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?…

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

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.

Continue Reading Studying Holbein’s Portrait Drawings: A Brief Encounter

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)

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

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…

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

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…

Continue Reading Inspiration, Impressionism and the Power of Environment

How to Paint a Simple Still Life using Oil Paints

simple-still-life-painting-tutorial

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 on previous acrylic paintings tutorials.

Traditional oil painting medium recipes can be complicated but it’s not essential to master it all so I’ve kept it simple so you can get painting.

Switching between acrylics and oil paint can be a smooth transition, the main difference is how you dilute the pigments.

Continue Reading How to Paint a Simple Still Life using Oil Paints

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

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

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…

Continue Reading Sketching the Light and Landscape in Venice

New @willkempartschool collection – Turner Adventures in Colour Exhibition

New @willkempartschool collection - Turner Adventures in Colour Exhibition

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 on.

Turner thought it was a pretty good place too, becoming a regular visitor throughout his lifetime.

For him, it was the unique quality of light in East Kent, with impressive skies and turbulent sea that inspired his works.

Continue Reading New @willkempartschool collection – Turner Adventures in Colour Exhibition

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

Continue Reading Thanksgiving Thanks!

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…

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

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…

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

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?..

Continue Reading How to Paint Green Summer Trees with Acrylics – Video Tutorial