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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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 lessons follow a logical progression, from sketching static buildings and monuments to capturing the movement of individual figures and bustling crowds, enabling you to practice your drawing skills and create fast, bold urban sketches with pencils, pens, or watercolors—whatever tools you have on hand.

Topics include:

  • Choosing your materials
  • Building structure into your drawing
  • Sketching architecture
  • Capturing panoramic views of a city
  • Drawing people in cafes
  • Sketching movement
  • Bringing it all together in a start-to-finish drawing

This online drawing course shows you how to draw from life, learn how to draw buildings, street scenes, cafés, and people and you can read more here.

 

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urban sketching in Florence

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 without it.

And if a magazine states ‘Free Pen (RRP £30) when you spend £50 or more on drawing products’ I’d be a fool to miss out!

But the reality is, when I take my sketches out of the studio into the city or countryside, there is a recurring theme.

Most of the new materials I buy are left behind in my growing number of art supply boxes and I find myself grabbing the same few trusted pens that work well together – again and again.

In fact, to create a huge variety of styles, it’s probably less than 10 materials and that includes different ink colours.

So this week I want to introduce you to my Top #4 Minimalist City Slicker combination sets that I actually use when I’m out sketching on location… Click to continue

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pen-bike-sketch-detail small

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 of pens to create variety in your sketches, and how thinking about the surrounding shapes outside your main subject can add context to your drawings.

A Step-by-Step Urban Sketching Lesson

How do you start a sketch?… Click to continue

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outsideannefrankamsterdam

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 across the globe.

This period is often the most celebrated due to Rembrandt’s development of a more gestural, impressionistic style and this was some 200 years before the popularity of the Impressionists.

He was out there!

I’d missed the exhibition when it was on show in London at the National Gallery but for the final leg of the tour it was going home to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Heavy dark shadows, hidden brooding eyes, thick scratchy textured marks, lots of Brown umbers and a dirty yellow varnish glow are all the things that excite me about Rembrandt’s self-portrait style.

With the allure of Nutella Waffles, the opportunity to visit Rembrandt’s Studio and the once in a lifetime chance of seeing so many Rembrandt’s up close together, how could I resist… Click to continue

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how to sketch outside
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 maximum results.

Developing the habit of thumbnail sketches can build your confidence when gathering reference information out on location and you’ll become used to using your sketchbook to its full advantage, without feeling pressured to make every piece a finished work of art.

If you want to learn more about discovering the simple pleasure of sketching outdoors, soaking up the sounds and atmosphere click here to watch an intro video to the course

Cheers,

Will

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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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 “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.” Kurt Vonnegut 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 to learn how to paint and ask me where should […]

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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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How to paint glass & reflections with acrylics Part 3 of 3

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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In Part 1 we looked at how to master the basic features of your digital camera, so you can emulate how your eyes see things in nature to give you fantastic reference photographs for your still life painting. In Part 2 we saw how small incremental changes in your composition and lighting can instantly create […]

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Are you 1cm away from the perfect composition? Part 2 of 3

by Will Kemp drawing
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Creating a great still life painting often occurs before you’ve even picked up the brush. In this part of Setting up a Still Life series, we’re going to look at using natural light, whilst also considering the incremental changes in the actual composition of the piece. In Part 1 we looked at how to master […]

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How to shoot stunning still life set ups for your paintings – Part 1 of 3

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Will Kemp, Still Life with Figs, Photograph, 2012 Have you ever got out your digital camera to take a shot of your still life set up and been sorely disappointed with the results? Your photo looks washed out, or too dark or the flash had popped up and flattened the whole scene. You’re not alone […]

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What is the best background colour for your studio walls & why does it matter?

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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One of the most common colour questions I get asked on the Art School is “How do I choose the right colour to paint my coloured ground?” But before I tackle that subject in more detail, I wanted to look at an often overlooked subject, studio wall colour. To answer the previous question completely, you […]

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French Café Scene with Acrylics Tutorial – Free video Course Part 5 of 5

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Essential acrylic painting starter set! This is the final part of the painting and we can start to reap the rewards from our careful underpainting and patience. If you’ve just stumbled on the tutorial you can catch up below: Part 1 & 2 of the French cafe painting tutorial Part 3 French cafe painting tutorial […]

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