How to Paint a Plein Air Sketch of a Lemon Tree with Acrylics (Video Tutorial)

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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.

How to Paint a Plein Air Sketch of a Lemon Tree with Acrylics (Video Tutorial)

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…

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Inspiration, Impressionism and the Power of Environment

Inspiration, Impressionism and the Power of Environment

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…

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

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

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 Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris,  I’d just seen Monet’s monumental Water Lily paintings and I was in awe.

The sheer scale of the pieces with thick painterly brush strokes inspired me to get back to my little studio space at home.

It was time to break out with the big canvas.

I wanted to create impressionistic landscapes and seascapes that still held the qualities of light-fall and realism that I’d seen, but maybe a little bit smaller than 40ft!

And this immersive large-scale painting experience is what many beginner artists want, it feels exciting and well….arty to create something big and expressive.

Grabbing a large decorators brush, making gestural marks on your canvas – feels invigorating, almost like a breakthrough and then…. you start to hear your inner artist voice getting overwhelmed.

You haven’t got a plan, you don’t know what the next step is so you lose you nerve…

You can read more about the course here

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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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Thanksgiving Thanks!

thanksgiving-thanks

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 YouTube, Woohoo! so thanks for watching and more videos will be coming soon.

Have a great week,

Cheers,
Will

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

still life painting composition

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 to the placement of your objects, you can breathe life and energy into your compositions and by observing how your viewing position impacts the shapes and shadows, will help develop accuracy in your drawings…

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

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

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 and procrastination.

I’d like to share with you some of my photos I use as my own visual diary that inspire my sketches, paintings and palette choices. It could be from museums trips or travels to new cities, new paint experimentation’s in my studio or simply a fall of light on a through a window that has a great quality to it.

Just as a painters palette can give you a glimpse into the painter’s approach, your camera roll can reveal what really interests you. The compositions you naturally create, the repeated colours that keep on cropping up and patterns of the negative spaces you’ve observed, all contribute to your own personal style.

Below are a selection of photos with a brief description of what inspired me at the time and this first collection comes from my trips around National Trust properties, focusing on historical kitchens.

Also, I’ll be regularly posting the photo collections to my new Instagram account, really hope you enjoy them.

Cheers,

Will

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How to Glaze an Oil Portrait Course – New Course!

oil paint glaze recipe

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 beneath the skin’s surface. In my naivety, I just couldn’t work out how you could paint one colour next to another colour yet create such a smoky transition.

I’d repetitively ask Vanessa, “When will I be able to paint the melt of the cheek you see on the Mona Lisa?

Unhelpfully she used to say “Isn’t it just old?

Inwardly I’d sigh.

And then I discovered oil glazing…

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Discovering Velázquez, The Duke & Unexpected Treasures

Discovering Velázquez, The Duke & Unexpected Treasures

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 the ‘Waterseller of Seville’ by Velázquez, but I had never seen it in the flesh, was it even in Seville?

Caught up in the fever of ‘my’ trip, I got researching and discovered the painting was actually hanging much closer to home, in Apsley House, London.

Apsley House? Where’s that?

Well as it turns out, it’s known as Number One London and sits at Hyde Park Corner.

How had I missed it on all my gallery trips and what else was there?

Holy Moly! There’s a study for Pope Innocent X by Velázquez, there’s a Goya, in fact, there’s another portrait by Velázquez and some cracking portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence.

I shouted through to Vanessa ‘Do you fancy a trip to Knightsbridge?

Who knew train tickets could be booked so quickly?…

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

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.

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Inside Rembrandt’s Studio

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…

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How to Paint a Cornish Harbour in Acrylics – Video Tutorial

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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...

Continue Reading How to Paint a Cornish Harbour in Acrylics – Video Tutorial