Friday, 9 December 2016

The magic of Jane french

Jane French's painting of her son
At our last meeting, we were fortunate enough to have gifted artist Jane French give us a demonstration in portraiture using oils. Her source photo was that of her son, some years earlier. Starting with just a faint pencil sketch on canvas, Jane set about applying mid tones of paint first, working her way around the face in careful, deliberate strokes using a chisel edged brush for most of the time. A thinner brush was used only to pick out finer detail at the end.

A final dash of white for highlight to the eye and lower lip had the effect of making the painting come alive, even at this early stage of development. Most of us could detect magenta and yellow in the face in the photograph, but we were amazed at how Jane could see blue and grey, which worked perfectly once we saw it applied.

All in all, a lovely evenings entertainment, and much food for thought in respect of our own prospective paintings.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Great Achievement for our Members

June pond - Jane Palmer
Last weekend several of our members entered work in the Great Bowden Visual Arts exhibition. This event has been held each year in the village hall since 2007 and is well attended, often selling a number of works of art.

This year, four of our members sold six out of a total of eight paintings sold, which is quite an achievement and shows just how much talent we have amongst us.

Here is a selection of some of the works that sold:

Leicestershire Landscape - Jane Palmer

The Rooster - Frank Bingley

Ewe - Frank Bingley

Other members successful in selling work were Michael Edwards and David Coleman.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Life Drawing

The life drawing evening was quite successful. The sitters, shown below in order, sat for ten minutes except for Stew who sat for twenty minutes because it was so hard to capture his natural aura, or was it because he had a guitar? 

We were also visited by Lana and Bryany who hopefully will become members.

Glenys Alexander

Ken Lilley
Dave Colman
Frank Bingley

Stew Levy

Glenys  Lana  Lynda Eleanor Bryany

Monday, 24 October 2016

An evening with our President - 'Frank'.

 Scenes and characters of Market Harborough

A talk by Franklyn J Scott, alternatively known to us as ‘Frank,’ our club President. 

As a child Frank was inspired by a TV program called Adrian Hill’s Sunday morning sketch club. He entered a pencil sketch of a junk shop and he won first prize. This inspired him to study art. Educated in Leicester at Gateway School, and then the attached college of art. He gained a degree in graphic design. His first job involved printing where he worked in a studio in Oxford Street. He moved on to be a designer in Syston, display manager for North Eastern Gas, teacher in Oadby, to running his own sign writing business and finally to date a free lance artist.

On a his return from Australia, he decided to do a series of pictures of Market Harborough. In the painting of the old grammar school and church you will notice the shadow on the TSB wall is wrong with the time on the church clock, this was the start of deliberate mistakes in all the following Market Harborough paintings. Jim Divine carries a Tesco shopping bag, Jim never shopped in Tesco! Eric Waterfield's bicycle appears in every picture, certainly Frank knows all the local characters idiosyncrasies and evan included Ali Bunce’s foot in one picture! Richard Martin (Martin’s pet shop) approached Frank to paint the picture of Church Street. A print of one of these was presented to a visiting dignitary and now hangs in the Whitehouse in America. These paintings  are evidence of how Market Harborough has changed since the 1990’s.

This is only one small aspect of Franks work, scenes of Market Harborough, along with landscape paintings and night scenes can be found on his website

Thank you Frank for such an interesting and informative evening.

Monday, 17 October 2016

2016, public vote for the top 4 paintings

This year the public chose 4 favourite paintings.

The first was Alan Walkers painting of, 'Whitby.'

The second was Lynda Talbott's painting of the, 'Aquarium'.

Joint third place, was Lynda Talbot's painting called 'Gone Fishing', and Bob Morley's painting,  'Caenwych Farm'.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Photographs of the Oct 2016 Exhibition and an Invitation

Ken Lilley

Jane Palmer, Lynda Talbott and Glenys Alexander


Visitor Charlie Watts from Yelvertoft Art Club

Chris Bent and Kate Ruse
admiring Frank's painting

Chris is a lecturer in art at De Montfort University and is also on the council of Leicester Society of Artists  and has been kind enough to have invited our art club members to their Preview Invitation Annual Exhibition Thursday 3 November 6.30 - 8.30pm

I will print out a number of the invites for the October 28th Oct and 25th Nov meetings. If anyone can't attend those meetings please email me at or

In case your wondering how I know Chris, he and my cousin Kate Ruse have been together for over 30 years.
When he visited our Yorkshire house for the first time we were standing in the garden admiring the stunning Yorkshire sky and I said to him, 
'how many colours can you see'?
He said 'Oh about 15 at first glance. How about you'?
'Oh', said I, 'about 3, blue, blue and blue'!
That's why he does what he does.


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Welcome baby Logan

Congratulations Emily and Joe on the birth of your new baby boy 'Logan'. Born on the 7th September at 1.17am, weighing in at 7lb 13oz.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Work in progress

Can you recognise whose work it is? Only a week to go to the Annual Art Club Exhibition. I wonder if any of these will be completed and feature?

Saturday, 25 June 2016

A Different Medium

Part finished Painting

Members were in for a treat as well as something completely different this Friday evening, with a demonstration by local artist Bob Morley. His talk entitled “Working with Emulsion Gouache – a different medium” started with a little artistic history about himself and his transition from watercolour to a gouache/watercolour technique. Bob showed numerous works based on this process ranging from early to current paintings.

 For those of us who had previously seen and admired his unusual style, this was a real eye-opener to how Bob goes about this type of painting. His works are based on ordinary (Homebase – jokingly) white emulsion, to which he adds watercolour in varying strengths.

 Starting with a pre-prepared sketch with a little watercolour added, along with a flat plate which had a huge spoonful of thick emulsion in the centre with small amounts of watercolour dabbed from 5ml tubes in a circle around it, Bob showed us first how to mix the two mediums together. It was possible to get quite a large array of tones for each colour using this mixing technique, which could then be applied to the 140lb paper either mixing with wet watercolour on the paper, or going over dry watercolour. This emulsion could be applied in its neat form over a wrong or unwanted existing colour, and then repainted almost straight away!

 For creating beautiful looking trees, Bob first painted the trunk, branches and twigs, followed by paint with a sponge and watercolour, then neat with emulsion – again using the sponge, then again using different shades of colour. He then repainted some of the branches using a rigger. We were then amazed when he applied neat emulsion with a chisel ended brush between the branches in a negative painting way, to leave white or to re-apply the background colour. Bob demonstrated that any mistakes or unwanted parts could be completely blocked out in this fashion, by emulsioning over part of a hedge to add a gate. The build-up of gouache in this way added a textured look to the finished work.

Bob hard at work!

 Using gouache and a strong mix of watercolour like this, Bob said that it was possible to get really dark coloured areas in his work, breaking with convention often by using black. Another way that he would break with convention was to use a rigger with a dark tone in a linear fashion to add lines in various places, especially in horizontal strokes, which he explained added a peaceful feel to the work.

The evening concluded with us all “having a go” to get first-hand experience with this wonderful technique. Finally, we all got to go home with a handy pamphlet compiled by Bob explaining the technique – no expense spared!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Oil Miniatures

Self portrait - work in progress
   The thing is, with this painting lark, there are a multitude of avenues to pursue. For many years I painted purely in watercolour. It was lovely to push this translucent paint around the paper and watch the colours granulate, drop in other colour while still wet, see happy accidents appear when the paint decided to do it's own thing, etc.

Then I moved to acrylics with its garish colours and quick drying time, and bliss of bliss, opaque paint that you can paint light over dark .
Manic Bluetit - so named, as this little guy started
attacking his reflection in our dining room window!

I've made other excursions into soft pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, gouache and even lino cuts. Each has it's own merits, drawbacks and excitements.

Recently though, I've ventured into oils, a medium that I've steered clear of in the past because having dabbled in it many years ago, it always seemed a messy, smelly medium to use. The main joy with oils however, is the ability to blend colours and also the colour you put down when wet remains the same when dry, unlike watercolour that drys lighter and acrylics that dry darker or even gouache where light colours dry darker and dark colours dry lighter! With oils, the colour remains the same wet or dry. The only drawback (for me) is the long drying time. This is where alkyd oils come to the rescue though. I use mostly alkyd oils because on a warm day, they can be touch dry in a few hours and just about completely dry overnight.

Shady Canopy. One day when out walking, I looked up
and saw this. Here I've used a minimalist approach.
Having started with canvas paper, then moving on to small stretched canvases, inevitably I moved on to larger canvases, doing larger that life portraits and pets. This has gone on for a while, but now something different is happening. I have changed to doing a series of miniature works on six inch square MDF board. Where canvases seem to mop up the brushstrokes, I've noticed that the smoothness of MDF shows up brushstrokes beautifully and can be used to great effect adding texture and form to the work.

I don't know how long these miniatures will go on for - not much longer I should imagine, as my stocks are almost depleted and when I get some more, it most likely will be larger sizes for more experiments!

Right: Venus (Aphrodite). This was painted from a sculpture in the British Museum in London. I've used a split complimentary here with just three colours plus white.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

A Fabulous Evening!

Generous with their knowledge, inspiration, advice, and stories MHAC members made appraisal night very enjoyable. Just a few topics included: Ken's painting experience with Terry Harris, David's mark making abstracts which have been accepted into the Alfred East Gallery, Cornelia's watercolour of the Naseby monument with history and painting strategy, Alan's awesome New Zealand water colour, Lynda's extended pictures into the frames, Francis limited colour acrylic painting, and Frank's 'impact portraits'. Everyone was amazed and marvelled at the quantity and quality of his portraits. He recommended that we all take a look at Julia Kay's portrait party on Flickr.

The star of the evening and the 'one to watch,' is our latest and youngest member Eden Coe. At sixteen her work has featured in the Leicester Open 27 exhibition. She shared her thoughts and creative process with the group. The 'pears/pairs' work intrigued us all.

Thank you to all participating members and guests for making it such an informative and enjoyable evening. No more dreary paintings for me; ideas, response and translate!