Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Ronnie Russell creates an atmosphere

Last Thursday's demonstration at the club was a pleasure for all who attended.  Ronnie Russell came to town and entertained us all with some wit, some banter, some stories . . . And an excellent lesson in painting.

Ronnie chose acrylic paint as his medium and the motif was a delightful little harbour scene from a photograph that he took himself.  The initial set up was very interesting.  His photograph had been transferred to a sheet of tracing paper on which he had drawn out a sixteen square grid.  The cotton canvas that he was using for the demo had been given a wash of Naples yellow mixed with white. The grid had been duplicated on here too, which served as an aid for his horizon line,  perspective and composition.

In no time at all the painting came to life under Ronnie's expert touch.  Acrylic paint is notorious for drying quickly, but Ronnie worked in all areas of the canvas, picking a colour and repeating it at various points.  This maintained the painting's balance nicely.  A dramatic cloudy sky took up one area of the canvas, clear skies occupied the other side.  A mixture of dark water showing the boats' reflections merged into a sparkling sunlit area.  All in all an excellent choice to demonstrate "A moment in time", as Ronnie put it.

I could go on, but please enjoy looking at the pictures from the night.  (saves me writing a thousand words! )


As it is nearing the festive period I would like to invite everyone to send in your Christmas type paintings.  Just send them to my email address and I will include them on the blog.  I have posted my Christmas painting here, along with Robert Clayton's Robin Redbreast painting.  Send them to morrisonb13@aol.com


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Much more than a demo

James Davies was the artist last week.  'Travel and tricks' was the title - and that is exactly what we got.  This was much more than a demo, in actual fact the 'demo part' was crammed into the last 30 minutes of the evening.

What we enjoyed last Thursday was a little bit of everything. James started with drawing a simple line, then asked us to describe what exactly a 'line' is.  "History of a movement" was his take on it.  A simple statement that got the capacity audience thinking.  He then moved on to an in depth look at the other basics of drawing and painting - Texture, Pattern and Composition. James encouraged discussion and shared his inventive thought processes and techniques.
He also shared with us some of his adventures, which were both fascinating and at times very amusing.

A slide show of his work followed.  All of his earlier points about structure and inventiveness were there to see in the semi abstract landscapes that were on view.
James then did his 'Rolf Harris bit' as he put it.  Another abstract landscape was created before our eyes.  James dispensed with the need of a palette by squeezing the paints straight on to the canvas from the tubes.


Another nice fact that he shared with us was that he always has an empty frame at hand, ready to slip the canvas into at he end of a session.  It didn't really matter to him whether it was finished or not, he would mull it over and perhaps even change the subject completely on another day.

James Davies is a Glasgow born artist who studied drawing and painting at Glasgow school of Art.  He has work hanging in the Glasgow City Chambers and has been commissioned in the past to work in the Vatican.

What has been happening elsewhere?

Our art neighbours over in Dalry have been enjoying their own lecture on the science of colour.
Duncan Watt delivered a lecture on the truth about how we see colour and the way sight and brain interpretation can alter perception.

Here are some photographs of Duncan in action.


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Paint a robin for C.....

Hi everyone.  This is just a quickie post between my fortnightly newsletter.  I have joined English artist, Jean Haines on her quest to raise money for  'C'. 
'C' standing fro Cancer, not Christmas.
Jean has been doing a step by step lesson of painting a robin on her blog, 
www.watercolourswithlife.blogspot.com.  Please paint a robin for your favoured cancer charity.  Ayrshire Hospice, McMillan nurses are two which come to mind.  Donate your robin painting, raffle it, auction it or find any other way to raise some cash through your work for your chosen cause.

Above is my attempt.  I am hoping to create some Christmas cards from this.
Speak to you shortly about this week's demo at the club.

Happy painting!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Janet Forry

What can I say?  We had to go looking for extra seats, such was the popularity of last week's demo.

The artist was Janet Forry, who came along and enthralled us all with her skills.  Janet visited the club last November and did a live oil portrait.  This year, her creation was a city street scene at night.  Times Square, New York.

Janet is a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art.  She has studied illustration and animation.  She has been involved in producing animation for film and television.

As well as doing demos and commissions, she is the Art & Development Officer for East Renfrewshire for visual arts.

Her linen canvas had been prepared with a coat of black acrylic for the street scene.  Janet's palette was bright and colourful, which came as no surprise when you think of all those neon lights.

As with the portrait, she applied the paint direct with no pre drawing.  Her brushes were everywhere, gradually bringing the scene to life.  This technique is best shown in photographs.  So here are some shots that I took from my 'ringside' seat.


And finally the 'almost completed' painting.

Thanks once again Janet.  Can't wait to see what you produce next year.

Now some news of an exhibition coming up soon.  Here are the details . . .


The Champion Shell Inn
5 Schoolwell Street

18th - 21st November
Mon, Tues, Wed  6 - 10pm
Sun 1 - 9pm

Why not pop in and have a meal there too.  I have put forward this location as a contender for our end of season meal.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

David Reid, portrait artist

Hi fellow artists.  It was David Reid who stepped in at the eleventh hour this week to provide us with a demonstrating artist.  Thanks David.  We were thrilled with your work.
David did a charcoal portrait of an elderly gentleman who had been photographed in a stark side-on light.  There was plenty of scope for David to bring out the 3 dimensional effect of the man's features.

After the careful measuring process David blocked in the darker areas and established the position of the features.

Sorry about those balloons by the way.  I should have removed them.

The picture above shows David's technique well.  He held the charcoal stick at the end and let the weight of the stick create the marks.  He provided us with a commentary on what he was doing, which is always a bonus.

David spent some time creating the darker shape on the right side of the head and refining the overall outline.  After some time on the eyes, he blocked in the whole face in a light cross-hatch technique, establishing the mid tones,  He informed us that he would be using the putty rubber in the next step.

When David started to work on the drawing with his putty rubber squashed into a desired shape, we all began to see the picture coming to life.  He worked between removing dust and adding tiny dark lines.  The final result was magnificent.

And here it is.

Thanks once again, David.  
You can keep up to date with his activities by visiting his blog.  Click on the link HERE


I will be doing a lecture/demonstration/workshop on the art of Silhouette Cutting on the 15th November at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.  Contact Hannah Teesdale to book your place if you feel like coming along.

Here is the flier...

That's my plug out the way!  Now for something extra special.
Ever fancied a trip to France for a painting holiday?  Well I have just the experience for you right here.
http://www.francepaintingholiday.co.uk is a chance to make that dream holiday a reality.  The location is superb.  BANDOUILLE is the home of Bix & Drew Nash.  They have renovated an old monastery by a lake in the Poitou Charentes region of France.

They can host groups of artists on week-long holiday slots throughout next year.  Check out the site above.
How does this sound?  Five ensuite guest bedrooms, a farmhouse kitchen, formal dining room, refectory hall and grand lounge.  
The site gives you much more information, including nearest airports.  There are guest tutors invited along for certain weeks throughout the season, but you can be guaranteed lots of studio work, plein air work and socialising throughout your stay.
If you do get in touch with Bix, mention my name.  She will be thrilled.  (Won't get you a discount though, unfortunately.)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

New season kicks off with Lucy Russell

It was a big turnout tonight as the New Cunninghame Art Club began its new season.  Guest artist for tonight was Lucy Russell, who's art work can be viewed  a couple of miles away in Seamill at the Sandy Lane Studios.  You can view Lucy's website by clicking HERE

Lucy treated us all to a semi abstract oil painting of the Isle of Arran viewed through some tall trees.  Working from pencil sketches, she managed to complete around 90% of the painting.  She works with a palette knife and sponges, adding extra touches here and there as the notion takes her.
This was Lucy's first demo, and you could have heard a pin drop, such was the concentration from the club's members.

She also educated us on some new and interesting ways of creating art, using sponges, pastels, release techniques and printing.  You can view some of the finished products at her website link above.

All in all it was a very interesting first demo, and if the other demo artists are of this quality we are in for a very interesting season.

I'd like to finish off with a word of congratulations to Susan Montgomerie, who entered a monthly challenge on the Paint my Photo site and won first prize at her first attempt.  Well done Susan.

In the next blog I will be displaying more pictures from the Dalry Art club exhibition, plus a preview on our next demo artist.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Start of new season

I am so looking forward to the start of new season.  You will all have your syllabus' very soon.  We are certainly in for a treat over the winter months.  
Our first demo guest is local artist,  Lucy Chisholm.
Here are a few words from Eleanor Boag on Lucy . . . 

"Lucy was born in West Kilbride, where she still lives & works today.
Lucy trained at Ayr College & now runs her own gallery "Sandy Lane Gallery"
in West Kilbride.
She works mainly in oils using a variety of utensils ie sponges etc. &
works in a colourist style, mainly landscape. Lucy also holds drawing
& painting classes at her studios."

How good does that sound?
A report on Lucy's demonstration will follow in the next newsletter.  

I have also had some photographs sent to me which show off what our neighbours in Dalry have been up to this summer.  I do hope that some of you managed along to their exhibition.  Here are the photographs below.  My thanks once again to Robert Clayton for supplying them.

Once again, I would like to remind you that you all have a free, 365 day-a-year gallery right here on this blog.  All you need to do is send a photograph in an email to me and I will publish it.  Stick a price on there too.  I had a quick look at our newsletter's global audience since the blog was started up.  Below is a list of the countries who have been looking in and their viewing figures.

United Kingdom
United States

Someone out there may want to buy your work or commission you.  Since starting my own blog I have been given an open invitation to do workshops in south west France.

I will publish the next newsletter very soon, so keep this on your favourites.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

First bit of news today.  I have copied an email that I received from Robert Clayton.  Here it is below .  .  .

The Dalry Art Club members would like to take the opportunity to invite the people of the town and all interested persons to come and view some locally produced works of art. The clubs last exhibition received many positive comments from those who kindly took time to visit, finding the exhibits proficient and of a high standard.
The club members will hope to repeat or better the standard of work to be displayed this year in order to provide viewing enjoyment to those who visit.
The exhibition will run from Monday 10thSeptember till Saturday 15th September and this year is to be held in the Masonic Lodge, New Street, Dalry. Viewing times will be 2pm till 5pm and 6pm till 9pm Monday to Friday with Saturday seeing the exhibition open from 9.0am till at 11am.

Hopefully some of you will go along and support our neighbouring art colleagues.

Talking about exhibitions . . . please remember that you have your own space on this newsletter where you can display your work for all to see.  The good thing about this type of exhibition is that it is here forever!  Just email me a photograph of your artwork and I will publish it in the relevant gallery.  If I don't have a specific page for your type of work, I will create a new one for you.  I may start things off by posting one of my watercolours into the watercolour gallery.  These pages are always on show on the top right of the blog.  Check it out from time to time.
My thanks to Robert for the email about the Dalry exhibition.  This is exactly the thing that I have been looking for.  With the demo nights approaching, I am going to have plenty to write about, but please remember that this is your Newsletter, so hit me with as many news snippets that you want - even if it is only to promote your own work.

Now for my own little tip for you all.  Did you know that creating artwork through copying from magazine photographs is illegal?  You can land yourself in a spot of bother if the painting is a sold.  I have joined a wonderful internet site called Paint my Photo.  You will find a direct link to the site by clicking HERE

The site is run by English artist, Roy Simmons.  It is free to join, with an option to donate if you wish.  This site is a coming together of photographers and artists from all over the world.  Any photograph that is published on the site is copyright free for artists to use.  There art some fabulous examples on here.  (Around 1,700 last time I looked.  You can narrow your search down too, if you are looking for a specific motif.  Each photographer and artist has their own page where they can display their work.  There are many categories too.  For artists we have the 'Loose watercolour group', 'Detailed Watercolour group', 'Oil painting group' and many many more.  You can ask for help too if you are struggling with a technique.  Some of you might find the photography groups useful too.  Have a look.  It is very easy to join and there is no pressure on you at any time.
By the way, some groups also run a monthly challenge, where everyone is invited to work on a theme or specific photographs.

Just to finish for this Newsletter, here are some more photographs from the Saltcoats summer exhibition. 

Speak to you all later.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Superstars at Saltcoats Heritage Centre

Most Cunninghame Art Club annual exhibitions have a superstar or two hanging on the wall.  I remember seeing a very impressive Willie Nelson last year.  This summer's exhibition also had a few stars on display.

The first work that greeted us was a Raymond Guffie acrylic portrait of Bob Dylan.  We also had the great Tom Jones, Rocky Balboa and Sex Pistols' front man, John Lydon.  All so different in styles, as was their personalities in real life.

The real stars though were the artist who created these marvellous works.  Well done to you.  The portraits were well admired.

Local art lovers were indeed spoilt for choice this year.  We had local scenes and landmarks in various mediums.  We had exotic views, abstract work, mixed medium, figures, portraits, pencil drawings, pen and ink, . . . the list goes on.

There were 10 items of work sold over the course of the week.  A list of the artists and titles of their work will appear at the end of this blog.

So, once again, well done to all the artists.  You can now all look once more at today's blog headline and attribute the 'Superstars' tag to yourselves.  Thank you also to all the volunteers who gave up their free time to provide stewardship during the week.  I am writing this with a red face, as other obligations prevented me from taking my turn.  Hopefully that will not be the case next year.

Here are some more pictures of the excellent work that was on display.

A little more info about future blogs/newsletters.  The committee has almost completed a list of demonstrating artists for our new season.  Please continue to look in here from time to time, because it is here that you will be able to read all about upcoming demonstrators.  There will also be links here to their websites if they have one.

I also hope to provide a report and some photographs for each demo night.  You can play your part too.  My email address is always up there on the header, so please feel free to get in touch.

The comments section on each blog is an inbuilt function with Blogger.  You need a Google account to use that facility.  It is an easy thing to do, but if you would rather just email me your comments, I will be sure and publish them for you.
You can also hit the Facebook icon.  That will put the blog onto your facebook page for all your friends to see and read.

Now, as promised, here is a list of all the artists who sold work during the exhibition . . .

Marian Black:  Dollar tree
Margaret Bratchie:  One for the road
Mary A Gillan:  Tulips
Helen Irving:  Autumn sundown near Portencross
Agnes C Morrice:  North shore, Ardrossan
Brian Morrison:  Claire
Tom Rutherford:  Hebridean hideaway
Sharon Smith:  Sunset Ardrossan
Doug Stonelake:  Largs landmark
Doug Stonelake:  Wee Cumbrae ferry

Friday, 10 August 2012

2012 art exhibition opening night

A treat was in store for all who attended the opening night of the club's 2012 exhibition at the Heritage centre in Saltcoats.  Not only did we enjoy excellent wine and nibbles, we were mesmerised by all the beautiful works of art that our members have submitted.  There is a lot of artistic talent in North Ayrshire!

I took some pictures of the work on display on the night, but I think I will add it gradually over the coming weeks to this blog.  Look out for your own painting.

The exhibition was officially opened by ex boxer, Jim Montgomerie.  Jim, who is also known as 'The running kilt' due to his many jaunts around the planet, running marathons for charities, gave a short speech before declaring the exhibition officially opened.
He also selected one painting for the raffle.  For this he told the assembled audience about an experience that he had whilst visiting Africa for a marathon.
He happened upon a local lady who didn't see him approaching.  The painting that he chose, a work by Janie P Macgregor called 'Going Home' made, as Jim put it, 'The hairs on my neck stand erect'.

The scene was an exact replica of the situation he found himself in on that day, with the female retreating and running up the steps because her face had been looked upon by a stranger.

The opening night was a great success - and I am hoping to add some good news on sales in next week's blog.  In the meantime, please enjoy some more photographs from the night. . .

Hope you have enjoyed our first blog.  Please send me any material that you wish added to future blogs to the email address at the top of the page.

Happy painting!