This second Instagram collection comes from my studio and painting practice, you can read more about the story behind each photo on Instagram @willkempartschool

Cheers,
Will

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After following along with painting tutorials, learning new skills and getting excited to develop your own painting practice, it can feel like a step into the unknown when trying to choose what subjects to paint next.

Should you paint landscapes, still lifes or work towards portraits? With so many choices it can quickly lead to indecision and procrastination.

I’d like to share with you some of my photos I use as my own visual diary that inspire my sketches, paintings and palette choices. It could be from museums trips or travels to new cities, new paint experimentation’s in my studio or simply a fall of light on a through a window that has a great quality to it.

Just as a painters palette can give you a glimpse into the painters approach, your camera roll can reveal what really interests you. The compositions you naturally create, the repeated colours that keep on cropping up and patterns of the negative spaces you’ve observed, all contribute to your own personal style.

Below are a selection of photos with a brief description of what inspired me at the time and this first collection comes from my trips around National Trust properties, focusing on historical kitchens.

Also, I’ll be regularly posting the photo collections to my new Instagram account, really hope you enjoy them.

Cheers,

Will

click to see photos

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oil paint glaze recipe

How to Glaze an Oil Portrait for Beginners Course

When I was trying to find my way in portraiture, I’d spend hours studying Old Master paintings thinking “Wow, how did they do that?

I was flummoxed.

Not only did the skin look realistic, but they’d managed to capture those bluish grey tones that lie just beneath the skin’s surface. In my naivety, I just couldn’t work out how you could paint one colour next to another colour yet create such a smoky transition.

I’d repetitively ask Vanessa, “When will I be able to paint the melt of the cheek you see on the Mona Lisa?

Unhelpfully she used to say “Isn’t it just old?

Inwardly I’d sigh.

And then I discovered oil glazing… Click to continue

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When Vanessa suggested a spot of Winter sun, if I’m honest, I dragged my feet.

Locations where being proposed and I politely nodded.

When she casually mentioned a possible trip to Seville, my interest was piqued.

Why?

Seville was the birthplace and hometown of Spanish artist Diego Velázquez, and one of my favourite paintings is the ‘Waterseller of Seville’ by Velázquez, but I had never seen it in the flesh, was it even in Seville?

Caught up in the fever of ‘my’ trip, I got researching and discovered the painting was actually hanging much closer to home, in Apsley House, London.

Apsley House? Where’s that?

Well as it turns out, it’s known as Number One London and sits at Hyde Park Corner.

How had I missed it on all my gallery trips and what else was there?

Holy Moly! There’s a study for Pope Innocent X by Velázquez, there’s a Goya, in fact, there’s another portrait by Velázquez and some cracking portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence.

I shouted through to Vanessa ‘Do you fancy a trip to Knightsbridge?

Who knew train tickets could be booked so quickly?… Click to continue

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will kemp winter tutorial

Snow.

It can seem a tricky subject to capture.

Is it white? Is it blue? How do you paint it to look soft, or darken it without it looking dull?

Having a ‘less is more’ approach to your palette can reflect the colours of Winter absolutely perfectly – without getting complicated.

And the first clue to a convincing Winter snowscape, is the sky… click to continue

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portrait-painting-oil-glazing-techniques

There was a small sign that hung below an empty black space, it read ‘In Prestito‘.

On loan.

Last Summer I was back in Florence, Italy, to visit one of my favourite paintings that had enticed me to the city over 10 years ago.

The only problem was, when I got to the gallery, the painting wasn’t there.

It was at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and I had missed it.

The painting?

Caravaggio’s sleeping Cupid. Click to read more

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Urban Sketching For Beginners Drawing Course – New Course!

by Will Kemp drawing
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Morning Class! This new Urban Sketching for Beginners Course, reveals how observing everyday life can give an eye-opening appreciation for the towns and cities that we live in. You don’t need to drive out to the country to draw from life, from an artistic point of view, urban settings have just as much appeal! The […]

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An Art Material Addicts Guide to becoming a Minimalist Sketcher

by Will Kemp drawing
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Hi, my name is Will and I am an art material addict. When the new season art catalogue arrives, I prepare a large cafetiere of coffee, find a comfy chair and indulge in a little bit of window shopping. If I spot a new ‘innovative ink system’, it’s hard to imagine how my drawings can exist […]

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Urban Sketching Tutorial for Beginners

by Will Kemp drawing
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This week we’re going to be bringing our pen sketching skills into the urban environment. Sketching your surroundings can be such a fantastic way to create a visual diary of your daily experiences and I’m always a sucker for a sketch of a bike. This video tutorial looks at how you can use different thicknesses […]

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Inside Rembrandt’s Studio

by Will Kemp oil painting
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Earlier in the Summer, I took an impromptu trip to see ‘Late Rembrandt‘. It was the first time that an exhibition had been solely dedicated to Rembrandt’s late works. Many of the most famous paintings that he produced in the last 15 years of his life had been brought together from museums and private collections […]

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New Landscape Sketching Course is Live

by Will Kemp drawing
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I’ve just finished creating a new sketching course taking some of my drawing techniques out of the studio into the countryside. In ‘The Essential Guide to Sketching the Landscape’ we look at new materials, techniques but most importantly what ‘works’ in a landscape sketch, from composition and simple perspective to changing your viewpoint to achieve […]

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How to Paint a Cornish Harbour in Acrylics – Video Tutorial

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Downloading the reference photograph The photo below can be ‘right clicked’ and ‘Save image as’, so you can use it as a reference image, print it out and follow along with the video above. You can also download a High-Resolution Image here…

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Painting, Pasties & Padstow – A Cornish Painting trip

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Considering it was mid-April in England, we were treated to some truly amazing weather. We’d travelled down the coast to an area of South East Cornwall called ‘The Forgotten Corner’. Often overlooked due to its remote location but we found some cracking little-secluded coves and practically empty sandy beaches. Artist’s have always been drawn to […]

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Singer Sargent & Friends

by Will Kemp painting
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An Artist in His Studio, John Singer Sargent, 1904 Last month saw the opening of a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The show highlights the work of one of my favourite portrait painters, John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925) I’ve been a fan of Singer Sargent’s paintings ever since visiting the […]

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On painting, procrastination and what might have been

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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 “For of all sad word of tongue or pen, the saddest are these. “It might have been.” John Greenleaf Whittier I always feel so sad when I read this quote, “It might have been…” What a waste. So many aspiring artists come to me with a real passion for learning how to paint and ask […]

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On Tate, Turner & Unlikely Partnerships

by Will Kemp painting
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J.M.W Turner, Margate (?) from the sea, about 1835-40 11 years ago on a very cold winters morning I was poised with a dripping wet floor mop, recreating a painting by J.M.W Turner. My audience were a group of five cleaners from the Museum I worked at. The workshop wasn’t really going to plan. I […]

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How to Paint Acrylic Portraits

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Painting portraits with acrylics can be frustrating. It can seem that you’re facing an uphill struggle. After the pleasure of not getting headaches from toxic turpentine and being able to paint with thick impasto marks there seems to be double payback for daring to tackle a portrait with acrylics. Not only do the colours appear […]

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Landscape Sketching in the Highlands

by Will Kemp drawing
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After a long drive we arrived at Laundry cottage in the pitch black, the only sound was running water from the nearby waterfall. There had been a few minor worries en-route, slight overheating, suspicious drips from under the car and the Sat-Nav had given up the ghost but we were here…and the pack of shortbread […]

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How to Draw Light & Shadow Course is Live!

by Will Kemp drawing
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I’ve just finished creating a new drawing course that follows on from the Absolute Beginners Drawing Course. In ‘How to Draw Light & Shadow for Beginners’ we look at new materials, techniques and work on some figurative drawings. A lot of students come to me who already have basic understanding of drawing and confidence with […]

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How to choose the perfect white for your Acrylic painting

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Seems a little far-fetched doesn’t it? That your white paint could be ruining your paintings. It’s often the first tube of paint you buy and definitely the most used on your palette … yet can be the most overlooked paint in your collection. You can become transfixed by the Quinacridones, save up for the expensive Cadmiums […]

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New Updated Drawing Course is live!

by Will Kemp drawing
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Sketch by Will Kemp, View from The Uffizi Gallery Window in Florence, Italy New Updated step-by-step Online Drawing Course I’ve been super busy updating and ‘polishing up’ my Absolute Beginners Drawing Class to help aspiring artists to fulfill their creative potential and I’m delighted with the results. The Artists Eye Having studied film and cinematography, I’ve […]

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How to paint light & shade in Acrylics (Part 3 of 3 – Videos)

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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“Painting is drawing with the added complication of colour and tone” Harold Speed – The Practice & Science of Drawing In this light and shadow series we look at the theory, drawing and painting of a simple form focusing on shadow, light and edges. Part 1 we looked at the theory of light and shadow. […]

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How to shade a drawing (Light & Shadow : Part 2)

by Will Kemp drawing
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In this light and shadow series we look at the theory, drawing and painting of a simple form focusing on shadow, light and edges. in Part 1 we looked at the theory of light and shadow. This week we’re going to put pencil to paper and see how the theory works in a simple pencil […]

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A Beginners Guide to Light & Shadow : Part 1

by Will Kemp drawing
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Cezanne, Oil on Canvas, still life with seven apples, 1878 Ever felt frustrated having worked so hard on a drawing – only to find it still looks ‘flat’? Is it the proportions? The perspective? Perhaps the composition? Whilst these all play an integral part, the most effective method of making your drawings appear three dimensional, […]

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7 Questions every Artist needs to ask before Varnishing an Oil Painting

by Will Kemp oil painting
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An Introduction to Varnishing an Oil Painting As we’ve discussed in 3 Reasons why artists varnish their work (and why some artists don’t) varnishing is primarily an aesthetic choice on the final finish of your painting. Not only can it really bring up the vibrancy and richness in your realist paintings but it offers protection for […]

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New – Small Glass Acrylic Study is Live!

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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New Small Glass Study Acrylic Video Course Merry Christmas class! The new mini-course where I paint a coloured glass and festive oranges is now available! Whoo ho! ho! ho! It’s the perfect addition to the Masterclass Acrylics Course or a great little introduction to the more complex subject of reflections and glass. If you have […]

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3 Reasons why artists varnish their work (and why some artists don’t)

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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We’ve all done it. Spent hours, days, even weeks slaving away on a painting but when we finally apply a varnish…it all goes horribly wrong. The anxiousness builds. You’re now sure there’s mismatched sheens on the surface and it was perfect before you started varnishing! Or maybe you thought it was a good idea to […]

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A Thanksgiving Thanks!

by Will Kemp painting
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In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to thank all the comments, questions, students and well wishers that have helped the blog to grow over the last year. We now have over 100,000 visitors a month and we’ve gone from 500,000 views to just short of hitting nearly hit the 2,000,000 views on YouTube, Woohoo! […]

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How to paint, sleep (and nearly die) like Cézanne

by Will Kemp painting
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I knew we were in trouble when I opened the car door and brown water started flooded in. ‘Shut the door!’ shouted Vanessa. “Mon Dieu, Mon Dieu!” muttered our French driver, holding her head in her hands. The car had stalled. The small country road we had driven along in brilliant sunshine only a few short hours […]

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Still Life Acrylic Masterclass Course is Live!

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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New Still Life Acrylic Masterclass Course Morning class!  The Still Life Masterclass in Acrylics course is now available, whoo hoo! Have you ever asked yourself : ‘How do I make my paintings look more professional?‘ At some point in every artist’s development you get to a stage where your paintings are looking pretty good, you […]

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