How often have you heard yourself say “I’d love to paint but I’ve got too much going on… I’ll have to wait till I’ve finished work….the kids have grown up….

“I wish I had more time to paint but… but, but, but”

Just finding space to set your paints out means upheaval of something else and squeezing a free window of time feels too difficult to plan in an already jam-packed calendar.

And then, having to learn how to paint on top of that ….uh, I can see why you’d think you’d have to wait until you retire!

But is it possible by not painting now, you’re missing out?

What if you don’t need more time to paint, but you need to paint, to give your mind a much-needed refresh?… click to continue

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Detail, Mary Zouch, Hans Holbein The Younger, Black and Coloured Chalks, Pen and Ink c.1532-43, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

I was in London last month to catch the Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt exhibition, held at the National Portrait Gallery until 22 October 2017.

I was particularly interested in studying the collection of portrait drawings by Hans Holbein the Younger on loan from the Queen’s Royal Collection, Windsor Castle.
I’ve always admired Holbein’s oil portraits at the National Gallery London and the Uffizi Gallery, Florence but only ever seen images of some of his drawings in books.

The exhibition room was quite small, the lights low with very few other visitors and it really felt such a privilege to view these drawings in such an intimate space.

The walls were painted a dark Prussian Blue and many of the Holbein drawings were on a muted pink ground hung side-by-side in a line. They were all relatively the same size and the first thing I noticed as my eye jumped across them, was the variety of silhouette shapes created by the headwear and angle of the pose gave a real sense of the sitter.

You can’t help your mind wandering back to the Tudor Court of Henry VIII and wondering about the characters in the portraits (and for the fans of ‘Wolf Hall’ I have to admit, I was silently humming the theme tune)

They felt so fresh with some of the contour lines reminding me of a Singer Sargent’s portrait, it’s pretty amazing to see how contemporary these drawings looked considering they were drawn over 400 years ago. click to continue

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Morning Class!

The new Floral Still Life Acrylic Painting Course is now available!

I’ve developed this course to show you how you can transfer the feeling of simplicity and light into a studio floral still life by the arrangement of colours, composition and tonal value range.

Taking classical painting techniques to build up an indirect painting in acrylics you’ll create a more contemporary still life painting that allows you to use a light modern palette and still see good three-dimensional form.

Cheers,
Will

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You like the idea of trying oil paints but the practicalities of cleaning up your brushes with solvents is out of the question.

It could be you paint in a small room without good ventilation or you’ve had to stop using traditional oils due to skin sensitivities or asthma.

So what’s the alternative? Acrylics? Watercolour? or go old school with some Egg tempera?

How about a real oil paint that can be mixed with water or natural drying oils and cleaned with soap and water. Long working time, soft blends, buttery consistency, no solvents and a super easy cleanup.

Mmm, sounds too good to be true, so what’s the catch?… Click to Continue

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Morning class, this week I’ve been in Mallorca soaking up the scenery and enjoying painting outside. I found this secluded tree within a lemon grove that I thought would work well as a little Plein air sketch with acrylics.

You can download a reference image below to follow along with the lesson.

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 download a larger version of the image here.

lemon-grove-sketch

Whenever I’m sketching outside, I’m always looking for contrast and shapes that will translate well into a drawing as well as a painting… Click to Continue

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I’d travelled through the Cotswolds many times before, captivated by the golden glow of the honey-coloured stone buildings, that just seemed to lend themselves to being painted.

The earthy tones of yellow ochre complimented by soft dull lilacs of wisteria-laden-branches create a really mellow colour palette, you then have crumbling walls surrounded by trees and foliage that bring in a bright sap-green colour pop… click to continue

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How to Paint a Simple Still Life using Oil Paints

by Will Kemp oil painting
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Morning class! If you’ve ever wanted to have a go with oils but felt the mysterious mix of Linseed Oil and Turpentine put you off, then this simple still life study is for you. It uses just one medium mix the whole way through and I demonstrate the similarities between the techniques we’ve been using […]

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New! Venice – Light & the Landscape Impressionistic Course is now Live!

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Morning Class! The new Venice – Light & the Landscape Impressionistic Course is now available! I’ve developed this acrylic painting course inspired by a Venetian Sunset to help guide you through the process of moving from small-scale to large-scale acrylic paintings. What pitfalls does an artist face when painting big? As a student visiting the […]

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Sketching the Light and Landscape in Venice

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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“I’m not getting on.” “You have to get on.” “I don’t, I’m not going.” 5 minutes earlier, you could have mistaken us for locals, idly chatting to a friendly looking Italian who had informed us we needed to take the Linea Arancio (Orange line) to San Marco. The journey time? Well …it could take anywhere […]

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New @willkempartschool collection – Turner Adventures in Colour Exhibition

by Will Kemp oil painting
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Growing up in Kent, a trip to Margate beach brings back memories of avoiding jellyfish, penny slot machines and overdosing on ice-cream. As kids, we thought it was a pretty good beach. Mainly because it meant the freedom of the Summer holidays but also because of the huge expanse of sand we could run about […]

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Thanksgiving Thanks!

by Will Kemp painting
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Morning Class! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to thank all the comments, questions and positivity that have come through the Art School blog this year. The most rewarding thing is seeing students embrace the challenge of portraits with great enthusiasm and achieve some really fantastic results! We’ve also broken through the 8,500,000 views on […]

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How to Paint a Copper Pot in Acrylics – Step-by-Step Video Tutorial

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Morning class! This week we’re going to learn how to capture the brilliant qualities of reflections in copper, using acrylic paint. I absolutely love how vibrant this copper pan is surrounded by the dark range. Notice how, even though the background is a dark subject, there is still a lighter tone on either side of […]

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Are You Making Any of These 7 Compositional Mistakes with Your Still life Paintings?

by Will Kemp painting
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Cherries overflowing perfectly in a bowl, a sense of life captured in a single moment, creating the perfect still life composition appears to come naturally to some artists. Reassuringly, there are a few simple adjustments you can make to your own set-ups, that prevent you making the most common beginner mistakes. By making small changes […]

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How to Paint Green Summer Trees with Acrylics – Video Tutorial

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Green. Love it or hate it, almost all landscape artists want to be able to paint trees, woods and grass realistically. But mixing greens can be one of the major issues that can start to throw your landscape painting off-course. Greens can be an Achilles heel for beginners, and the urge to grab a vivid, […]

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@willkempartschool Collection #2 & #3

by Will Kemp painting
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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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Is Your Next Painting Hidden on Your Camera Roll? New @willkempartschool Instagram Collection #1

by Will Kemp painting
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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 […]

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How to Glaze an Oil Portrait Course – New Course!

by Will Kemp oil painting
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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 […]

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Discovering Velázquez, The Duke & Unexpected Treasures

by Will Kemp painting
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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 […]

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How to Paint a Simple Snowscene with Acrylics – video tutorial

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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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 […]

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New Year, New View? How a Few Small Changes Influenced my Portrait Painting Style

by Will Kemp oil painting
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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 […]

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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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