Our third demonstration was the perennially popular still life session where Charles puts together a selection of artefacts, fruit and flowers to make an arresting image.
The Set Up
Charles regularly states that he likes a haphazard arrangement reflecting the way objects are left rather than the more formal arrangements liked by some still life painters. For him the arrangement should have lots of connections between the various artefacts.
As usual the drawing is done in the contour style, pencil remaining on the paper. The first thing drawn was the vase and all the other elements were drawn in relation to it. There was very little detail in the blooms.
The first strokes of paint were foliage, placed in such a way that they created a series of negative shapes, particularly around the white blooms. The foliage colour was largely mixed on the paper and the different pigments can be seen in the photograph.
The First Strokes
The next photograph shows a detail where you can see the range of pigment used in rendering foliage and blooms.
In moving around the painting Charles makes sure that he paints connections and often has pigments running into each other as he does so.
As he moves around and begins new passages he ensures that he keeps his brush on the paper till requiring more pigment. The same routine with the brush is followed each time. The brush is loaded with water, excess is shaken off then the brush is put into the pigment which is kept at a moist consistency before being applied to the paper. He then ensures that the contact with the paper is made with the whole of the brush and not just the point. Brush longevity is a consideration when using expensive sable implements.
The background of the painting is hinted at with a few splashes, warm and cool, to provide a little texture. Splashes are a regular technique used by Charles who is likely to add a few whenever he thinks that he is tightening up.
Another great demonstration.
Still Life - Charles Reid, watercolour on half sheet