PAOTW – Oti Mabuse – 14/3/2021

This week’s sitter was dancer and choreographer Oti Mabuse. Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Oti started dancing lessons when she was just 4 years old. Her mum worked three jobs to pay for Oti’s and her two sisters’ dancing lessons. At 11 Oti went to Germany to live with one of her sisters and to train in dance more. After finishing school Oti’s mum insisted she also learnt ‘a proper job’ so at university she studied engineering. After university Oti realised she loved dancing so much that she wanted it to be her career. Oti trained and danced in competitions for years, moving upwards in the world of Latin and Ballroom dancing. Oti won Strictly Come Dancing in 2019 with Klevin Fletcher and won again in 2020 with Bill Bailey. She is the only professional to have won two years in a row. The tattoos on Oti’s forearms are very true…’Strength through perseverance’ and ‘Believe in yourself’.

Oti was asked to stay in several poses for a little while at the beginning of the session, looking up, down and to the left and right, with her glasses on and then off. This was really useful as we were able to take many screenshots and then choose to draw or paint our favourite pose. Oti’s glasses were a strong prescription so this meant that her facial features were distorted when she wore them. To Oti’s left was a ring light and to her right a window so that is why her face is lit from both sides.

The artist was Curtis Holder, winner of PAOTY 2020. We learnt that since winning PAOTY Curtis has cut back on his teaching hours and now takes commissions for portraits, thus becoming a full time artist, his dream job. He has a very distinct style of creating portraits by using coloured pencils but in a loose, very scribbled style. Curtis did several sketches throughout the session, some with only a few graphite pencil lines and others with many coloured pencil lines. Curtis and Oti talked about their lives and careers so far and it was another interesting session.

Sadly it was the last PAOTW in this third series :o( Every M&C member who took part said how much they will miss the programme. It was brilliant to be part of a global art event, drawing well-known sitters and gleaning tips from fantastic artists, all from the comfort of our own homes. We all hope that as the idea was so successful that Sky TV may consider doing PAOTW again. It was the highlight of lockdown for many of us.

Juliet drew Oti in pencils and by gentle shading has made her face look 3D. By emphasising Oti’s eye by using darker pencil marks Juliet makes sure that we are drawn to her gaze.

Dot painted two portraits of Oti. The first is in watercolour pencils and Dot has bravely tackled Oti’s glasses, with the second portrait in acrylics on paper. Dot saw several different colours in Oti’s skin which she has successfully painted.

Cynthia used Daler Rowney acrylics on a 8″ x 10″ canvas, the background perfectly offsetting Oti’s glowing skin. Cynthia took a screenshot and then put a grid over the top. Instead of drawing a grid on to the actual canvas she used a grid system she made from mountboard and thread that fits perfectly over the canvas. It’s a brilliant idea as it saves trying to rub out the superfluous lines. Thank you for the tip!

Steve enjoyed the great combination of sitter and artist and liked having the choice of poses at the beginning. He also created two portraits of Oti, one with her wearing glasses. The first is in oil pastels on pastel paper, the second coloured pencils on cartridge paper. Steve has caught Oti’s skin tones perfectly, making her portraits very life-like.

Tracy had a disrupted session as it was Mother’s Day so had breakfast cooked for her of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast, followed by a facial, manicure, gel nails and eating a couple of cakes :o) She caught up with the session during the week on Sky TV’s recorded video page, taking about 30 minutes to draw Oti and then about 90 minutes to paint her in profile.

Angela D watched some of PAOTW on catchup and got a good screenshot of one of the judges, Tai Shan Shierenberg, so decided to paint him instead. She used acrylics on acrylic paper taking about 4 hours. Angela has painted Tai’s face so well, we will all know him instantly, well done.

Here is Curtis’s finished portrait, followed by Oti’s favourite portrait and the top three chosen by the judges. There are no portraits by youngsters or a wall of Oti as there was no programme after this session.

PAOTW – Jill Nalder – 7/3/2021

The sitter this week was Jill Nalder, an actor in musical theatre. She has played Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, been in Oliver and a show called Westenders, singing West End and Broadway Hits. She’s also an AIDS activist and inspired writer Russell T Davies to write the recent tv show ‘It’s a Sin’. Jill went to drama school in London in the 1980s and at first didn’t understand why her gay friends fell ill with a mystery illness and went home to die. Those who were too embarrassed to go home Jill nursed until they died. That mystery illness became known as HIV, developing into AIDS and terminal to all who had the virus.

Jill had rented a flat in London with friends and it became known as the Pink Palace as gay friends were welcomed there. She has dedicated her life to raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and raising money for the Terence Higgins Trust and for charities around the world who help the millions of children who have been orphaned when their parents died from AIDS. No M&C members had heard of Jill before but we were all very moved to hear the life story of this amazing and remarkable woman.

Jill wore a very bright pink jumper and lipstick in memory of the Pink Palace, combining it with a crystal necklace that had belonged to her late mother. The lights in the background represent heavenly stars, in memory of all the friends she has lost over the years.

The artist was Greg Mason PAOTY semi finalist in 2017 and LAOTY finalist in 2018. He was at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design at the same time that Jill was at drama school, so he could relate to all that Jill said. He was painting in Majorca, where he spends several months a year.

Greg got Jill to look in different directions so all of us drawing at home could quickly screenshot our favourite pose. Greg drew Jill on aluminium then underpainted her in acrylics during the session, planning on painting over the acrylics with oils in the next couple of days. His acrylic warm colours were Raw Sienna and a pink and the cool colours were a purple, grey and white. For the oil paints he was going to use Liquin, to help the paint flow.

It was another good session and very emotional at times as we found out about Jill.

Steve again created two portraits of Jill which is a great achievement in itself. The first portrait is in soft pastels, the second in oil pastels, both being on Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper. The pictures have very good skin tones and a knowledge of the bone structure of the face.

Juliet’s portrait of Jill is in pencil. The unusual angle of the head gives emphasis to Jill’s long, lustrous locks and well defined cheekbones, with the shadows on her face giving the portrait a 3D look.

Dot did a graphite drawing of Jill and then added the pink jumper in watercolour as it was such an important part of Jill’s story. Jill was reflective a lot of the time but Dot has caught her smiling, which she did when she remembered some of her special friends.

Tracy spent 45 minutes drawing Jill, her long, curly hair taking the most time. Another 45 minutes was spent painting Jill’s jumper in Winsor & Newton’s Opera Pink watercolour paint. On Hobbycraft 300gsm watercolour paper.

Cynthia used acrylics on an 8” x 10” canvas. The beautiful golden and purple colour from the lights in the background compliment Jill’s complexion and jumper perfectly.

Here are Greg’s portrait and the one that Jill chose as her favourite by a member of the public. Following those are the top three chosen by the judges, portraits by three young siblings and then portraits from the wall.

Cynthia’s sketchbook challenge

Cynthia took part in January’s 30 day sketchbook challenge and enjoyed it so much that she decided to carry on. Her husband, Andy, thought of a prompt for every day in February so Cynthia has drawn 28 pictures for the month.

They’re so detailed and imaginative, well done Cynthia!

PAOTW – Clive Myrie – 28/02/2021

This week’s sitter was Clive Myrie, journalist, presenter and BBC newsreader. Clive has been on our tv screens for years and has reported from over 80 countries. He sat quite still in his study and we learnt about his extensive career but he did flap his hands around quite a lot which made them hard to draw. Some members rose to the challenge and included his hands.

Clive loves abstract expressionism and his favourite artists are Willem de Kooning, Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko (a god amongst artists, said Clive), Jackson Pollock and Aubrey Williams. He and his wife have had their portraits painted once, by the artist Ryan Gander . Here is the painting, so make your own minds up if it’s a good representation…

The artist was Kayoon Anderson, a semi finalist on PAOTY 2020. She studied architecture for 3 years but left the course when she decided to make portrait painting her career. Kayoon drew for about 20 minutes to get Clive’s features in the correct place, then started painting on a canvas prepared with a Raw Umber wash. She used Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber. Unusually Kayoon painted the background first, saying she prefers to paint this way as then she can judge the face colours better. It was another very entertaining session with two people of different ages, sexes, backgrounds and careers getting to know each other better.

Here’s Kayoon showing Clive how many colours she saw in his skin.

Cynthia painted in acrylics on an 8” x 10” canvas. She also saw many colours in Clive’s skin, all of which are complemented by the rich purple colour that Cynthia has added as a background.

Steve created two portraits of Clive, the first in coloured pencils on cartridge paper, with Clive’s face looking 3D with the careful shading around his cheeks and chin.

The second portrait is oil pastels on Canson Mi-Teintes paper with Clive looking very serious, but his skin colour rich and looking real.

Juliet used pencils for her sketch, using darker tones around Clive’s eyes, making them look like they are looking intently at whoever he is about to interview.

Dot used watercolours on A4 paper to paint Clive’s face during the session then used watercolour pencils to paint his hands afterwards. She enjoyed the conversation between artist and sitter and like other members commented that although he looks serious reading the news he was a lovely man and the whole conversation very interesting.

For Tracy it was all about Clive’s eyes. While he was being posed at the beginning of the session he looked straight into his computer’s camera and that was the pose Tracy painted. In watercolours on A4 300gsm watercolour paper from Hobbycraft, taking about 30 minutes to draw then 90 minutes to paint.

Here is Kayoon’s finished portrait of Clive, then the picture that he himself chose as his favourite from nearly 2000 entries from the public. After those two are the top three choices by the judges, portraits by the youngsters and images from the wall.

March 2021

Here are a few ideas of what to paint this month. You don’t have to wait until our usual fourth Saturday session date, use the suggested subjects to draw or paint throughout the month. Send any photos of your painting to Tracy by email, text, WhatsApp or Messenger, giving details of medium and paper use, time taken etc. If you haven’t painted for months then dust off your art equipment and make a start.

SCOTLAND

This year is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott, one of Scotland’s most famous novelists and historians. He wrote many books, plays and poems, so paint a picture of one of the characters or a scene from his books. Alternatively paint a portrait of Sir Walter himself.

Traditional Landscapes – the highlands, islands, lowlands or lochs.

Urban landscapes – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, St.Andrews, Paisley, Elgin.

Wildlife – animals found in or around Scotland – hares, red squirrels, pine martens, wildcats, red deer, seals, minke whales, bottle nose dolphins, otters, golden eagles, puffins, ospreys, highland cattle, western capercaillies etc.

Castles – Cawdor, Braemar, Balmoral, Caerlaverock, Blair, Dunottar, Linlithgow, Crathes, Inveraray, Edinburgh, Glamis, Eileen Donan, Stirling, Kellie.

Such a huge variety to choose from so paint more than one picture!

EASTER

Easter isn’t until April, but it’s early in the month, on Sunday 4th. Some members like painting Easter scenes or cards to send, so if you’re busy painting these, do send some photos to Tracy of your creations. Paint traditional religious scenes or Easter eggs, hares, chicks, rabbits, baskets, spring flowers etc.

MARCH

March is named for Mars, Roman God of War. Paint his portrait from images available of statues, mosaics and wall art from Roman times. Or listen to ‘Mars, Bringer of War’ from Gustav Holst’s The Planets and use the music to channel your thoughts into images which you put onto paper. Shut your eyes, listen to the music and start creating.

Portrait Artist of the Month – February 2021

The two names suggested for February’s PAOTM were Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Sir Norman Wisdom. Both no longer with us but with long careers spanning decades meaning there’s plenty of reference photos available.

Angela D painted Elizabeth Taylor in acrylics on watercolour paper. Elizabeth’s hair has been painted very skilfully, the highlights making it appear 3D and her face has a look so intense that the viewer has no doubt they are being scrutinised.

Juliet drew both Elizabeth Taylor and Norman Wisdom in pencil. Elizabeth looks very glamorous with Juliet emphasising her eyes and full lips. Norman’s cheeky grin has been drawn perfectly and we know he is just about to get up to some mischief.

Steve used Guitar oil pastels on Bockingford watercolour paper for his portrait of Elizabeth. The skin tones look real and the darker shading on her cheeks and under her chin work so well, highlighting Elizabeth’s bone structure.

Tracy painted Elizabeth in watercolours on A4 300gsm watercolour paper by Hobbycraft, taking about 30 minutes to draw and then 90 minutes to paint. The original publicity photo was taken in 1955 when Elizabeth was only 23.

Dot painted in watercolours on A4 Bockingford watercolour paper, giving Elizabeth a really strong look by painting her features close up. It’s a very striking portrait.

Paintings from February 2021

The suggested subjects for this month were painting in yellow and grey, which are Pantone’s Colours of the Year 2021, and anything to do with the Chinese New Year of the Ox. It’s good to know that several members painted at home during the month so here are their paintings. (Portraits for February’s PAOTM will be in another post).

Juliet has been very busy this month, creating pictures of a dragon, a farmer using an ox to plough and a landscape of a field in grey and yellow. All three are in watercolours and watercolour pencils, with lots of details.

Susan has already painted pictures from her holiday to Vietnam in 2020 during the Lunar New Year and a landscape in grey and yellow (to see them please scroll down to the post dated 18/2/2021). She painted the ploughing ox at home last weekend and her bee picture was painted using only Cadmium Yellow and Payne’s Grey.

Angela D used yellow and grey to paint her picture of flowers. It took about 30 minutes, proving you can paint a picture with detail and style, using just two colours in a short time.

Tracy was determined to use the colours yellow and grey in an abstract way. She spent about an hour drawing the precise lines and letters onto watercolour paper and then coloured in the shapes using a yellow Posca pen and a grey felt tip.

Dot painted this picture recently for another art group when the suggested subject was tropical fish, painting a colourful aquarium.

Many members of M&C are also members of two or three other art groups, so if you do paintings for those other art groups we don’t mind at all if you’d like the paintings shown on this blog too! It’s always interesting to know what people are painting.

PAOTW – Nicola Coughlan – 21/2/2021

The third series of PAOTW started with actor Nicola Coughlan sitting patiently and happily chatting away for hours. She is an actor best known for Derry Girls and more recently the Netflix hit Bridgerton, where she took the part of Penelope Featherington. The characters she has played are usually teenagers but incredibly Nicola is 34 but as she has unlined, glowing skin she looks so much younger than her age.

The artist was Alastair Faulkner who appeared as a contestant in PAOTY and a wildcard in LAOTY, both in 2018. Art is his hobby as well as playing the piano and in real life he is an NHS Trauma and Orthopaedic surgeon. He took part in the NHS Portraits for Heroes event and created a massive painting of the team of NHS professionals he works with every day.

For Nicola’s portrait Alastair used a limited palette of Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Cobalt Blue, Ivory Black and Raw Sienna. He usually starts portraits with a Raw Umber wash on the canvas as it’s a mid tone and and takes away the original white. He didn’t bother with a drawing of Nicola but got on straight away using paint to outline her head and features. They talked about many things and we found out that Alastair’s favourite operation is piecing together a fractured elbow! It was another good session and the time zoomed past.

Dot sketched Nicola as she does all the sitters but then decided to use watercolour pencils to add colour to her sketch. Watercolour pencils can be tricky to use but Dot used them skilfully, achieving a good likeness of Nicola with beautiful skin tones.

Cynthia made a rough outline of Nicola on Sunday then continued on Tuesday with acrylics on her favourite canvas size of 8″ x 10″. She achieved soft skin tones, beautifully painted Nicola’s bright blue eyes and the capture of the highlight on the nacre on the pearl earring is sublime.

Steve used oil pastels on Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper. Oil pastels can be quite messy but Steve has used them very well, giving Nicola a glowing skin and colourful tones on her highlighted hair.

Juliet sketched Nicola using her favourite sketching medium of pencils. She has captured Nicola’s slightly ethereal quality perfectly by giving her eyes slightly darker emphasis than the rest of het face. Good earrings too, they were a quite complicated curved shape.

Tracy drew Nicola for 30 minutes then spent about 2 hours painting her in watercolours. As Nicola was pale and wore a white blouse she disappeared into the background so Tracy added burnt umber to make her come forward in the painting.

Here is Alastair’s finished portrait of Nicola followed by the judges top three paintings by the public, their favourite three paintings by young artists and images from the wall shown at the beginning of the programme. There was no favourite painting by Nicola, but if she chooses one in a following programme it will be added later.

Susan’s paintings

“Chúc Mừng Năm Mới”…that’s Happy New Year in Vietnamese.
Susan and her husband, Neil, visited Vietnam at the beginning of 2020, during the Tểt celebration for the Lunar New Year. She took many photos and drew sketches of their holiday. Susan used these references to paint the following two pictures in pen, inks and watercolour, beautifully evoking her visit to an amazing country.

Susan was also inspired by the suggested idea of using the two Pantone Colours of the Year, yellow and grey. Using just Payne’s Grey and Lemon Yellow she has mixed the two colours into many different colours and tones. The subject was a walk from the first lockdown in April 2020. What a dramatic sky over fields, hope you got home before the clouds burst!

Super work, Susan, you have created paintings that will hopefully inspire other members to get painting this month.

30 day sketchbook challenge – January 2021

Sketchbook challenges are run throughout the year by many artists on social media, but this challenge was run by artist, printmaker and author Susan Yeates on her website www.magenta-sky.com. Every day Susan emailed and put on Facebook a prompt and and video of how to attempt the prompt, with hints, tips and advice of how to tackle the subject.

Here are all the prompts from the month, so if you didn’t take part at the time, you could pick a few ideas and have a go at sketching them now.

Cynthia took part from day one and every single day created a detailed sketch of the prompt. A few are in colour and the rest were done with pencil, achieving great detail in all her sketches. Here they are in several photos. (Tap on the first photo to see the image in a larger scale and then tap/click onward to the next photos.) Cynthia enjoyed the month so much that she is carrying on sketching every day, with a prompt suggested by her husband.

Tracy started the challenge a couple of days late but soon caught up. A friend at Gravesend Art Group gave the tip of using Post-it notes for the sketches. This means the sketch is small, doesn’t take a long time, can be done on colourful paper and then stuck into a sketchbook. Sketching small took the pressure off having to create a big image every day and taking a maximum of 15 minutes per sketch meant the task was quickly achieved. The sketches were done in pencil, pen and a little watercolour.

Kay did two prompts but working full time and monitoring two teenagers doing home schooling has meant not much time for art. It’s a great start so hopefully when life gets back to normal do look back at the prompts and sketch a few more.