Newton has improved the strength and opacity of its Galeria Acrylic Colour range, increased the number of colours and introduced new packaging. The range now has ten new colours and 20 re-formulated and improved colours, taking the total to 60. Galeria Acrylic Colours are available in 60ml tubes, £3; 120ml plastic tubes, £4.25; 200ml tubes, £6.40; 250ml bottle, £7.65; 500ml bottle, £12.75; 1l jar, £20; and 2.5l bucket (black and white only) £34.95. There is also a wide range of Galeria mediums available.

For more information, and details of your nearest stockist, visit

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