• Welcome back

    We are glad to announce that the site is now back online, having been out of action for as a precaution due to unsuccessful attempts to compromise site security.
    The site administrator, Barbara LeBlanc, is also back online having been out of action for a while.

  • Registering new artists

    If you would like to display your art on Local Artist, please use the new member form to register interest to display your art on the site. It is, of course, free of charge, but for technical security reasons, we are unable to allow users to self-register.
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Practice Makes Perfect

There are stages in an artist's career when a gap is hard to fill with anything meaningful. The need to produce a work of art disappears for a while. Other things fill the gap and we leave the easel aside. Upon return the hand has lost its steadiness and the brain seems to be detached.  Constant repetition is not the aim here, but there is a need to pick up the brushes at regular intervals to keep up the momentum. Like driving the car, there is something to be gained in regular use. The nerve can go. Keeping on practicing is the answer to the loss of skill. 

Negative Space

The ability to paint negative space is a useful qualification to possess. In watercolour, the background of, for instance, a floral display may be painted in colours that complement or enhance the subject, (the flowers) first. As the artist approaches the central focus they may be left blank or masked off with fluid, and the background layers built upon to form impressions of more foliage. The stems to be left the original colour applied and the negative space around them painted in a deeper hue to highlight them. White flowers benefit from this technique as they only need be shaded in the relevant places. The whole composition is formed by using negative space and leaving the white of the subject to be seen against it. The use of negative space around other subjects applies in a similar way but with more emphasis on the subject matter. The placing of objects against an uninteresting background brings the viewer to focus on the subject but in a much more interesting way if the negative space has been given proper thought.  We ignore negative space at our peril.

by Barbara Le Blanc

Mixed Media - to use or not to use

There is a temptation amongst beginners to describe a painting as having made use of one medium in its creation when, in fact there are more than one. The finished work should be described as a mixed media product. If graphite (pencil) is used it not purely a watercolour painting. If body paint is included to add white for instance, it should be included in the description. Many artists use acrylic paints to fill in the blocks of paint before finishing with oils. This can hardly be described simply as an oil painting. Waterproof pens add detail and depth to watercolour depictions and should be described as line and wash or wash and line, depending on which was used first.

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Depth in Watercolour

JMW TurnerOne dimension that adds depth to watercolour painting is the amount of pigment on the brush. New artists to this medium are often afraid of adding much pigment in case the finished product is too heavy but that can be a mistake. Although watercolours are noted for heir airy quality, the omission of enough pigment results in a thin wash, and because the drying process allows the paint to fade, the end product is washed out and without the required depth for the painting to work.

The study of the works of JMW Turner reveals that applying slightly heavier washes give better results and that is all the proof I need.

Ways to see what we draw

Trying to take in a view in front of us is pretty overwhelming: what dimensions to use, (how big); what to include (that tree's too big); Can I move something I don't like in that position? Questions present themselves before we even start. Holding up a mount of a holdable size helps us to enclose the view and focuses the mind on which part of the area to include. Taking a photograph of various angles enables us to see the view from its best perspective. Don't include everything in front of you. It isn't necessary nor is it practical. Paintings have to include only what is necessary to be interesting and to create the right mood.

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  • Flamenco
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