Sketching the Light and Landscape in Venice

Sketching the Light and Landscape in Venice

“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 between 30 minutes and 1 hour. He seemed vague, but of course, why should he know details about the journey.

We’d caught a late night flight into Venice and were waiting for one of the last ‘Alliguna’ boats from the airport.

The energy started to change and people formed an orderly queue beside a man clinging precariously to the side of an extremely buoyant boat and then it dawned on us.

The small lurching vessel moored in the dock, that I had 100% assured Vanessa we wouldn’t have to go in, was indeed our transport.

And the vague Italian man … he was the Captain.

The rain lashed into the small space at the rear of the boat, tourists and suitcases packed in together and then I heard Vanessa say  “Scusami, Scusami, we’ve changed our minds, we’re getting off at the Rialto Bridge”

3 stops earlier than I’d planned.

Our Venetian adventure had begun…

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

acrylic-copper-pot-painting-tutorial

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 the pan to bring it forward.

Copper makes a great subject, allowing us to work with a complementary colour palette of orange and inky blue, deep blacks and vibrant colour glazes.

So let’s get started…

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How to Paint Green Summer Trees with Acrylics – Video Tutorial

adding shadows to a landscape painting

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, bright green from the paint box can be hard to resist.

In the past I’ve demonstrated how you can achieve some surprisingly subtle greens by using some seemingly ‘non-green’ colours such and black and brown.

And I advise beginners to throw out their pre-mixed green (usually this is Emerald Green included in starter sets) when they’re first starting, in order to practice colour mixing with acrylics and develop their own mixing skills and gain colour confidence.

Why?..

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How to Paint a Simple Snowscene with Acrylics – video tutorial

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…

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Painting, Pasties & Padstow – A Cornish Painting Trip

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

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On Painting, Procrastination and What Might Have Been

acrylic abstract painting

 “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 me where they should 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…

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How to Paint Acrylic Portraits

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…

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How to choose the Perfect White for your Acrylic Painting

whiteacrylicpaint

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 Cadmium but little old Titanium white stays the same.

Choosing the ‘right’ white for the type of painting you’re creating is a critical step in mastering painting with acrylics.

So what is the right white to use?

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

painting an apple in acrylics

“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.

Part 2 we put pencil to paper and looked at practical drawing techniques with a simple pencil drawing of an apple.

This week we’re going back to the studio to start creating the illusion of form with acrylic paint. I wanted to develop our sketch into a finished painting, using the same principles of light logic but having a more contemporary feel by the choice of colours, composition and context.

For Part 3 I’ve created a free video tutorial so you can watch every step and follow along at home…

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Small Glass Acrylic Study Course is Live!

willkempvideocourse

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 ever tried to paint glass and it looked flat and unconvincing or ended up with super bright white highlights that look stuck on, then you may be interested in discovering how to achieve a lifelike glass effect with acrylics – yet still keeping a painterly feel.

3 Downloadable Video Lessons  –  1 Small Glass Study

Over 1 1/2 hours of video instruction, alongside a Quick Start PDF guide and Downloadable images of each stage of the process, which includes your materials lists and tools of the trade.

The lessons are available online to download so you have access to the course forever.

The course is now available, you can learn more and join the course by just clicking this link

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a Creative Year

Cheers,

Will

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

acrylicpaintingvarnish

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 wrap your newly varnished painting with bubble wrap just before the deadline of an exhibition, only to find out at the private view the bubble wrap had left hundreds of tiny circle imprints on the surface of the painting….mmm..surely no one would ever do that!

The anxiety and disappointment that comes with varnishing can sometimes seem too much.

With all the confusion, conflicting advice and frustration in creating the perfect varnish finish, you can’t help wondering, what’s the point of varnishing at all?…

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Still Life Acrylic Masterclass Course is Live!

widgit

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 can see your improvement from where you first began but some tricky subjects still elude you.

You’ve got a basic understanding of colour mixing, paint application and your drawing’s sound but you want to take your work to the next level.

I’ve created this Classical Still Life Masterclass with acrylics, to help aspiring artists to bring their paintings to a more professional finish.

We deal with the more complex subject of reflective surfaces such as Silver, Ceramic & Mahogany using an extended palette and multi-layered glazing techniques.
Here’s a brief video intro to the course:


My Still Life Masterclass Course and is now available and you can learn more and join the course by just clicking this link

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How to Paint Glass & Reflections with Acrylics – Part 3 of 3

stilllifesetupglassofwater

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 a more dramatic and pleasing image for a painting.

So for Part 3, we’re on to the painting…

Continue Reading How to Paint Glass & Reflections with Acrylics – Part 3 of 3

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

photographing still life WillKemp

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 in the quest for a simple formula to create great reference photographs for your paintings.

You might have tried turning the dial to the ‘manual’ mode, fired off a few shots, got disheartened, only to return to the safe haven of the ‘flower setting’ or ‘Auto’ on the dial.

Understanding the manual functions of your digital camera can be a liberating experience and can greatly improve the framing of your paintings.

Or maybe you’ve never used your camera to help with your paintings but you’d like to learn how…

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