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Art Masterclass   

                          June 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:

How to use mixed media

Experiment with combining different media to bring out a variety of effects and textures in the same subject. Here is an extract taken from a feature in June 2009 by Joanne Boon Thomas


Charcoal and felt-tip pen

Downham doorway

Downham Doorway 3, charcoal and felt tip pen.
12x12in. (30.5x30.5cm).
Don’t worry about producing a polished sketch.
Using charcoal can be messy,
but the rewards are worthwhile

Combining the line of the pen with the tonal qualities of the charcoal is the most effective method I know of producing preparation studies and, as a bonus, is not a heavy load to carry around when sketching outdoors. The line drawing is sketched onto cartridge paper or pastel paper with very limited detail.

Charcoal is then used to produce the tonal values, which can be smudged with your fingers to produce softer tone. 

An eraser is used to lift any unwanted charcoal and to create highlights. I feel that with my photograph for colour reference and my monochromatic sketch (above) I now have a starting point to explore the possibilities that this subject has to offer.

Tips for sketching

  • Sit for a while and assess your subject before you start to sketch
  • Use your sketch to simplify the scene and lose unwanted detail
  • Explore new ways of sketching using different media

Soft pastel and watercolour

There are many ways in which we can create texture in our work and I have found that through experimenting with materials such as salt, sand, and alcohol, I can produce many varied textural qualities.

One of my favourites has to be a combination of watercolour and soft pastel.

downham doorway

Downham Doorway 6,
watercolour and soft pastel,
113⁄4x16in. (30x40.5cm).
Be careful not to overwork the pastel,
but allow the watercolour washes
to show through.

The advantage of this method is that you can cover large sections of paper with a watercolour wash. When dry, drag soft pastel over areas to reveal the grain of the paper. This provides a lively contrast with the watercolour washes underneath as well as providing rich colour.

There is texture to be found on the old stonewall, path and foliage. This method is ideal to convey the textural qualities of all these elements.
Once the paper has been covered with light watercolour washes and allowed to dry, drag soft pastel over the top of the dry wash. By dragging the pastel on its side, you can suggest the texture of the old brick with very little effort. The foliage areas and flowers are produced in very much the same way with a combination of dragging the pastel on its side, and dots and dashes of bright colour to suggest the flowers. I used my lightest yellow and green pastels to catch the highlights on the foliage.




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