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 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.

February 2021

Here are a few ideas for you to paint at home as we still cannot meet at the parish hall for our sessions. Send Tracy photos of your paintings by email, text, WhatsApp or Messenger by the end of the February, giving details of the medium, paper, time taken etc.

Portrait Artist of the Month (PAOTM)

These two very famous actors were born in the month of February…

Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Sir Norman Wisdom.

They had long lives and careers so you can draw or paint them young or old or as absolutely any tv or film character they played. Such a vast choice of images online, so choose a favourite one. As mentioned before, you don’t have to spend hours on a painting, take 30 minutes to draw their likenesses.

February is not named after a Roman god but the Roman month Februarius, from the word ‘februum’ meaning purification, after a ceremony that was held on the 15th.  

Saint Valentine of Rome is celebrated on February 14th, so you could paint his image, or anything to do with our modern Valentine’s Day.

Pantone Colour of the Year 2021

Pantone is the company known worldwide for its colour matching system.  For the past 20 years they have chosen a colour to represent the year, but for 2021 they have chosen two colours.
They are Illuminating (13-0647) a brightish yellow like cadmium yellow and Ultimate Grey (17-5104) a mid grey.  Read what Pantone have to say about these two colours…

Choose the yellow and and paint birds, flowers like daffodils and tulips, butterflies, sunlight etc, or use the grey for skies, landscapes or grey animals. Or you could combine the 2 colours in one painting, realistic or abstract.

Chinese Year of the Ox

Draw or paint oxen pulling ploughs or carts, in fields or in the wild.

Portrait Artist of the Month – January 2021

This month there were several names suggested to draw or paint and it was great that several members had a go. Sean Connery just pipped Honor Blackman as the most popular subject, along with one Janus and a Kenzō Takada.

Steve drew Sean Connery and then added colour in Derwent Artists’ coloured pencils. It’s good to see the marks of the pencils as the colour is built up on Sean’s face, creating a very striking image.

Angela D drew Honor Blackman in pencil on cartridge paper from a publicity shot from Honor’s younger days, taking about 2 hours. Very gentle pencil marks were used for the softness of Honor’s skin.

Dot drew an image in pencil of the Roman God Janus, after whom the month of January is named. He is looking looking back to the past but at the same time looking forward to the future. The head looks 3D with the pencil markings from light to really dark

Susan drew Sean Connery in pencil, in a loose style but with enough pencil marks to a capture a good likeness. Sean’s eyes are especially noticeable, with his dark gaze.

Juliet sketched Honor Blackman in pencil in about an hour. She captured Honor’s beautiful face and coy look perfectly in a short time.

Angela M drew a study of Sean Connery in only 45 minutes. Proving that you don’t have to sit and draw for hours, you can put pencil to paper in a short time and get a good likeness of the subject.

Tracy drew and then painted the fashion designer Kenzō Takada in watercolours, taking about 90 minutes. The background of the original photo was very busy so she left all the distractions out and focused on Kenzō himself. It was her first time painting Oriental skin but managed to get a good match by combining Cadmium Red, Sap Green and Raw Sienna.

January 2021 – In the Bleak Midwinter

Several members painted last weekend, when our first Saturday session should have been held. All agreed that it felt good to paint again and we all enjoyed ourselves. Making time for a hobby is important for our wellbeing and we felt the day was good art therapy.

‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ was the suggested subject and all members painted to that theme. Some used their own photos, some their imagination and others were inspired by images in books and on Instagram.

Susan used watercolours to paint her two pictures. The first is Nurstead Church Lane, with the skeletal trees suggesting winter.

Susan’s second painting is of a snowy path through the woods towards Northfleet Green.

Susan also took a photo of the above painting in black and white. It is shown below and it’s interesting that it gives the same image a different perspective. The painting in colour feels like the yellowish tree to the left and browny green tree to the right are the main focus, as your eye moves around the painting. In the black and white image that centre of focus changes to the centre of the painting with the gap through the trees. What do you think?

Christine painted her picture of a snowy scene in watercolours. Lovely to see the children have built a snowman and now they look ready for a snowball fight.

Peter’s winter scene is painted in acrylics and he has got great detail into his picture. You can see the main characters are skating across the picture by lamplight.

Dot’s painting started out as an ink drawing but she decided to add colour, which is enhanced against the black ink. By including mountains, cabins and trees it feels like you’re in a European ski resort, ready to go back into the warm after a day’s skiing.

Juliet painted her two pictures using watercolours and coloured pencils. By making a tree the main focus you know it’s a cold scene by the total lack of foliage against the snow. The skies in both paintings are sublime, showing how the sky in a wintry scene doesn’t have to be pale or grey, they can be the main focus of colour.

Steve painted in watercolour using a photo he took last week from the football field in Cobham of the church. What a contrast to snow paintings, showing just how contrary January weather can be, with some cold days having bright skies and saturated colours.

Angela D saved a reference photo of a snowy tree years ago and was pleased to be able to use it for this subject. It’s only her second painting of snow and has mastered it well, as the complicated branches of the tree look 3D. It’s in acrylics and took her 3 hours.

Tracy was inspired by a photo she saw on Instagram of snowy fields in Yorkshire. A simple sky was painted in watercolours then field lines in grey in the distance get darker as they get closer to the viewer, until the shapes of the trees in the foreground are in black pen.

Dot’s summer scene

Dot started this oil painting when we visited Chalk Church last August. As a total contrast to the cold, wet weather we’re having now, she has been busy painting to finish the picture.

What a wonderful image that we could walk into to enjoy the hot sun on our skin and have a swim in the inviting sea, lovely!

Dot’s painting

Dot has painted this illustrated quotation and it’s very moving. Life really does pass by like this. Having the letter ‘L’ made larger and painting the flowers around it really makes it stand out.
It has been beautifully painted and lettered, well done, Dot!

January’s 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge

A huge thank you to Cynthia who has made me (Tracy) aware of this 30 day sketchbook challenge on Facebook. Led by an artist called Susan Yeates, every day in January a subject prompt is suggested to you and you spend 5 or 10 minutes sketching that subject. You can just sketch it or take it further with a painting or design that takes you longer, it is your choice.

I think it’s a great idea if it gets a pencil or pen in your hand for just a few minutes. I know some M&C members haven’t done any art for months, so perhaps this is a way of spending 5 minutes a day getting you back into drawing? If you don’t have a sketchbook to hand you can use paper from your printer, a lined notebook, post-it notes, the back of wrapping paper or spare wallpaper etc.

If you’re already on Facebook type ‘30 Day Sketchbook Challenge’ into the search bar and the page should come up. Click on it and request to join the page. I did that yesterday and a day later have been approved to join the page, so now I can see what people have been creating since 1st January. Look at the page every day to see the new prompt.

The three prompts so far have been…1st January – buttons and beads, the 2nd – teapots and the 3rd – biscuits.

You can then post your pictures on the Facebook page and I’ve seen Cynthia’s already, well done :o)

It’s very interesting seeing how other people interpret the prompt with a quick pencil sketch, a tiny colourful painting or a bigger mixed media picture, but you don’t have to show your pictures on the Facebook page if you don’t want to. One lady has painted her teapot on a dried tea bag!

A lot of you will say you don’t have Facebook, but that doesn’t matter. You can sign up for a daily email with the prompt on Susan Yeates’ website at…

The orange banner at the top says ‘Join the FREE 30 day sketchbook challenge – find out more’. Click on that link and scroll down to where it says ‘join the sketchbook challenge’ in a rectangular red box. Click on that box, fill in your email details then go to your emails and click on the email which asks you to confirm your subscription. It was very easy and it took me about 30 seconds. You will get an email every morning with the day’s prompt, but you can unsubscribe at any time.

I hope you give it a go, even for a few days, you might enjoy it and feel arty again. By the end of the month send me a few of your favourite sketches/paintings and I’ll collate them and post them on the blog.