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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French Café Scene with Acrylics Tutorial – Free video Course Part 4

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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A step-by step French Café Scene acrylic painting In these tutorials I will be posting a series of videos on my YouTube channel that you can follow along at home. It’s free to subscribe to the website so you can keep updated with the painting progress… You can watch Part 1 & 2 of the painting demonstration  and Part […]

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French Café Scene with Acrylics Tutorial – Free video Course Part 3

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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A step-by step French Café Scene acrylic painting In this series I will be posting a weekly video on my YouTube channel that you can follow along at home. It’s free to subscribe to the website so you can keep updated with the painting progress… You can watch Part 1 of the painting demonstration here. […]

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French Café Scene with Acrylics Tutorial – Free video Course Part 1 & 2

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Bonjour Classe! This week we’re off to France! This tutorial takes us through a simple cafe scene, where we follow through the underlying structure of a painting. We look at an easy way to check your perspective, the importance of ‘negative spaces’ when composing your image and how to mix the perfect consistency of paint…

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Art Studio Lighting Design (how to avoid being kept in the dark)

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Natural light in Cezanne’s artist studio Have you ever been half-way through a painting and suddenly the art studio light changes? You carry on painting, hoping for a break in the weather, trying to remember the colour you’ve just mixed, and then the lighting changes.. again. You think it won’t matter, it’s not that important, […]

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Acrylic Palette Knife Painting Techniques – Free Video Course Part 4 of 4

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Bringing Personality to your Painting In the final stages of any painting, it’s a case of viewing your piece as a whole and adjusting details or adding more saturated colour to create a harmony and balance. You’ll be painting more instinctively, rather than methodically and putting a stamp of your own personal style within it. […]

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Acrylic Palette Knife Painting Techniques – Free Video Course Part 3

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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A step-by-step Palette Knife Acrylic Painting – Video Course Part 3 In this painterly, impressionistic palette knife study, I am posting a weekly video on my YouTube channel so that you can follow along at home. It’s free to subscribe to the blog to receive updates so you can keep up with the painting progress. Developing a Painterly […]

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Acrylic Palette Knife Painting Techniques – Free Video Course Part 2

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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A step-by-step Palette Knife Acrylic Painting – Video Course Part 2 In this painterly, impressionistic palette knife study, I am posting a weekly video on my YouTube channel so that you can follow along at home. It’s free to subscribe to the blog to receive updates so you can keep up with the painting progress. The reference photograph […]

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Acrylic Palette Knife Painting Techniques – Free Video Course Part 1

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Palette knives are seen as a sign of confidence in a painter, you can wield them with gusto, paint impasto, and when no-ones looking you feel like Van Gogh or maybe Bob Ross! They can have a reputation of being good for certain ‘effects’ or ‘tricks’, for example, painting a snow-capped mountain (and it’s true […]

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New! Acrylic ‘Simple Colour Mixing’ Course

by Will Kemp colour theory
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How to transform your colour mixing in a weekend With so many different colours available, when starting colour mixing, where do you begin? You find yourself standing in an art store with rows and rows of paints in front of you, scanning up and down the aisles trying to take it all it. Exotic names […]

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Glossary for Oil Painting terms – The essential guide for beginners

by Will Kemp oil painting
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I was standing at the front of a queue in a packed art shop in London. There were 15+ people crammed in behind me and I felt more embarrassed than I could remember. I had been a researching new art materials and product releases, I’d spotted something new out and I was convinced the store […]

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A Thanksgiving Thanks!

by Will Kemp painting
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In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve been reflecting on all the positivity and creativity that has come through the Art School blog. So I’d like to thank you all for your support & encouragement this year. The most rewarding thing for me is seeing students progress in their drawing and painting where they’d previously been struggling. […]

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How do you approach lighting a portrait painting?

by Will Kemp portraits
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This week I’ve been featured in the U.K’s best selling artist magazine, ‘Artist & Illustrators‘. The article was on understanding ‘How light sources can add impact to your portraits’. It looked at three professional portrait painters and how they approach portrait lighting set ups of their subjects. Below is the conversation I had with Martha Alexander […]

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Glossary of Acrylic Painting Terms – The Ultimate Guide for Beginners.

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Ever come across a painting tutorial and been stumped by new terms and phrases? What is an Interference colour? Or a Tar Gel? Inspired by one of the art school’s readers (cheers Carl!) I’ve compiled a guide to the most commonly used terms in acrylic painting. Glossaries for oil painting, colour mixing, styles and movements […]

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Golden Heavy body vs Open acrylics paints review, which is best?

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Imagine the scene. You’re halfway through your painting, it’s going really well. This could be your breakthrough piece, a personal Mona Lisa. A quick look on your palette and you spot the perfect mix to finish the piece, you dip the brush in with vigour, and guess what? Its dried on the palette. You then […]

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Are you unwittingly creating a compositional cardinal sin?

by Will Kemp drawing
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Ever looked at  your drawing composition and something feels wrong? You just can’t put your finger on it, 90% of the piece looks great but somethings not quite right. You could have fallen prey to an easy slip up, you might have drawn a ‘tangent’ by mistake. A few simple changes can transform your drawings […]

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How to paint like Monet: Acrylic Landscape Painting Lesson – Part 4 (Video)

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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A step-by-step Impressionist Acrylic Painting – The Final Part 4 In this Impressionistic landscape series, I am posting a weekly video on my YouTube channel that you can follow along at home. It’s free to subscribe to the blog to receive updates so you can keep up with the acrylic painting progress…

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How to paint like Monet: Acrylic Landscape Painting Lesson – Part 3 (Video)

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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A step-by-step Impressionist Acrylic Painting – Part 3 In this Impressionistic landscape series, I am posting a weekly video on my YouTube channel that you can follow along at home. It’s free to subscribe to the blog to receive updates so you can keep up with the acrylic painting progress…

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