Painting Together in May

Here we are again with our monthly paint along.

This time we suggested the theme of ‘Wish we were there’….however members can paint whatever makes them happy!

I should have been in Sorrento with my lovely husband for our Ruby Wedding. We had the weather on Sunday but, sadly, not this view which is the view from our hotel balcony looking across the Bay of Naples to Vesuvius. It’s a favourite of ours and where we’ve spent our special anniversaries.
Tracy painting in her studio decided to paint in celebration of the National Trust’s 125th birthday. Scotney Castle is her very favourite National Trust property but as she had painted that a few times, she chose to paint from her joint second favourite properties.
Tracy has painted the wonky wooden chair at Sissinghurst Castle, which sits outside the cottage in the grounds, and also painted the pond in the walled garden at Ightham Mote. 
Both are watercolours on Saunders Waterford, 300gsm, NOT paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″. Tracy said that was quite small for her to work on, but she enjoyed the challenge of painting smaller than usual but being able to get in all the details. They are very well painted, such a lot of detail and instantly recognisable if you know your National Trust properties.
Juliet said ‘this is where I would have liked to be today…apart from art group! St Ives Cornwall…it’s my birthday and I’ve had a nice day painting while Bernard gets a meal ready!’ Belated Happy Birthday Juliet!
Ann B painted this red Aquilegia in watercolour. The colours are lovely and the flowers in particular are well observed.

 Here is a pastel painting from Doreen who has been working on this piggy portrait during the week. Well done Doreen, he’s very sweet and very well drawn.

Here are two paintings from Peter.The one above is from his imagination and the one below is Derwent Water. Both done in acrylics and took half day each. They’re very bright and colourful, the reflections in the water are very good. Well done to do both in a day.
Here are two watercolours from Christine, again both took half a day each so both completed on the Saturday. They’re two differing styles both quite detailed and both beautiful paintings.
Here is Steve who wrote ‘Live from my garret. It makes a difference knowing other members are working away at the same time.

One of the suggested subjects for this Saturday was to paint somewhere we would like to be .
This watercolour is from an image I took near Quiberon, Brittany and perhaps at the moment it feels like we’re surviving a shipwreck!!

Well done Steve, you’ve painted a gentle, soft watercolour.
Ron said ‘ For today’s little dabble, I had a real job finding something to inspire me. As we were supposed to be on holiday this week, I thought I would try something different on a holiday theme. So I Looked online and found some old fashioned postcards. So I tried my hand at a cartoon style effort. The plan is to copy the sketch onto a board at some point. Here are a couple of pictures”

Well what a lovely happy painting to end this session, they’ve brought a smile to my face. Thank you everyone and keep painting.

Sky Arts PAOTW week5 – Sunday 24th May 2020

This week singer-songwriter Will Young was painted by PAOTY 2014 winner Christian Hook. Technology can be amazing when it works, because Will was at his mum’s house in the UK and Christian was painting at his family’s home in Gibraltar.

Will was a very still sitter, which was good, but he did apologise at the beginning and say he could easily talk for hours about himself…and he did!

Occasionally Christian and the judges got a word in and we learnt that Christian spent the years after winning PAOTY in 2014 painting many portraits, including dignitaries, around the world. A year ago he fell out of love painting people so has been painting horses and Oriental figures. He’s also in the process of making a documentary. Check out his website and his Facebook page ‘Hoook’ (with 3 ‘o’s).

Christian used the following colours to create warm and cool tones, plus white, black, burnt umber and yellow ochre. Warm – cadmium red, French ultramarine and cadmium yellow. Cool – alizarin crimson, Prussian blue and lemon yellow.

Here are our members’ portraits of Will Young…

Dot drew and painted in watercolours. Both were from the live feed within the 4 hour session.

Steve painted acrylics on to board. He used a restricted palette (as shown by Tai last Sunday) and was surprised at how many colours you can make from so few colours. Steve lost count of the hours he painted but it was over 3 sessions.

Susan created the ink sketch in less than half an hour and then painted Will in watercolour, which took a bit longer. Painting in her garden on a warm day, what a wonderful way to spend a few hours.

Juliet drew Will from a screenshot as it was quite difficult to draw his features when he chatted so much. Will’s eyes have been captured with incredible detail.

Rosie used Japanese watercolours called Komorebi for her portrait, on square watercolour paper. She says they lean towards gouache, with strong pigments in them. She drew and painted Will’s portrait in the 4 hour session using blues and a little black and then spent another day painting the rainbow.

Cynthia used pastels to great effect with her portrait of Will.

Tracy sketched during the session but was distracted when her husband went for a walk and came home with a fried breakfast from the local café, yummy! She didn’t want to paint a 3/4 pose so used a screenshot of Will’s profile. It’s acrylic on watercolour paper, using the Zorn palette of white, yellow ochre, cadmium red and black, though she used burnt umber instead in the skin tones and only used black for the t-shirt.

Angela D couldn’t settle for the live session so she drew a previous PAOTY contestant called Michael James Monaghan as he had an interesting face. It’s a WIP (work in progress) as she will finish the hair another time.

Here is Christian’s finished portrait and the top 3 adult and top 3 younger artist paintings.

Margaret W’s paintings

Margaret W has been keeping up to date with all the art group emails and blog posts and also follows art classes online. If you look at, scroll down the home page and click on ‘See our Arty Classes blog’ for more information. The free classes which she has painted in are on a Tuesday afternoon, last about 45 minutes and are also available on YouTube.

Margaret joined in the classes with Jane Betteridge, painting the crab and the tree and also an abstract painting class. The tree painting will be the basis for a family tree, with names added around the outside.
Well done for keeping yourself busy and arty!

Sky Arts PAOTW week 4 – Sunday 17th May 2020

This week PAOTY 2017 winner, Gareth Reid, painted Rob Rinder, aka Judge Rinder on tv.

Rob Rinder was another wriggler, so whilst some members did paint and draw him live, most of us took a screenshot and worked from that. Gareth and Rob had some wonderful on-screen banter and Rob’s acerbic wit made a quiet Sunday a real hoot. What a thoroughly enjoyable 4 hours!

Tai’s Top Tip this week was about using a very limited palette of titanium white, cadmium red, yellow ochre and black. With those 4 colours Tai mixed so many colours of skin tones for all races. He mentioned that this limited palette was used by Hals, Rembrandt, Singer Sergent and Anders Zorn. (Pencilled in for an M&C session later in the year is Anders Zorn and his limited palette as it’s a hundred years since his death. Do Google Zorn and see his amazing portraits.)

Here are our members’ portraits of Rob Rinder and they get better every week, well done!

(Apologies if some pictures are a little blurry. Some photos came through to me very small, postage stamp size, and have dropped quality being transferred to WordPress. Please email or WhatsApp me the largest files you can send in future. Thank you!)

Juliet did this detailed pencil sketch in 2 hours. Rob Rinder does have amazing eyes, dark and soulful and this portrait really captures their intensity.

Susan sketched out Rob Rinder’s face in detail first and then built up layers of watercolour paint. It’s so interesting to see how she works stage by stage.

Dot really enjoyed the session drawing Rob’s portrait and found the whole session very entertaining.

Steve did the initial detailed ink sketch in 20 minutes, live from the sitting. The acrylic on board painting took 4 hours over 2 days.

Cynthia did the pastel portrait during the live session and the watercolour from a screenshot a couple of days later.

Angela D enjoyed the session and decided to paint this week instead of draw the portrait.

Tracy sketched differently this week, looking for shapes in the face that then make up the whole. The portrait is acrylic on watercolour paper which took about 3 hours, again trying to put shapes down on the paper and not blending in all the brushstrokes.

Here is Gareth’s finished portrait of Rob in charcoal and the top 3 portraits by the public. The judges also chose 3 paintings from younger artists. Kabir, aged only 8, painted Rob’s brain as the background, full of information and asking questions. Incredible!

Tracy’s “We wish we were there” paintings

My husband, Graeme, and I should be in Venice now, celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. Instead, we spent the day at home in in Gravesend, with a short trip to Upnor. The High Street is pretty with all the cottages but it wasn’t Venice and the water was muddy brown, not that specific turquoise colour unique to Venice.

Both paintings are watercolour and a little coloured pencil on Bockingford watercolour paper, 300gsm, rough, 7″ x 5″.

Where would you rather be now? Do paint a picture and send it to myself or Susan, so we can see where you’d love to be.

Doreen’s pastel picture

Doreen has done this gorgeous pastel picture of a corgi. Knowing that her pictures can go on this blog for people to see is a great encouragement for her to carry on with her artwork.

It’s a super pastel, Doreen, keep up the good work!

Dot’s life drawings

Dot watched and joined in the BBC4 TV programme called ‘Life Drawing Live!’ that was on last week for 2 hours. She thought the programme was great and enjoyed sketching the poses. Good work, Dot, well done!

The programme is still available via BBC iPlayer for another 3 and a bit weeks, so why not have a go yourself?

Kay’s painting

Kay painted her friend’s dog in acrylics on a box canvas. The Vizsla dog is called Bella and Kay painted her for her friend’s birthday.

Kay took photos of the painting as it progressed and it’s so interesting to see how the painting emerges from the canvas, step by step. Her friend was really pleased with it. It’s an absolutely fantastic painting, Kay, well done!

Sky Arts PAOTW week 3 – Sunday 10th May 2020

This week the photographer Rankin was painted by PAOTY 2018 winner Samira Addo.

They had several chats between them and we found out that Samira no longer works as an engineer and now paints portraits full time. We also found out that Rankin is a terrible fidget!

We all found it difficult to get a likeness with him wriggling about all the time, so most members who took part took a screenshot early on and worked from that. We were all pleased Samira asked him to take his glasses off as the reflections from windows made the lenses show only their green reflective coating. Also challenging was capturing Rankin’s full head of hair as was difficult to make his hair appear joined to him and not look like it was balanced on his forehead. His beard was also difficult to do in watercolour as leaving the paper white was hard to do in places.

Samira’s portrait after 4 hours was still quite abstract and block-like, but she said she will work on it more during the week.

Here are our members portraits…

Cynthia used pastels and worked from an image she took halfway through the session.

Steve drew the sketch in 15 minutes and then painted using acrylic on board. The painting took 4 hours one day and 1 1/2 hours the next day, moving Rankin’s eyes and nose a little. Steve says he would spend more time getting an accurate drawing first, to save any adjustment later. He did enjoy the session but found it tiring.

Angela D spent 2 1/2 hours on Sunday on her pastel portrait and 1/2 hour another day getting the polo shirt the correct blue. She enjoyed the session and was chuffed when her daughter and granddaughter during a video call recognised Rankin straight away.

Dot enjoyed the session again, this time drawing in details on cartridge paper and then adding watercolours.

Rosie drew her portrait of Rankin on Hahnemuhle watercolour paper and then added watercolours, building up the painting layer upon layer.

Susan did a sketch first then drew on watercolour paper and added the watercolour in stages, building up colour with boldness of stroke.

Tracy again found it very difficult to draw and paint from observation so screenshot 2 images of Rankin, one of him looking serious and the other of him smiling. The mono colour portrait is simply blue biro, as he said blue is his favourite colour. The watercolour portrait was hard too and it makes Rankin look like a cross between Father Christmas and Paul Hollywood!

Above is Samira Addo’s finished portrait of Rankin and the top 3 paintings from the public, as decided by the judges.