Past Demonstrations

At the beginning of October Liz Baldin provided our members and guests with a lively and engaging demonstration last night.  She created 2 works - and worked on both throughout the evening.  The subject matter was floral compositions and Liz used a mixture of watercolours, acrylic inks and pastel pencils to produce two wonderful paintings.  The first one was painted directly from a still life, and the second from a photograph.  

The versatility of her approach and the different materials allowed Liz to keep the initial drawings loose and ‘vague’ and helped to keep the paintings fresh and lively.  Liz very effectively used designer gouache to provide highlights and to strengthen the light colours and shapes.  She spoke frequently about ‘ expressing the idea of the flowers whilst trying to do as little as possible’ and encouraged us all to approach the subjects with our own style and individuality - whilst using techniques that we have acquired over the years.
 The first painting was done on Strathmore mixed media paper, the second on mount board - both media suiting the approach taken. In the first painting Liz produced a very loose drawing to mark shapes in, and this rough guide was followed by colour being applied - watercolours mixed with some gouache to draw out light areas.  The flowers were painted first, and then stems and greenery, keeping the composition uncluttered and impactful.  Liz used acrylic inks (Paynes Gray rather than black) to strengthen shapes and areas of contrast.
In her second work Liz produced a drawn ink composition, picking out from the photo source the shapes she wanted to focus on, and adapting these to create a pleasing effect.  She then painted with acrylic inks over these shapes - not ‘painting in’ the shapes but instead expanding the composition to show a messy but controlled finish - evocative with a light touch and a very confident piece.  
As well as her obvious technical expertise and knowledge Liz kept us all involved - and shared many stories from her early career as a graphic designer and later as a full time artist.  We would like to say many thanks to her for such an enjoyable evening.


September's demonstration was provided by Susanna Gilmore Powell using acrylic paints to depict a Cornish seascape.

It was a shimmering, lively and engaging time for us all, one where we took in the beauty and intricacy, but also the many nuances and ideas for our own work from Susanna:

 Use a big brush to start putting colours on the canvas, as this will get you going and may turn up surprisingly new tones and placement. If not, you can always change it.
 Thick acrylic is best as it gives a better spread of colour.
 Sky colours need a variety of colours, not just blue, grey and white.
 Grey will tone things down for you.

 Paint rivers and streams from small to large/top to bottom.
 Don’t be afraid to change the colour of your sea.
 Burnt Siena is great for painting wet sand and use a darker colour and dab downwards not sideways. Then skim it with light blue left to right.
 Finish the picture with some white on a stiffer brush (or toothbrush) and flick it over rocks and sea.

The finished painting is here :


July brought us Philip Boville, an accomplished artist using charcoal to atmospherically depict an industrial scene.  The demonstration can be seen on YouTube by clicking HERE, and the finished artwork is shown below :

For June's demonstration we learnt about the the 'Pen & Wash' technique, demonstrated to us by Jonathan Newey.

Jonathan was using a reference depicting a roof-top scene in Lausanne. He explained that a 'freer' impression of architecture can be achieved by sketching (with some shading) using a pen straight away, rather than over a pre-drawn pencil sketch.

With all of the building shapes finished in pen, it was then the  turn of watercolour wash using primarily burnt umber, and grey for the buildings and roofs, and burnt sienna for roofs, together with simple greens for trees.

The final painting is shown below :


Jonathan also briefly demonstrated using a 'sepia' technique of laying down an even colour wash, drawing with a brown pen and finishing with shading. See below :




May brought us a demonstration of Still Life by renowned artist Lawrie Quigley.  

Lawrie began with a fascinating trek through his history of Still life in Art.

To cue in his own painting for the night, Lawrie showed one of Monet’s semi-abstract/ impressionist work, a red pot with flowers, on a turquoise cloth, a dark backdrop, and a return to a nine squared grid, with ‘Golden’ intersecting line points.

Lawrie’s own composition was similar - a background split two thirds dark( black with blue mixed in) and bottom thirds light orange-red cloth, with a light source on the left. Centrally, was a small curved, white and patterned ceramic vase, in it a small white and a yellow rose; next to it, red wine in a slim, straight-fluted glass on one side and a pear on the other; in front of the wine glass a yellow apple.

During painting, Lawrie stressed the importance of using simple lines with the edge of the brush,  ‘the freshness of a single mark', and began with single splodges of white and yellow for the roses.

Through the rest of the hour he brought our attention to the use of the light source and the effect of shadows, as well as reflections from the lighter red onto each piece; Blue for the shadow on the white vase; light on petals making edges white; not blending marks in the acrylic but finding another mark to replace this; take time to compose the structure and, finally, check how the thirds line up.

The final painting is shown below.


We enjoyed a return visit from REBECCA De MENDONCA on April 12th.

Rebecca specialises in pastels, and for our demonstration she focussed on Life and Energy, with an emphasis on people movement. Three children visiting the beach formed the subject, and the personality of each was readily evident in Rebecca's characterisation.

She uses primarily Unison pastels, and uses a paintable surface available in jars called 'Art Spectrum - Colourfix Surface Primer'

The images below are the two that were completed during the evening, the second being a landscape depicting a tor on Dartmoor. A video of the beach demonstration (approx 1 hr) is also below - just click on the link.



March 2021 brought us a demonstration of an acrylic seascape by DENISE ALLEN.  Denise used 'open' acrylic paints, which allow for more 'reworking' than standard acrylics. She used a limited palette, however managed to build detail into the painting very quickly. The following images show the progress from an outline, to the finished painting :

Denise Allen 1
Denise Allen 2
Denise Allen 3
Denise Allen 4
Denise Allen 5
Denise Allen 6

For reference, Denise kindly updated us with the following :

Materials used in acrylic demonstration of a coastal scene.

Atelier interactive acrylics. These are open acrylics, and dry in a different way. Instead of forming a skin, they dry from the bottom up, so you can keep rewetting them. They are available from the SAA and can be bought as individual colours, or there are starter sets.

The water pot I used was a deluxe brush bath. Widely available, SAA Jacksons etc. Comes with a sealable lid and a water pot.

30mm flat brush. This is a Da Vinci brush and is very useful. It is available from the SAA on this link.

The paper was the SAA acrylic practice paper. I have got used to it, and like it. It has a weave texture.

My links are as follows my website my facebook page 6 artists offering free demos and support my youtube channel The Travelling Brush Dippers youtube page, where Sharon and I will be having a regular vlog


February's demonstration was by PAUL SIMMONS. Paul completed an oil painting of a street scene, using a limited palette of colours.  Turpentine was used for softening the tone of the underpainting, before building up with greater detail. 

Paul also gave us a couple of tips - use a 'fat over lean' paint technique, and use a 'marl stick' to allow the creation of straight lines. 

The initial underpainting


Adding detail  ............






The finished painting (in 2 hours)

For January 2021, we had an ACRYLIC demonstration by Chris Forsey.  Chris is based in Surrey and specialises in atmospheric landscapes. Using a palette knife and flat brushes, a coastal landscape came together based on a couple of reference images near Dartmouth.


Reference Image #1

Reference Image #2

Early 'tonal' stage of the painting ...

The finished painting ..


Our December 2020 demonstration (again held by Zoom) was by Frank Walters.  Frank created two watercolour paintings - both using a limited palette of paints.

Frank Walters #3 Frank Walters #4

Valerie Pirlot :

WEB Valěrie Pirlot Victoria Park, Bath

VALERIE PIRLOT visited us from Bath, and demonstrated her oil painting technique for completing paintings outside (en plein air).  Key points made included planning your painting at the outset, clearly identifying the focal point, and making every brush stroke count ! The short video below is of Valerie in action :




Simon Bishop :

Little Girl painted by Simon Bishop

Recent demonstration given by accomplished local artist SIMON BISHOP.   Simon introduced a number of techniques including 'rag-wiping'. Have a look at the short video below to watch him in action creating the painting :