Analogous Autumn – October Saturday 2020

It was brilliant to have 17 enthusiastic members come along to our session last Saturday. We had 3 ‘bubbles’ of people so we could chat to those in our group, but keep apart from the other tables. It feels a luxury having a big table each to use and we all managed to spread our art stuff over the whole table top. I’m not sure how we will ever share half a table again!

The suggested session subject was ‘Analogous Autumn’ and there were many beautiful Autumnal paintings created during the day. Some members did one painting and others did several, whilst some carried on with other projects like still life and portraits. A super, eclectic mix of pictures. Click on the first photo to enlarge it and scroll through to see them all. (Any current Portraits of the Week or Month will be on another post soon.)

Sky Arts PAOTW- 18/10/2020

It’s back! The Sunday weekly challenge for artists to draw and paint a sitter, either live from 10am-2pm or in your own time from a screenshot provided or one you take yourself. You can then upload your picture to Instagram by Friday 2pm, putting a hashtag symbol in front of myPAOTW, for viewing by Instagrammers throughout the world and by the usual 3 judges.

DJ and presenter Annie Macmanus, known as Annie Mac, was painted by PAOTY 2019 finalist Sara Lavelle. Sara painted a quick likeness in acrylics then painted in oils over the top, completing most of the portrait during the programme and finishing it off during the week. The usual chat between sitter and artist was very interesting and it’s fascinating to get to know people better.

The members who took part remarked on Annie’s beautiful clear skin, bright eyes, thick curly hair and full lips. She is very beautiful and an absolute pleasure to paint.

Cynthia spent around 3 hours altogether on her portrait, working from a screenshot. To try out some acrylic paint she had bought 4 tubes of Daler Rowley paint and a small 8” x 10” canvas in Poundland, what a bargain! Cynthia used just the 4 colours that are in her photo, which gave all the colours needed for Annie’s skin and hair tones. That’s very similar to the Zorn palette, which uses white, red, yellow and black.

Dot’s pencil sketch of Annie took only 20 minutes to get a good likeness. The watercolour took longer. Both pictures are on Bockingford.

Juliet finds sketching very therapeutic and her portrait of Annie looking very wistful is extremely detailed, including all her curls.

Steve did quick sketches of Annie whilst the programme was broadcast live. He noted how long each sketch took, which is a good way of reminding oneself when looking back through a sketchbook, as it would be hard to remember. The three at the top are ink pen and the bottom one is coloured pencil.

Tracy took about 2 hours to paint Annie in watercolours. She found Annie’s bright blue eyes the hardest to paint as they were firstly a too-intense blue, then too dull when darkened. Third time lucky and the eyes seemed about right.

Here is Sara Lavelle’s finished portrait of Annie. Also the judges top three, the best of the youngsters’ portraits, one from the director and finally a selection of the many portraits shown on the programme a week later.

Angela M’s charcoal portrait

Angela M has been busy at home and has created this beautiful portrait of a little girl. It’s really detailed, which is difficult to do with charcoal as it can be rather messy. The face is well modelled with the light and dark parts and it makes the portrait look 3D. Well done!

Here’s what Angela says about her artwork…“I took the plunge and did the lesson on Portraits in Charcoal on Art Tutor. I’ve belonged to Art Tutor for several years and I find following the lessons and courses, I have learnt so much. I especially like the pencil and charcoal lessons. Here is the finished drawing of a “Portrait of a girl in charcoal”. I am quite pleased with this first attempt of a portrait and really enjoyed doing it.”

Pachyderms – Oct Weds 2020

Ten members braved the cold, wet weather to meet at the hall and everyone was up-to-date with the current guidelines that we have to meet under, thank you. This time we used the air-conditioning, set to warm at this time of year, to provide the necessary ventilation so we weren’t chilly at all. No coats had to be worn at this session!

The subject was pachyderms i.e. animals with a thick skin, and most people drew elephants, with a couple of hippos and a rhino making an appearance. It was great that four members drew along at home, so their pictures are here too. All photos in the hall were taken on an iPhone at the end of a selfie stick at arm’s length, so no distancing rules were broken.

Three members carried on with their own paintings, a portrait of a granddaughter, a still life and a view in Italy.

October 2020

As at today’s date we are still able to meet in Chalk Parish Hall in multiple groups of 6, so our two sessions this month are going ahead. If the guidelines change during the month we will let you know.

Portrait Artist of the Month (PAOTM) – Dame Judi Dench or Yinka Shonibare

Dame Judi Dench is quite simply a national treasure who has delighted audiences in the theatre, cinemas and in their own homes for decades. Draw or paint Dame Judi at any time of her long life, young or old, or perhaps create a painting with her dressed as one of her many characters. If you have a favourite film starring Dame Judi, use that as a starting point for your work.

Yinka Shonibare, CBE, RA, is a British-Nigerian artist who creates paintings and sculptures in bright colours, using Ankara fabrics as his inspiration. He became better known to the public when his art installation, ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’, with Ankara fabric used for sails of the Victory, was commissioned and stood on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar square in 2010. That sculpture now resides behind the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, so you may have seen it if you’ve walked through Greenwich Park near the museum. He became a Royal Academician in 2013 and his work is highly regarded worldwide. Four postboxes in the UK have been painted black and gold to celebrate Black History Month and the one painted in Brixton is in honour of Yinka.

You can draw or paint Dame Judi or Yinka at a session or at home but send all your pictures to me by the end of the month.

Pachyderms in Pencil

For Wednesday 14th October or at home. From the original Greek, pachys = thick and derma = skin.

Draw in graphite pencils or coloured pencils any pachyderm i.e elephants, rhinoceroses or hippopotamuses. If you want to go further back in history then you could draw mammoths or gomphotheres.

Analogous Autumn

For Saturday 24th October or at home.

Analogous colours are next to each other on the colour wheel. For autumn those colours would be yellow, orange and red, thus conjuring up visions of trees in autumn as their leaves change colour, studies of the leaves themselves or children gambolling through leaves and puddles dressed in Autumn-coloured coats. Pumpkins in their various types can be painted or crunchy red apples in a wicker basket. Whilst we’re in October let’s also think of Hallowe’en, Samhain, witches, ghosts and ghouls. A multitude of ideas so please get painting!

PAOTM October – Tracey Emin and Captain Tom

This month Tracey Emin proved to be the more popular person to create a portrait of, sorry Captain Tom!

Dot used pencils for her portrait of Tracey Emin, capturing her face so well by just using pencil.

Steve was very busy as he painted a portrait of both subjects. Tracey is painted in acrylic and the red background really makes the portrait very vibrant and lively.

For Captain Tom’s portrait Steve used coloured pencil on watercolour paper, making the image look like an old sepia photograph of Captain Tom’s army days in WWII.

Angela D used pencil and a little charcoal for her portrait of Tracey, using long strokes on the hair. This technique gives a textural, 3D quality to a 2D image.

Tracy used pencils in HB, 2B and 4B for her portrait of Tracey, taking about an hour. She decided to use one of Tracey’s neon creations in the image to give a pop of colour.

The background of black acrylic, the neon image in white acrylic and then overpainting in blue and pink actually took longer than drawing the image of Tracey! On Hobbycraft’s A4, 300gsm watercolour paper.

The Circus – Sept Sat 2020

We welcomed twelve members to the session and as you will see from the photos there were three ‘bubbles’ of four members each, with George-in-the-corner allocated to a bubble so he could have chat if he wanted.

It felt a very safe environment with all the tables and chairs anti-bac cleaned beforehand, plenty of ventilation (sorry it was a little chilly!), easy access to water, no mixing between the bubbles and all of us wearing masks all day. We did miss the usual gossip over a coffee in the kitchen but we could chat to the other members in our bubble, catching up with news from the last few months.

The suggested session was The Circus, with many colourful pictures being painted on the day and two painted at home at the same time and then WhatsApp-ed and emailed to me, easy ways for paintings to be sent.

(Apologies for the not-so-good photo quality this time. Instead of using my high megapixel camera I used an iPhone at the end of a selfie stick at arms length, thus being at a distance from the painting and artist. It was hard to see if the photo was in focus and unfortunately a couple weren’t.)

Some members painted different subjects altogether, either starting anew or finishing paintings, including a PAOTM of Tracey Emin, which will feature in a post in a few days.

Dot’s paintings

Dot’s previous paintings were still lifes of what was in front of her and of her garden.

As lockdown eased a little she thought of other countries and has painted three more interesting paintings.

Indian elephants and their mahouts having a break from hard work have made a colourful acrylic painting.

An African mask is the subject here, with so much detail in the colours and small dots.

This vibrant sunset on distant shores evokes feelings of hot days and a wonderful holiday. Lovely work, Dot.

Skies – September Weds 2020

It was so good to be back in the hall for the first time in 6 months. Thank you to all eleven members who came along, especially to Ron and Angela D who helped with setting up and cleaning all the tables and chairs before and after the session.

We actually had room for the tables in the usual big circle, with one person to a table, and we all liked spreading out our art equipment. We can fit several more tables in at a safe 2m distance from each other, so if more members want to come next time then that would be fantastic. Government guidelines do change on Monday 14th September, but we are keeping up to date with what the hall committee advise so we’ll update you as soon as we can.

The upper windows were opened, along with the outer door and the door into the hall. The air vents were turned on to get fresh air inside and even though it was a little noisier than the usual aircon we all got used to it quickly. The 2 bucket system worked well in the kitchen hatch, so getting fresh water and disposing of it when dirty was easy, without everyone having to go into the kitchen.

We kept our masks on all session and the time went really quickly. We all had a good time and it was encouraging that everyone was amenable and patient with each other, thank you.

The subject suggested was ‘skies’, making the sky the main part of the painting. Some made the sky about half the painting, others made the sky 100% of the painting and others were in-between.

Some members did different subjects altogether, with one PAOTM being drawn of Tracey Emin. We honestly don’t mind what you paint or draw, as long as you come along and enjoy the session!

September 2020

You should have received emails from both Steve and myself (Tracy) about meeting at the hall again. Please read those emails thoroughly and we hope to see you in person soon.

Here are ideas to paint this month, which you can paint on the Wednesday and Saturday at the hall. If you don’t intend coming to the hall then paint any of the subjects and send your painting to me by email, text, WhatsApp or Messenger, on the mobile number already sent to you, by the end of September.

Portrait Artist of the Month (PAOTM) – Captain Tom or Tracey Emin

There were a few requests to paint Captain Tom’s portrait, so if you asked, here’s your opportunity. There are lots of photos of Captain Tom online and even one of him and his wife after they were married at Gravesend Register Office in the 1960s, standing in front of the mosaic wall outside. Some of us had our wedding pictures taken in front of the same wall!

JANE FRYER meets Tom Moore, the war veteran who has raised £11million (and  counting!) for the NHS | Daily Mail Online

Tracey Emin is an artist that people love or loathe, but for a portrait she has an interesting face as her features are not symmetrical. When she appeared on the tv programme ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, seeing her vulnerable personality was very moving. Maybe you could paint Tracey’s portrait in front of one her installations, artworks or neon signs?


A subject for Wednesday 9th September if you’re coming to the hall, or anytime at home. Make at least 2/3 or even 3/4 of your painting sky. September often has amazing skies which are bright blue with fluffy clouds, violently stormy or colourful sunsets. Your choice of sky, but make it the majority of your painting.

The Circus

For Saturday 26th September or any time at home. Years ago circuses had animals, so paint elephants, lions, bears, dogs etc from your childhood memories. These days circuses are performer based, so paint acrobats, jugglers, clowns, fire eaters, the ringmaster/mistress, the big top tent etc. Modern circuses such as Cirque du Soleil have become major theatre events worldwide, combining stories with music and human performances. Look on YouTube for Cirque du Soleil shows in all their colourful glory.