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Live Art Demonstration 13th Feb. 2024 Review
Artist: Liz Black Dowding

Subject: Landscape with a reduced palette
Medium: Acrylic

Liz uses a wide range of styles and media. She does a lot for the US card retail market. She brought a range of cards which showcase her different styles. 

Liz qualified as a post-16 teacher in 2003 and taught adults for about 10 years, although she does still do some teaching today. More recently she has given extra tuition to friend’s children pre-exams. At college she studied graphic design because it seemed to lead to more options but she described it as a mistake as she only really wanted to paint. 

Tonight, she is using four colours and white.  Titanium white, Naples yellow, ultramarine, alizarin crimson, burnt sienna. Liz shared various different landscapes set in various seasons using the same colours. Using a small pre-primed canvas which is relatively cheap and more saleable due to its size, Liz went in with white and then some ultramarine with a bit of alizarin crimson for the purply sky. Naples yellow is added to make a soft, dirty grey for clouds.  Burnt sienna is added for a browner grey for the distant hills. 

Liz does not thin the paint but uses it thinly. She occasionally uses a medium to prevent paint drying whilst doing fine work. Liz applies paint in layers, which she credits to her grounding as a watercolour artist. She is prone to going over bits that she is happy with. She recounted that once a friend took a painting off her during a demo before she ruined it.

Liz says that she didn’t really understand the colour wheel until she started studying it in order to teach. By mixing the orange of burnt sienna with its opposite of purple you create a darker colour. This was used to darken the headland in the picture. 

Cleaning brushes is a performance. Working with watercolour has led Liz to favour lots of pots of water, so that she is not mixing colours too much. Liz uses her fingers to blend.

Using a square brush, Liz worked some of the reflections of the sun in white. Some Naples yellow was brought into the sky. Liz loves clouds. She likes the drama and the randomness of them. Try not to regulate them too much. 

Reflections tend to be slightly darker and bluer than what they are reflecting. Warmer colours in the foreground serve to bring it forward. 

Click Here to view pictures of the first part of the demonstration


After the break Liz picked up another picture she had started, this one with an autumnal theme but using the same colour range. A woodland scene had been photoshopped and Liz explained which colours she could see it and how she approached it. The trees in the background are the back scene. These were introduced by mixing the warmer colours with white to create a peachy hue. It’s hard to make things like trees random rather than symmetrical. 

With these colours there is no true green. When asked about her palette, Liz says she doesn’t always use the same ones, but tends to stick to a limited palette as it ties everything together - it stops you getting a picture with two halves. Lemon yellow is a favourite as it really pops in woodland scenes. 

Liz particularly likes Jackson’s Art for buying her paints. She warns against buying paints from a different range as the colours can vary so much. Today she is using Winsor and Newton Galleria, which is slightly more expensive than the System 3 but not top of the range. 

Continuing with the woodland scene, Liz adds purples and golds and highlights to the foreground concentrating on the direction of the light from left hand side. The plan is to leave the light section in the middle as a focal point rather than filling in the detail. Liz adds the tree to the left of this area where there is a halo effect of the light shining through. By squashing a square brush, Liz creates a hard edge which is very good for fine lines. Putting a sapling in with a darker, crisper line brings it forward.

Liz mentions that she likes to develop a rapport with photographers, always asking permission before using their material and occasionally makes a payment to them. 

Liz is hoping to make more of a career of her art after her pending redundancy. She does a lot of commission work, commercial work, for which she has an agent (so she doesn’t have to deal with people) and is planning some classes… a taster session is planned to take place in Thurcaston. She also welcomes teaching opportunities. 
Meg Grant

Click Here to view pictures of the second part of the demonstration

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