Wednesday dawned, a thoroughly miserable damp and cold day, quite a contrast from Tuesday, but as we were indoors and the hall was well heated this wasn't a problem. The subject was Charles trademark combination Flowers/Still Life.
Charles Craig Young palette. Note the small amounts of paint and his latest addition Cobalt Violet, in the bottom right position. His two greens are Oxide of Chromium and Viridian but he also mentioned Cobalt Green Dark and you can see two shades in the third pan across, second row down. Charles also talked about only putting out sufficient paint needed as it must be fresh, nice and juicy, so that the tip of the brush digs into it. Sometimes he mixes on the palette, quite often straight from paint well to paper. As for makes he mentioned Winsor & Newton but had many tubes of Holbein, his long time choice, in his box.
Charles started with a quite complicated drawing using on this occasion some Schut very rough paper. He draws lightly, using a mechanical pencil, and when painting will improvise. Mostly he uses Fabriano Artistico paper, although he likes Schut Noblesse, which isn't generally available. The Schut rough he used - I'm not sure what it is called - is very rough and can give a different effect, although not the easiest to paint on. He also likes the Czech Moldau hand made paper.
This was the subject and Charles spends some time moving things around, both flowers and objects until he gets them exactly where wanted.
Checking its just right.
The completed drawing.
When he started painting he usually starts at the rim of the receptacle and likes to let paints work together, with a quite complicated interaction between the green leaves and flowers. He paints shapes rather than things and connects stems when the flowers are still wet.
The flowers are painted first - shapes not things. Value is more important than colour. You will note that he likes to have a flower(s) in the lower position rather than a mass of green leaves as in the actual composition. Apparently he particularly likes to paint white flowers, not everyone's favourite colour.
He starts adding the window frames and said you must vary the colour. He added some background, painting around the window frame. Avoid `mushy' colour apart from shadows. The darks are incorporated as he paints - no adding later. Timing is important as if too wet you can get a mess.
The finished painting a typical Charles Reid speciality, with many at this workshop particularly interested in this part of his repertoire. As usual Charles takes regular breaks - every 20 minutes or so - and goes outside to smoke his pipe. I noticed on more than one occasion clouds of smoke emanating from it! Probably contemplating a tricky bit. Charles is very communicative when painting, only occasionally going quiet when he needs to especially concentrate on a particular section. Part of the reason for the breaks is to let parts of the painting dry before pressing on. It isn't all wet-into-wet. He is actually quite pragmatic in his approach.
Together with the subject Charles painted, four other still life's - all with the same basic flower theme - were set up for the students afternoon painting session. groups of three to four congregating around each one. Charles circulated and commented on work in progress, while helping those who asked for assistance.
One thing I've missed is the critique, which took place at around noon or a little earlier after Charles had finished his demonstration. Each student was asked to submit one painting which Charles would then comment on. In my case I submitted the painting of Chris at the Stow Lodge Hotel. I mentioned earlier Charles made one basic criticism that the tree looked out of place and, the painting would be better without it - also the tree colours were too cool - the rest being okay.
The afternoon finished at around 4.30pm and all headed for their hotels, most thoroughly exhausted, or in my case a 20 mile car journey to my sister at Ducklington. Exhausted? After such intense concentration you usually are. Charles commented earlier that a two and a half hour session was enough for him during a day, and he found it hard to understand how some artists painted all day.