We have to thank Penny Dron for taking notes from visiting guests and members on their useful hints.


    BRIAN STEVENTON (22.09.2013)

    Line and wash

1.Loosen up and look for key shapes in your subject to help you to draw it. Look for the tones within those shapes.

2. Put the greatest contrast of tone and colour in your picture at your focal point to emphasise it.

3. Put more tones and detail to the front of your work, with less in the distance.

4.  Perspective when drawing figures in the street depends if you are standing or sitting whilst drawing them. Obviously they will look smaller as they recede, but if you are standing when you draw them, their heads will look as if they are on the same level plane, but if you sit to draw them it will be their waists that look as if they are level.

5. With line and wash, use lost and found lines, not solid lines.

6.Use different drawing implements, for example, pens, brushes; even lollipop sticks to get a variety of line.

7. Dilute Indian ink with water to get a variety of tone whilst drawing or for painting tones, shadows etc. Wash your brush out immediately after use.  


    CHARLES BEZZINA (05.11.2013)

    Paints in Gouache.

1. Why gouache? It is easier to travel with it than with oils as oils can be confiscated if you want to travel by air. There are no chemical binders so no fumes.

2. Mix gouache with acrylic matt medium to make it more permanent.

3. Gouache is not friendly to large paintings as it takes a lot of paint, which can be expensive, about £5 for a small tube.

4. Only squeeze out what you need at the time onto your pallet, spray it occasionally with a little water to keep moist.

5. Use acrylic to underpaint and to block in larger areas first.

6. When painting gouache onto gouache, don’t use too much water in the second coat as it can disturb the first layer, but using the acrylic matt medium with the gouache can help avoid this. 

7. To paint snow, you need contrast.

8. Before you become an artist you need to get used to your materials. 


    FIONA PEART (15.04.2014)

    Paints in Watercolour

1.Use mostly a classic round brush as you can get numerous effects from leaf and petal shapes, to a fine line. Also stipplers or Fiona’s own make of Pyramid brush.

2. Work out the qualities of each of your chosen pigments. Some pigments have special natural qualities. Is it transparent or opaque, granulating or flocculating: or is it “Anti-social”, (in other words, does it push other colour washes away)? All useful qualities, depending on the effect you want.

3. Instead of Cadmium Red, try using a bright yellow and a pink together. It has more life about it.

4.  Don’t worry if the colours run a little, it is all part of watercolour.  If you don’t like the effect, why not use acrylic.

5. Try using two different colours on your brush. Load it with a lighter, watered down colour and then put the tip of your brush into a darker colour when paining petals, leaves etc, in one stroke.

6.. If you use 140lb paper don’t worry about stretching it, but don’t tape it all the way around, just a small strip along the top and a couple of tags on the bottom corners so if it cockles, unstuck the bottom from the support, pull down and reapply, not forgetting that tape will not re adhere to wet paper.

7.Paint the image on a larger piece of paper than you think you need, that way the colour will go right to the edge when mounted. It’s only a piece of paper!

8. Rest your little finger, not your fist, onto the paper to help you gain control. It’s more flexible. You can paint a fine straight line using this method.

9. Don’t forget no one will see your original subject so you don’t need to worry. Finally, just don’t panic. Enjoy it and above all, have fun.


    VIC BEARCROFT (10.06.14)

    (Pastel Painting)

1. To make your painting stand out, consider the atmosphere, contrast and size of your work.

2. Use a charcoal pencil and not graphite so you don’t scratch the surface of your Velour paper to sketch in your preliminary sketch

3. When shading in background, start beyond edge of picture so not to leave a hard line.

4. Read the label on the pastel. The numbers mean something.

Below 5, black added to darken pigment.
Above 5, white added to lighten.

5.  The black on your fingers won’t come off onto the velour as its dry; it will come off onto your skin as its damp. It will wash off your fingers!

6. To highlight, use white for hard light highlights, like at noon; ivory, or ochre for softer lights, evening, sunset, etc.

7. The more layers you do the more realistic it will look, not detailed but realistic.

8. Remember the colours in photos are not accurate, its restricted by the inks used in the printer. 

Constantly stand back and squint at your work.


    MAX HALE (16.09.14)

    (Pure Drawing. – portrait)

Someone who sits for a class fully clothed is called a SITTER, even if standing!

Someone who sits for a life class, in the nude, is called a MODEL.

1 Try and only sketch from life, taking down colour notes if necessary, as it makes you fully connected with your subject. Only use photos for reference.

2 Draw big, using all the available space on your page. The bigger the better. Plan how much of the sitter you want to draw and block in main shapes, angles etc, ensuring it will fit the page.

3 Lock your arm out straight when measuring sitter, using a standard measure, to keep the measuring constant.

4 Lock your wrist when measuring angles, holding the pencil out straight, keeping it out straight and at the same angle when offering it up to the drawing.

5 How do I get a likeness? Measure and measure again, it is the only way.

6 The eye line is about ½ way down the face. The nose about ½ way from eyes to chin. The bottom lip about ½ way from base of nose to chin.  The length and breadth of the head is roughly the same size. These are not hard and fast rules, only a guide. Every face is ifferent!

7 Most important features to get right so as to make the drawing as recognisable as possible is an area from and including the base and width of the nose to the base and width of the mouth.

8 Don’t spend too much time on the ears. They are only shapes.

9 If you can’t see it, don’t draw it. Don’t manufacture it.

10 Draw a central line from the top of the head to the base of the chin, curving it, as the head is curved.

11 Block in the area of hair, don’t fuss over it, maybe put in a few lines for stray hairs.

12 The jaw line is more prominent in the man than the woman.

13 Draw in the shoulders…. Or the head will fall off!

14 Looking at the direction the light falls on the head, put in shadows tones and high lights. Very important as gives drawings a 3D dimensional quality.

15 Shade in background to show up highlights on the edge of the head.

16 Work on the whole drawing before putting in detail, but keep an eye on the whole drawing all the time. Take a break and look at it with a fresh eye.

I am sorry but I was unable to attend Glynis Dray, Sue Townsend or Hilary Davies’s workshops so cannot pass on any of their tips.





After using an eraser, brush away any bits using a soft brush, like a makeup brush rather than using your hand, or blowing on it. This should avoid smudging, or inadvertently spraying , on you piece of artwork. 


Before you start painting, to help you relax, clear up any arguments and listen to 30 minutes of soft music. This should help you to get in the right frame of mind to paint.

Don’t have any food or drink within spilling distance of your work.


Squint at your work to evaluate the tones. Make darks darker and lights lighter. As tone creates form. Don’t be afraid of the dark!


When using pastels, grind any odd bits of pastels you have to make a paste with water. Experiment with this mixture for different effects.


To get a loose style on watercolour, mix your colours directly onto your paper and not on the pallet, in a wet-in-wet style. To this Roy added “This way I won’t be the only one making a mess!”


Buy a roll of lining paper from a wallpaper shop. Cut to size and press between two heavy books to flatten. It makes marvelous and very cheap sketching paper. 


When using oils, use cotton wool buds to get to difficult places.


Use your imagination. I have to as I was not allowed to take photos where I worked. 


Cut A4 sheets of plain printer paper in half and fold in half again for a light, cheap and small sketch book to put in your pocket or handbag to take with you so you always have paper handy for that quick sketch.

    And the final few words comes from CHRIS OLIVER. 

    Don’t give up hope!

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