PAOTM – Dame Vera Lynn

Only 5 members took up July’s challenge to draw or paint Dame Vera Lynn and all also took part in the weekly PAOTW on Sky. A portrait is obviously something that we feel confident to tackle now, from picking up lots of advice during the Sky programmes.

Come on everyone else, it only takes an hour to put pencil to paper to hone your portrait skills! Look out on 1st August for another PAOTM, a person that many of you have seen on tv recently and said you have loved their programme.

Dot painted with acrylic on textured paper. She drew and did the basic colour at Chalk on Saturday, then finished the facial features, medals and poppy another day, taking another hour.

Juliet used pencil, watercolours and pastels for her portrait. Using more that one medium has given her portrait a liveliness and sense of depth.

Steve used acrylic on hardboard and took about 5 hours to achieve a very good likeness in his portrait.

Angela D used pencil and then colouring pencils for her portrait of Dame Vera from her 100th birthday, taking about 3 hours.

Tracy found this stunning black and white portrait of Dame Vera, in the style of film stars from the 1940s. The plan was to used charcoal and pastel pencils to create a similar style, but after a recent art equipment sort out, she couldn’t find the box with pastels and charcoal in. Going for a polar opposite style of bright colours in a pop art-ish style, it took about an hour.

Chalk Church July 2020

For our first session in 4 months it was absolutely wonderful to welcome so many of you to paint ‘en plein air’ at Chalk Church. Twenty enthusiastic members came along and we were so pleased to see each other that quite a lot of chatter went on all day! The weather was a little drizzly at first but after huddling under brollies and trees for a little while it soon brightened up.

Thank you for bringing along your own snacks, drinks and water for your brush pots and then taking everything home again to clean. It meant that whilst a lot of us were there, we didn’t need to crowd together at the beginning and end of the session, we could keep apart.

You will see from the photos that we managed to spread ourselves all around the grounds near the pond and also under the covered area near the barn, keeping a safe distance from each other.

There was such a variety of paintings produced in a few hours, either new ones started or finishing current projects. Some painted or sketched the church and grounds in front of them and others worked from their own photos or references pictures . It was such a good day and if you haven’t painted at the church before it’s hoped that these photos might persuade you to join us next month.

Tracy’s cyanotypes

I created some cyanotype prints at an online workshop, run by Rachel at ‘I Printed That’, a studio in Rochester where she runs cyanotype, linocutting and screen printing workshops. As there are no actual face-to-face sessions at the moment, Rachel is hosting them online and I found it easy to log in and follow the 20 minute session. The next online cyanotype workshop is in August and you can buy the papers through her website at, where I paid £7.06 for 5 round sheets of paper.

Cyanotypes were first created in 1842 and are still popular today. Objects of your choice, but preferably quite flat, are placed on paper impregnated with chemicals. The objects are held down on the paper, in my case with a sheet of glass and some pegs, then exposed to UV light outside. I exposed the papers for 7 minutes in direct sunlight, but on cloudy days the exposure can take up to 30 minutes apparently.

After exposure I removed the objects and you could see the outlines. The paper was then washed in cold water to remove the chemicals and to fix the image. I was very pleased with the images I created, but the faeries were really fast and quite difficult to catch! ;o)

I had created 2 more images the evening before, using paper from a friend who bought the rectangular shaped cyanotype papers online. You can see where I accidentally moved some grass part way through the 10 minute exposure, leaving a much lighter shape. The final picture is an actual cyanotype created in 1853 and which featured in a photography magazine this month.

Peter’s paintings

Peter tends to paint landscapes but is going into new territory purely for practice. He has used pictures in art magazines as references and painted in acrylics, allocating about 4 hours per picture, painting a little each day.

That’s a really good idea, Peter, to paint something different to normal, as it gives you experience of tackling alternative compositions and subjects. Well done for challenging yourself.

July 2020

Here are some ideas to paint this month, if you’re struggling for subjects. Please send any paintings you do to me (Tracy) by email, WhatsApp, Messenger or text, on the mobile number I have emailed to you previously. Don’t forget to tell me the medium, paper used, the inspiration, how long it took etc.

If none of these ideas take your fancy, then paint something else and send it to me, we’d love to see what you’re painting at the mo. A lot of members haven’t been heard from since March, 4 months ago, what are you painting?

Portrait Artist of the Month (PAOTM)Dame Vera Lynn

If you’re missing the weekly Portrait Artist sessions then here’s an idea, but you can take longer that 4 hours! We’ve chosen someone you will all know and who was in the news on the 70th anniversary of VE Day in May and again last month, following her death at the amazing age of 103.

Dame Vera started her professional singing career at just 7 years old and performed throughout her long life. We won’t provide the same picture for everyone, you can source your own from the internet or from a newspaper, books etc. Any medium, any style, a quick sketch, a painting in colour or black and white, your choice. Send your pictures with info and at the end of the month they will be put on the blog together.

July flower – Delphinium

Paint them from your garden or paint anything that’s in flower at the moment.

July birthstone – Ruby

Paint rubies in jewellery, in Mughal paintings, in the Crown Jewels, in Russian Imperial Eggs, ruby-coloured cherries etc. Paint anything at all but in a monochrome ruby colour such as alizarin crimson.