How to Paint a Sunlit Room Interior with Acrylics (Balancing Warm and Cool Light)

interior-scene-with-acrylics

Morning class! This week we’re in a Victorian townhouse.

I’d been visiting for afternoon tea when the play of light in the hallway caught my eye. The warm sunlight coming in from garden doors to the right cast a real glow onto the yellow wooden wall. The floral arrangement reminded me of the peonies in the Floral Still Life Painting Course, and you can start to see how compositions can be built out from one point of reference.

There was a natural blue light coming from a window in the hallway out of shot to the left, and an orange incandescent wall lamp, higher up on the right, both contributing to the warm and cool tones in the flowerheads.

This step-by-step acrylic tutorial looks at balancing different areas of light and shadow (chiaroscuro) when working on a sunlit room interior scene.

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New Beginner’s Still Life Project E-Book is Live!

Beginners-acrylic-book

 

This Still Life Acrylic Project Book is a brand new, downloadable PDF E-Book designed to help you understand light and shadow and create better acrylic still life paintings.

Who’s the E-book for?

An absolute beginner to acrylics who wants to complete a simple still life painting but would like help with colour mixing recipes and drawing guides.

If you have trouble creating a realistic form within your still life’s, then you would see instant improvements through the lessons. Why? Because when you will understand how changes in light influence change in value, it can transform your paintings.

What’s included?

Throughout the e-book, I’ll guide you through 3 full-colour acrylic paintings from start to finish. I’ve broken each lesson into bite-size pieces, so you can complete each stage of the painting within a 2-hour window, something you can easily follow, even if you’ve never painted before.

  • A 100-page pdf (with 3 x projects, and simple step-by-step instructions)
  • Line drawings (so you can follow along even if you’re new to drawing)
  • Colour swatches (that you can print out to match your paints against)
  • Colour mixing recipes (so even an absolute beginner can achieve balanced harmonious mixes)
  • Colour reference images (to work 1:1 with your paintings)

By the end of the book, you’ll learn how to filter your objects, look for relationships in stories, scale, size and the importance of planning a colour scheme, knowing all the same principles will apply to future more complicated arrangements.

You can read more about it here: Still Life Acrylic Project E-Book

Cheers,

Will

p.s You can also read a review of the e-book by the lovely Professor and Author Mary Tabor here: New Book by Will Kemp, Artist and Teacher Extraordinaire

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Pen & Ink Still Life Illustrations

cezanne-full-still-life-sketch

This week I’ve been working on the last stages of my new beginner’s acrylic project book and wanted to add some pen and ink illustrations of materials & still life setups.

For all the sketches I used the following pens on 220gsm cartridge paper.

  • Lamy Safari Fountain Pen – filled with Lamy water-soluble black ink
  • Pentel Aquash Waterbrush Pen – this bad boy just holds the perfect about of water in the brush filament tip to wash-in water-soluble ink
  • Muji 0.5mm Black Fine Liner – so smooth and works well at any angle under a rapid speed
  • Pentel Brush Pen – if you’re struggling to create broken line effects, treat yourself to this pen, you can block in deep blacks really quickly

A number of the illustrations below are based on famous still life paintings. I always think looking at the pieces in black and white is interesting as you see how much the composition reveals an artists style. If you compare the shapes in Cézanne’s work to Morandi’s, there is a different set of compositional interests.

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Capturing Sunlight with Sorolla (inside the Artist’s Studio)

sorolla-strollng-along-the-seashore

Joaquín Sorolla, Strolling along the Seashore, Detail, Valencia, 1909

In the heart of bustling Madrid, behind a protective brick wall, sits the elegant former home and studio of Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla (1863 -1923)

Huge decorative iron gates lead you through a lush Andalusian courtyard garden to one of the best-preserved artist houses in Europe, an absolutely priceless experience. 

musee-sorolla-casa

musee-sorolla-garden-entrance

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The Secret to Painting Realistic Shadows in Sunlight

The Secret to Painting Realistic Shadows in Sunlight

“A Painting is complete when it has a Shadow of a God”
Rembrandt van Rijn

I remember being taught at art college that shadows weren’t really present in paintings until the Renaissance period.

And you’d be forgiven for thinking when you look at some beginners work, that they were from Ancient Greece – they didn’t use shadows either!

In live painting classes in the past, when I’ve mentioned the words ‘cast shadow’, students concentration wains or worse, a look of rising panic crosses their faces as if they’ve been duped into a technical drawing class.

I’m not quite sure why cast shadows seem so mysterious, elusive or confusing. Shadows help to ‘ground’ an object and learning to accurately observe them, is the most effective way of making your paintings look convincing.

And just by switching the name around it seems easier to digest.

Shadows cast.

I want to keep it simple without the complications of multiple light sources or atmospheric perspective that occurs in vast landscapes, today I am going to focus on shadows cast outside, by sunlight.

Shadows cast by a tree, by a building, shadows cast by a chair or plant pot. The shadow that is falling onto the ground, or against a wall, or onto a table.

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Monet & Architecture at the National Gallery (London)

Claude Monet, The Thames below Westminster, about 1871

Claude Monet, The Thames below Westminster, about 1871

“Other painters paint a bridge, a house, a boat, I want to paint the air that surrounds the bridge, the house, the boat – the beauty of the light in which they exist.” – Claude Monet

The French Impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926) is best known for his brilliant paintings of landscapes, coastline and water-lilies, but this month saw the opening of a new exhibition ‘Monet & Architecture’ at the National Gallery, London.

This show highlights his interest in architecture, not only compositionally, but how he used it as a backdrop and tool to capture the changing effects of light and I was fortunate enough to catch it this week!

Bringing together over 75 of Monet’s paintings from all over the world, the rooms are unconventionally grouped following architectural subject matter, The Village & the Picturesque, The City & the Modern and The Monument & the Mysterious.

The idea of creating paintings based on ‘picturesque ideals’ influenced Monet’s early work and this concept was part of the larger ‘picturesque landscape’ debate originating in England.

Professor Richard Thomson, the curator of the show, explains,

“One of the points of this exhibition was to take a very famous artist, who people think they know, but to take a look at his work in a different way

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(Free PDF Download) Beginner’s Guide to Acrylics

(Free PDF Download) Beginner's Guide to Acrylics

Morning Class!

If you’re new to the website I’ve put together a Free PDF ‘Beginners Guide to Acrylics’ which includes a brief overview about acrylic paint, colour palettes, tools & materials as well as showing you how the different areas of the Will Kemp Art School fit together.

I introduce the principles behind my teaching, a catalogue of all the free video painting tutorials on the website and a section on how to find the perfect course for you.

If you click the link Free PDF ‘Beginners Guide to Acrylics’ you can download it and have a read through with a brew!

Hope you enjoy it,

Cheers,

Will

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Sketching Art Materials with Pen & Wash

teapot-sketch-pen-ink

Morning class! This week I’ve been putting together a new ‘Beginners Guide’ for the Art School and wanted to add a few little material sketches. For all the sketches I used the following pens on 220 gsm smooth, heavyweight cartridge paper which can handle light watercolour washes.

Materials – Pen & Wash

urban-sketching-materials-pens

  • Lamy Safari Fountain Pen – filled with Lamy water-soluble black ink
  • Pentel Aquash Waterbrush Pen – this bad boy just holds the perfect about of water in the brush filament tip to wash-in water-soluble ink
  • Muji 0.5mm Black Fine Liner – so smooth and works well at any angle at a rapid speed
  • Pentel Brush Pen – if you’re struggling  to create broken line effects, treat yourself to this pen, you can block in deep blacks really quickly
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Acrylic Still Life Study of a Fish using Acrylic Glazing Techniques (Free 25 min Video Tutorial)

Acrylic Still Life Study of a Fish using Acrylic Glazing Techniques (Free 25 min Video Tutorial)

Morning class!

This week we’re going to be painting a simple study of a fish, taking inspiration from objects you might see everyday and transforming them into paint.

The video tutorial looks at how you can combine a monochrome underpainting with colour glazes to create a luminosity in your acrylic paintings. We’ll keep the freshness of the piece by building up layers of clear transparent glazes and all we going to be using is 5 paints and a couple of brushes.

I’ll be using a stay-wet palette to hold my tonal colour string mixes in, and then any leftover colours from the painting, can go back in there ready for my next piece.

You can download the reference image below to work along from, so grab a brew (maybe a couple of biscuits) and let’s get painting!!…

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Discovering Zorn, the Petit Palais & Patisseries in Paris

Discovering Zorn, the Petit Palais & Patisseries in Paris

We arrived in Paris to catch the last few days of a retrospective exhibition of the Swedish painter Anders Zorn (1860-1920)

Discovering Zorn, the Petit Palais & Patisseries in Paris

After a snowy week in England, we woke to blue skies, warm croissants and this amazing rooftop view from our hotel room. I couldn’t resist a quick pen sketch of the row of chimney pots in the distance before we hit the show, check out those windows!

Discovering Zorn, the Petit Palais & Patisseries in Paris

Sketch from Hotel, Rotring Art Pen (F), Pentel Brush Pen and Pentel Aquash Water Pen in A6 size (10 x 15cm) Seawhites of Brighton Sketchpad (140gsm All-Media Cartridge Paper)

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Thanksgiving Thanks!

Thanksgiving Thanks!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve been reflecting on all the positivity and creativity that comes 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.

Update on our first batch of Winter homebrew:

I think this will be the perfect accompaniment to the festive food tastings in our local town square, it’s a Pale Ale from St Peter’s Brewery in Suffolk, UK, described as having a ‘caramel aroma, with a pleasing toffee apple flavour‘. Not sure I’m picking up all the flavour notes, but the more sips I’m having, the more experienced my palette is becoming!

Thanksgiving Thanks!

Have a great weekend!

Cheers,

Will

 

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The Immersive Power of Painting (a Painting Truth you can Learn too Late)

The Immersive Power of Painting (a Painting Truth you can Learn too Late)

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?…

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Studying Holbein’s Portrait Drawings: A Brief Encounter

Studying Holbein's Portrait Drawings: A Brief Encounter

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.

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New! Floral Still Life Acrylic Painting Course is now Available!

New! Floral Still Life Acrylic Painting Course is now Available!

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 a good three-dimensional form.

Cheers,
Will

Continue Reading New! Floral Still Life Acrylic Painting Course is now Available!

Water-Mixable Oils vs Traditional Oils for Solvent-Free Oil Painting (Video)

Water-Mixable Oils vs Traditional Oils for Solvent-Free Oil Painting (Video)

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?…

Continue Reading Water-Mixable Oils vs Traditional Oils for Solvent-Free Oil Painting (Video)