Rames Head

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 Cornwall due to the quality of light and mild climate, but the trip for me was all about getting to the sea.

The ever changing tide, the allure of cliff edges, the great expanse of sky and the unpredictable power of the waves.

We wanted to get to the edge, be battered by the elements and this was the closest we could find.

view from our window

 View from our cottage window - Rame Peninsula, Cornwall Click to continue

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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.

harbour tutorial will kemp art school small

You can also download a High-Resolution Image here... Click to continue

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An Artist in His Studio,1904

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 Tate in London as 15 year old student, blown away by Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, the most compelling scene with its magical sense of glowing light.

Carnation lily lily rose

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, John Singer Sargent, Oil on canvas, 1885

I’d always thought it was quite a small painting having only seen it in books, but in reality it’s nearly 2 meters tall by 1.5 meters wide, the sheer scale of it being life-size really draws you into the piece. The golden hour light is fading and the glow from the lanterns illuminates the girls faces so beautifully.

And that’s often the most fantastic thing about visiting an exhibition, the experience of sitting in front of the painting and seeing it through the artist’s eyes… Click to continue

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acrylic abstract painting

 “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 they start?

Not knowing where to begin or muddling along on your own can be really slow progress and eventually the paints can spend more time in your box than on your canvas.

Your dreams of becoming a painter get lost.

But you were so close!

If you came to my studio with the question ‘I have a week to learn how to paint, what do I need to know?

I’d strip the learning process down to basics, the fewest brushes, a few key colours and an essential introduction to the wide properties of acrylics.

Materials and set up, colour mixing and pigment choice, brush handling and palette knife techniques and gels and mediums.

Then we’d get painting using methods that achieve great results even if you’ve got no artistic training.

Why Acrylics?

Acrylics can be used in thin transparent washes like water colours or in a thicker more opaque form like oil paint.

They dry quickly and can be diluted and cleaned with water making them simple to use, odourless and accessible for the beginner.

So when are you coming round, right?

If you’ve never even picked up a pencil I’d always usually recommend learning how to draw. Which I know sounds a little deflating … you want to learn how to paint!

However, learning to draw sets you so far ahead, so quickly, it really is the most ‘bang for your buck’ for a set of principles that don’t change.

But what if the allure of colour is too much to resist and you want to get straight into painting?

Well, I’ve been working on a new course just for you…

Click to continue

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turner margate

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 was trying to teach this group of absolute beginners how to paint like Turner in a morning.

At the end of the morning workshop their finished paintings would be displayed in an exhibition, open to the public.

Oh, the other artist who was exhibiting in the exhibition?

The main man himself, a collection of original Turner watercolours.

Now where did I put that mop?… Click to continue

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acrylic portrait painting tutorialPainting 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 unsophisticated and garish but the paint dries too quickly to blend together successfully, especially when you’re trying to mix subtle skin tones.

You can be left feeling disappointed with your results, admit defeat and crack out the thinners for another go with the Oils.

I’ve been working on a new portrait course, that can help develop your portrait skills and dramatically shorten your learning curve to achieving classical looking portraits with acrylics… Click to continue

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Landscape Sketching in the Highlands

by Will Kemp drawing

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

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

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

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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