Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Watercolour Progression Workshop

On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, BWS member Ben Lee led the first in a series of afternoon workshops for BWS members and guests.

The workshop was held at the newly expanded Framing Depot facility, 1335 Lawrence Avenue East, in Toronto. The company is kindly making its large meeting room available for this series of workshops.

Ben demonstrated three approaches to the use of watercolour on varied surfaces. His demos lasted a little less than an hour, after which the group got to work painting with Ben offering individual assistance.

First, he painted a floral arrangement on 140# watercolour paper. He pointed out how to properly render petals with the brush following the direction of the petal growth, instead of simply creating a dense wash, leaving small areas of white paper and darker areas for cast shadows.

 Next, he used a Chinese brush to paint onto regular canvas. The support had first been washed; no additional gesso was applied. He pointed out that very soft brushes, such as the Chinese brush, were best as they are soft and will not lift paint, which can easily happen with synthetic brushes. Ben achieved a remarkably soft, painterly effect.

Finally, he surprised the group by painting on particle board, the material more commonly used in construction. One side of the board is smoother than the other, but Ben had also sanded the smooth side. The board tends to adsorb paint readily and so requires a heavier application. The overall effect is one of obvious texture.

Another workshop is scheduled for April 29, 2014, at which President Shirley Scoble will lead a group in discovering the secrets of painting shadows.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

David Bellamy - Welsh artist

David Bellamy is a noted Welsh painter who is at his happiest painting and sketching when up to his knees in a mountain stream or seated in the snow near the summit of a rugged ridge. He would have been in his element during our Canadian winter.

Here is his most recent email describing sketching a bridge through trees in winter. Visit his blog at:
where you may view a larger version of the sketch, as well as many helpful articles on watercolour painting. His wife, Jenny, is a talented pastel painter. You can subscribe to his regular email articles.


Posted: 19 Mar 2014 09:24 AM PDT
    I've just returned from a sketching trip to the English Lake District, having experienced a variety of weather conditions, making for some interesting and varied sketching outdoors. The best day was when I climbed to the summits of the Coniston peaks on a sunny day. I aimed initially for Swirl How, from which there are marvellous views all round, and at that level extensive snow made them even more impressive. I was perfectly happy sitting in the snow painting a watercolour sketch and sipping a coffee with hardly a breath of wind. When I moved further south along the ridge and looked back the southern aspects of the mountains were completely devoid of snow. Had I done the trip the other way round I'd have been really disappointed with the views northwards.

    The sketch I'm showing, though, is one done in light rain, using a watersoluble pencil on a cartridge pad. As you can see it has quite a few notes and a slightly different view of the bridge itself from higher up, at the top of the page. From my position below the falls the bridge was mainly obscured by branches - in summer it would have been impossible to see, but by moving around a little I was able to piece together the main bridge structure, reducing the number of branches.

    I then moved higher up, almost on a level with the bridge, and drew in the details as seen at the top of the page. This explained the structure of its rather unusual, but attractive shape, and was helpful even though the perspective was naturally quite different from the first drawing. I backed it up with photographs, but this is a case which clearly shows the advantage of a drawing, both for the main overall subject, and those little bits of detail that can lend an authentic feeling to your work.

    You can find the lovely old bridge on the track up to the Coniston Coppermines Valley, where it levels out, but take care as there are steep and deep drops into Church Beck. I'm glad to say that I've now handed my book on painting winter landscapes over to my publisher, to be published in the autumn, but this one sketch gives you a good idea of the advantages of getting out there before all that dreaded greenery arrives!

[With thanks to David Bellamy)
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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Luminosity 2014 - Call to Artists

Bayview Watercolour Society
Call to Artists
Luminosity 2014
April 29 – May 4, 2014
McKay  Gallery
197 Main Street, Unionville, On L3R 2G8

Closing date for Entries:  Midnight April 14, 2014
Juror:  Rosalind Smith

It is spring again, at least in our Bayview Watercolour Society schedule, and we are calling for entries to our Luminosity 2014 show at the McKay Gallery in Unionville.   Luminosity is always a well-attended show in a familiar setting for our group and we hope as many members as possible will enter.  

Luminosity will be juried at the McKay on Monday, April 28th and hung immediately following.  Any member whose paintings are not accepted will be called, and the work may be picked up that afternoon, April 28th or the following morning, Tuesday, April 29th.