Art Demonstrations


Art Lesson Example
Art Demonstrations



 Over the past 10 years or so I have been asked to give art demonstrations at several rt clubs and especially to the Lacock Art Group for whom I was Chairman for 5 years.

 For most of the demonstrations, I produced a hand-out that the members could keep and refer to in the future and I am making these available here as emailed PDF files for those who might find them useful - in 2 Packs. Some have just a couple of pages and others are more extensive with several helpful illustrations.



Choosing the Focal Point

Colour Mixing
Depth, Distance & Atmosphere
First Steps in Portrait Painting
Gesture Painting

DEMO PACK 1 (PACK OF 5) - £20    

(Approx. 24 Euros/$27 USD) 




Layout & Colour

Life Drawing in Easy Stages
Making Pictures 3D & Working from Photos
Putting People into Paintings
The Wet Spray Technique


DEMO PACK 2 (PACK OF 6) - £20    

(Approx. 24 Euros/$27 USD) 






Making Pictures 3D & Working from Photos

Making things look 3D

 When painting our picture we are creating something which is 2D but which has an illusion of a 3D series of objects. How do we achieve this—we use shape, shadow, and highlights.

  SHAPE—getting the correct shape of an object is an obvious necessity and this only comes with practice. If getting the angle of roofs, windows etc correct in a sketch which has perspective I find putting my pencil along the line on the photo helps me to transfer the angle correctly to my sketch.

  Start by establishing major lines (vertical corners etc) and work to get the overall shape right first before putting in windows, doors etc.

  SHADOWS—for shadows and shading, first set where the major light is coming from—remember there will be ’internal shadows within the object and ’external’ shadows on the ground caused by the object itself .

  One trick to divide up large flat areas and to give your painting a better composition is to use shadows cast by passing clouds

 HIGHLIGHTS—are areas and lines of maximum brightness—they are often almost completely white and occur on the object where maximum light is reflected (bounced) off the object directly into your eye. There will often be a major highlight and a series of minor ones where light is reflected off other surfaces (walls, floors etc) onto the object.

 There are several problems working from photographs :-

1. Photos are sometimes taken at mid-day or at a time when shadows hardly exist which does not allow for much contrast in the tones used.

2. The objects in the photo may have a bad or boring arrangement.

3. Modern lenses are too accurate and have enormous ‘depth of field’ meaning that objects in the distance are just as detailed and sharp as those in the foreground. It is essential that the artist compensates for this or the painting will look too ‘flat’ with little 3D effect.

Notes on creating a good picture :-

· Less is more.—indicate, don’t illustrate,

· At all times work to ‘capture the light’.

· Use the rule of 3rds to help make a good arrangement.

· Remember the importance of shadows and reflections.

· Have both ‘busy’ areas and ‘quiet’ areas.

· Restrict the number of colours used in your painting to 4 or 5 or 6 at the most—in this way get your colours to ‘talk to each other’.

· Use the occasional ‘colour-gate’ allowing one colour to bleed into another.

· Have a balance of  ‘lost’ and ‘found’ edges (soft and hard).

· Keep foregrounds simple and warm and use them to take the viewer on a journey into your painting.

· Use as few brush strokes as possible—see how few you can get away with.

· Use tonal perspective to add depth.

· Sort out the ‘focal point’ of your painting and treat everything else in your painting as a ‘back drop’.

· Go for ‘contrast’ and changes in tonal ‘value’ - put lights against darks to add impact to your painting.

· Above all, go for ‘feelings; and not ‘facts’.


 Find a photograph that you want to work from and then criticize it—make notes of things you need to change. You don’t need to paint the whole photo—you can achieve a good picture just from a detail. Be prepared to remove and add objects from the photo to attain an exciting arrangement.

Change tonal values to bring foreground objects forward and push distant objects back.

 This is a photograph of the Charles Bridge in Prague—the shapes are great but the photo is bad in that it has too much ‘depth of field’ - distant buildings are too warm and detailed. It would also be a nice idea to add a boat in the foreground to take us ‘into’ the picture.

Perhaps add a  secondary object from another photo—the boat above right perhaps.