This month we were looking at still life pictures with backgrounds using examples by the CBPS presidents – Qu Leilei and Jane Evans.
The aim was to start by creating a background using various puddles of washes and hake brushes to paint a background using colours of your choice. Letting it dry (or, because our time was limited, dry it with a hair drier to save time) and then paint a still life over the top.
Worth noting is pictures loose colour if you dry with a hair dryer, so if you can, be patient and wait for it to dry.
This month we were looking at multi-brush loading and, although flowers were on offer, everyone chose blue green landscape! We were looking at the work of Qu Leilei and Xu Yunxiang. We were looking at a form of free style blue green landscape. This technique is time consuming and cannot be rushed! Nothing was finished in class.
Having completed our ink outlines, texture and ink tonal work – we then looked at the requirements for double brush loading underpainting. Double loading a wash brush of an appropriate size for the painting with an appropriate shade burnt sienna to about 70% and indigo to about 30%. Put the tip of the brush where you want to indigo to be and work down and across the rock structure using the whole length of the brush – work stoke by stroke. Overlap layers ad you work down. As you go the indigo runs out and you end up with only burnt sienna. Do not reload the brush (if possible) until you have filled the space you are working on. Think about the size of the brush you need to allow you to do this.
Start at the front and work back lightening the tone of the colours as you work backwards to give the impression of distance.
Leave Until Almost Dry
Next, the over painting. Load a brush with mineral green down to 70% and mineral blue down to 30% blend in some 451 to darken the blue down to about 20%. Again, think about where you want the blue, and put the tip at that point. Work down and across the rock structure using the whole brush – pulling the brush down the structure for each stroke. Overlap layers as you work down. Do not cover all of the burnt sienna at the bottom. As you work back dilute the colours. Add in your foliage and colours on other objects in the picture. Add some background was if appropriate.
Here are some of other examples started on the day and finished at home.
This month we were looking at working with resists – notably different kinds of salt, alum and full fat milk.
We concluded that the alum was the least effective.
That the different types of salt gave very different effects;
And the milk was very effective.
The picture below is currently on display in the Ashmolean. It is not just a magnificent picture of 2 horses, it is also developed using salt resist and the salt is still on the panting! It is a wonderful example of resist work.
We weren’t working on paintings, just creating examples of what resist can do. Some samples of our output is shown below.
Sarah Turner’s full fat milk landscape
Jean Gray’s poppy with salt and with salt removed
Marion Dearlove’s sunflower with salt removed (mostly!)
This month we were looking at Lingnan landscape. We normally work on Northern School landscapes which are more about line work and ink rather than colour, so this was a change. Where northern school artists would leave paper (white space), Lingnan artists use white paint. They also tend to make more use of colour and colour layering.
I think the results proved that we are mainly Northern School devotees! Only Karen and Malcolm have truly embraced the use of white paint!
We were working from an example by artist like Chen Shuren and Huang Huanwu.
This month we were looking at colour layering using the work of Guan Naiquang, The idea being that colour is built up in many layers. This is still Xieyi style, using Xuan or semi sized Xuan – rather than Gongbi style using sized paper.
It’s a very interesting technique and allows you to develop a lot of depth in the picture and allows you to develop some unusual colours where you are layering transparent colours over one another. Requires patience an good brush control but well worth a try.
You have to be very careful and allow each layer to dry before you add the next one. None of the pictures were finished in class – hence the delay on the update