Painting Eggs – using the Zorn Palette

Anders Zorn Palette

 

Students often ask how they can practice their portrait skills when away at home and if they should work from photographs. I firmly believe, that although photography has its place, the best use of your time, if a model is unavailable to you, is to paint eggs from life. We may want to go into the details of the eyes, but we should wait until the planes of the head are understood and the modelling of the large form is captured. This is why painting eggs is such an amazing resource.

I was asked by Artists & Illustrator to write a series of articles on practices for painting using the Zorn palette.  

In the 4 articles, we looked at the Zorn palette: seeing how we can use it in our paintings and how it can benefit our working practice.

 

Here is the transcript from my first article, though of course, the formatting by Artists & Illustrator was much more attractive than my attempts at WordPress.

 

We looked at the Zorn palette in detail: colour, colour relationships through a colour chart and its advantages with portraiture.

 

What is the Zorn Palette?

The Zorn palette is also known as the limited palette. The colours are limited to 4 basic colours: Black, White, Red, and Yellow.

I consider these the primary colours with the addition of white (where Black is the substitute of Blue). Some also regard the Zorn palette as two colours: yellow & red, where black and white serve to control the chroma and the value. Either way, the colours are definitely limited.

 

Why is it called the Zorn palette?

The limited palette has been ascribed to Anders Zorn (1860-1920), a Swedish painter, who predominantly used a limited palette. He was not the first to use it, and nor did he use it exclusively, however, he is an artist who greatly excelled at it.

Many artists throughout the history of art used a limited palette, including Titian, Rembrandt and Velazquez, though most artists would use other colours when needed and vary their pigments. During the 19th century, many more pigments and colours became available to artists, so the use of a limited a palette became less prevalent. Yet many artists remained loyal to their limited palette and continue to do so today.

 

There is much debate about whether Zorn truly did use such a limited palette. In Zorn’s self-portrait, he holds a palette with the four colours, laid out from dark to light, proud of his bravura. I think he is showing us how his skill as a painter is in the fact he can create such ambience through his brush handling, despite his limited colours. But of course, there are times when he did use other colours.

1.Image of Zorn and Self-portrait

 

The Zorn palette is really used more in portraiture and figure painting, not in landscape painting (apparently we see more variety of greens than any other colours). Zorn would also use blues and greens and other colours when landscape painting and when painting with watercolours.

There is also evidence from his studio of a very varied selection of paints, but my studio also includes many colours that I would not usually use: as a painter I am often gifted tubes of paint and I like to experiment with different colours. After all no artist should be completely formulaic, as where would the space be left for creativity?

 

Teaching colour

There are many schools of thought when it comes to teaching colour and colour theory for painters.

An abundance of Colour

There are those who believe that all that we see is colour and therefor we should have access to the most amounts of tubes of colours as possible. This is not what I subscribe to. I think this presumes that as students we understand colour completely. I think we understand hue, but colour, with all its varying temperatures and values, is a much more complex and subjective topic.

Furthermore we can rarely get exactly the right colour from a tube. Painting colour involves relationships, and mixing colour. The colour we see is only in relationship to its neighbour. If we have an abundance of colours to mix from then we have thousands of options and combinations of colours available to us. How could we keep track of which colour combinations give us which colours?

 

A Limitation of Colours

By limiting the colours available to us we have to be much more disciplined and scientific about colour combinations and colour mixing and relationships. Of course as we learn we can add more colours to our palette. There is an expression we use when teaching that “values do all the work but colour gets all the credit”. How true this is. People often look at my paintings and say, “oh I love your colours’ and yet the colour is nothing without the design of shapes and values.

 

John Singer Sargent said that there is no point putting a brush stroke down unless it is the correct brush stroke in terms of colour, shape, value, and direction. This is very true, but we believe that learning every step all at once is much harder than breaking down the learning practice: from drawing shapes to proportions, values and then colour. A well-proportioned monochrome image is still representational even if devoid of colour. So it is best to introduce colour gradually.

 

The irony is that limiting our colours is in actual fact so liberating and can teach us so much. And we will see in article 2 just how many colours can be created despite the limitation of only having four pigments.

 

 

Painting an Egg

For the first exercise I have chosen to paint an egg. An egg is a fantastic teaching tool. Before we hire a model, an egg is a much cheaper and reliable alternative! The colour of an egg is so flesh like, and the shape of an egg is so similar to a portrait. It really is an amazing tool.

 

The palette set-up

I would suggest you do not work from a white palette. It is very hard to gauge the values and colours; everything we mix seems deeper against the white. In the same way that we should tone the canvas or panel, we should also work from a mid-tone palette: a wooden palette, a grey tear-off palette, or a piece of glass with grey paper laid underneath.  Some people like to put theirs on a table so a glass palette is good and it is much easier to keep clean. I am using my wooden palette, as I really like to hold my palette and I tend to walk back and forth from my easel and I can easily tilt it if there is glare.

Lay the colours out far apart from light to dark just as in Zorn’s self-portrait. Black, Red, Yellow and White, more specifically I use ivory black, cadmium red, yellow ochre and titanium white. I will go into more details of colours in the second article. I am always reminding students that the palette is limited in size, so we don’t want any of the palette to go on holiday, we need to access all of it.  I would suggest laying your colours far apart from each other and near the edge to give you the greatest area to mix in.

2. Image of the Palette and colours

Toning the canvas

With the Zorn palette you have black and white, which gives you values, light and dark. As a canvas panel is white we can tone it with a little black so it appears a mid-tone grey. It is always best to start from a mid-tone. Traditionally we often add a little red to the black. This is for two reasons, a) black is a very weak pigment and the red can add strength to it so that cracking is less likely and b) adding a little warmth to the original tone can really help when painting flesh tones.

3  Image Toned canvas

The Light set-up

When using a limited palette we are most likely prioritising light effect, drawing and values are going to be the anchor as opposed to colour. Therefore make sure you have a strong light set-up. Can you place your subject near a window (preferable north lit so that the light stays constant), or use a desk lamp to beam a strong light onto the subject. In this was you would have a clear and defined value pattern of light and dark. Don’t put your subject against the light or your back to the light. Ideally you want light on your canvas and a nice balance of light and dark on the subject.

4 Image of set up

Placement of shapes

After toning the canvas, start by mapping out the shapes with exactly the same mix you used for the wash, just a little darker. Black and red are also both transparent colours. Don’t use ochre or white at this stage. They are opaque colours and will make your painting milky. As a little analogy, if we have a cup of tea and want to make the tea darker we can always add another teabag. If the tea gets too dark we can add more water. But when we add the milk we have lost the transparency, which adds such a wonderful quality to a painting. When painting we want to try to achieve a variety of transparent and opaque paint.

 

Map out your shapes and then add your shadow lines. This is the edge or the transition between the light and the dark. Try to keep your painting very simple and just look for 2 values at first, a light and a dark mass. Be careful with the red, it is a very strong pigment so we don’t want it to overtake the drawing; it is just being used to slightly strengthen the black. We now have the shapes and value pattern established with just two pigments.

2 Images of egg on mid-tone background, lines with shadow lines, 2 mass

For the lights mix the other two colours, the ochre and the white. The light appears a little too yellow. Add a little red to warm it up. Does it appear a little too chromatic (saturated in colour)? A little touch of black will soften the colour.

6aSimple egg drawing with lights added

6b dipping into ochre

Modelling the paint.

It is very hard, but try not to soften the transition between the values. In painting we always say you should paint the transition. It is very tempting and seems like a quicker solution to take our brush and soften the paint between the transitions, but this can make your painting look muddy. If you work with a loaded brush (lots of paint on the brush) and paint the correct transition (shift in value), then the brushstroke will do all the work of the modelling. The painting will also look crisper and cleaner. I then added the simple light background which really helped the egg jump out

7 More transitions in the lights

The Background

In the first painting I used a white background, which helps bring out the warms of the egg. In this second exercise I placed the eggs on piece of wood and in front of a hessian background. The composition is more interesting because you have a relationship between the two objects.  The background was more fun to paly with as its colours and values depended on the colour and values of the egg; the value pattern and the colours belongs as much to the subject as to the background. I had to look more at relationships of colour than just the local colour.

8a Stages

8b 2 Eggs

 

 

Conclusion

My students always ask me how they can practice at home and can they paint a portrait from photographs. I think you will learn so much more by painting an egg with a strong light source than copying a photograph. In a photograph, the work of translating the 3d onto a 2d picture plane has already been done for you. By painting an egg, you are learning about how the shadows on a portrait work and how the mass relates to the background. Ideally set your egg against a mid-tone background so that the play of light and dark of the background relates to the light and dark on the egg. You can change the colour and value of the background and the position of the egg to create hours of practice and experimentation.

 

In this figure painting, the flesh is so beautiful, but each area is really just like another painting of a beautifully painted egg. The value shifts are so clear but not hard. There are no unnecessary brushstrokes and the design of the background in itself is quite abstract but beautifully balanced both with values and such limited accents of colour.

9 Figures

 

I will post my article on looking at the large range of colours we can create using the Zorn palette. We will be making a colour chart and discussing the break down of colour to values, temperature and chroma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lockdown 3. Competition 2.

london fine art studios

For our second lockdown challenge, we asked our students to create a colour chart using the Zorn palette (yellow ochre, ivory black, vermilion/cadmium red light and titanium white) as well as a mini painting using the Zorn palette. Creating a colour chart is so helpful and amazing to see just how many colours can be created from the four colours on the limited palette. 

We had some great submissions and we hope that everyone found it a very helpful little exercise! …

flower painting

By Elisabeth

Bouquet painting

By Donna

By Cecilia

Horse painting with oil

By Graeme

Elephant painting

By Julie

Still life art courses

By Howard

Still life courses London

By Cristina

Chris is this weeks winner

After another tough decision, we decided that Chris’s mushrooms had won the prize! He closely followed the brief and had shown a good understanding of the hues, values, and chroma which can be achieved with a limited palette.

Many congratulations Chris! 

london fine art studios

By Chris

See all competition winners

Lockdown 3. Competition 1.

london fine art studios - still life

For their first challenge, we asked our students to draw or paint a still life where it is not the subject matter that inspires them, but the paint handling, the experimental use of colour and the variety of edges. We had some great submissions…

Liz is our winner this week

london fine art studios - still life

By Liz


See all competition winners

DISPATCHES FROM DENMARK – Ester Wadsworth

Workshop - Online Art Courses

Hi. I’m Ester Rose, an American living in Copenhagen Denmark. I’m a tattoo apprentice and hobby painter. As an apprentice, it’s my job to learn how to draw better and faster, and I am practicing daily. But, this type of education is not very structured. Even though I go to work and practice drawing, painting, making tattoo designs, and tattooing people daily. I really missed having a plan for learning the basics.

Before starting this apprenticeship, I was drawing and painting on my own for a few years. I’ve experimented and tried to teach myself. Art and creating is something I am passionate about, and I’ve spent so much of my free time in my little art space. I started with acrylic paint and what I created was pretty abstract. After doing this for a few years, I wanted to level-up, to learn classical techniques, about structure, composition, and the fundamentals of form, gesture, value, light, and color. I knew what I wanted to paint in my head but didn’t know how to start or go about it.

Someone recommended LFAS in Battersea London. I decided to find a way to study there, even if it was just a short course. In December 2018, I gave myself a birthday trip to London for a one-week course with LFAS. The final day of the course was my birthday, and I was so happy. It was a dream come true to be in their very classical studio and painting in the way the ‘greats’ did. This was my first experience painting from life instead of photos.

Working from a live subject was something I hadn’t dared to try and I had this mental block that it was something I couldn’t do. After a week of daily classes, I began to feel that it was possible. If I’m honest, my paintings from that week weren’t masterpieces. But for the first time in my art journey, I was focusing on the process rather than judging myself by the final piece.
I felt that I’d just begun to scratch the surface when it came to learning the techniques we were shown in class, and I really wanted to go back or find a way to study with them again.

It wasn’t possible for me to drop my life in DK and move. But when they launched online courses, I was so excited. Again, it was a birthday gift from family, to take the 10-week ‘Drawing for Beginners’ course. It was an amazing foundation boot camp, and exactly what I needed to get going with my apprenticeship as well. Then we had the COVID lockdown in Denmark. I couldn’t go to work, but the timing was kind of perfect because that’s when I took ‘Transitioning to Oils’, the 2nd online course. I learned so much.
Getting feedback and critique from my classmates and teacher, Ann Witheridge, was amazing. It gave me the opportunity to correct my work till it was better.

I would love to do the whole course again, as a refresher and to go through those basic steps of building up a drawing or painting.
I would really recommend these courses for anyone who is new to drawing and oils or just want to learn the proper steps to build up an art piece.

THE ART OF THE MASTER COPY – Sam Clayden

London Fine Art Studios - Master Copy

Copies after Colleen Barry drawings – done in front of the TV. Credit: Artist Colleen Barry

So we’re all stuck indoors at the moment. While some of us might be lucky enough to live with someone who is willing to pose from time to time, most of us are without models for the most part – and personally there’s only so much time I can spend looking at myself in the mirror. 

But the lack of models doesn’t mean we have to put our art practice on hold. One of the things I find most beneficial is to copy the masters. After all, who better to learn from than the artists you most admire? If you want to paint light like and texture like Rembrandt, copy Rembrandt. If you want to paint with broad, efficient brushstrokes, copy Sargent. If subtle colour harmony is your thing, look at Serov. Love the majesty of the Russian landscape painters? Then study them. 

Artists through the centuries have copied from those who went before them. It’s one of the most effective ways to truly begin to understand how many ways there are to approach a painting and why different methods give different outcomes. 

I’ve committed to doing several master copies in Lockdown 3.0. But I don’t just throw myself into them. For me, the purpose of a master copy is to really deconstruct how they achieved what they achieved and to draw or paint it just as they would have. That means taking the time to analyse the work you’re copying. Read up on their methods, ideas, materials and techniques. See if you can find unfinished works by the artist that might show something of their process. 

If you look closely at a drawing or a painting, chances are they left behind clues as to their working process. Can you see a hint of an umber wash shining through in the shadows, suggesting they started with an imprimatura. Are the brushstrokes easy to see and can you figure out why they chose to paint each one in that particular direction? Does it look like the artist has built up thick texture and then glazed over the top? Was there clearly a tight drawing before the paint was applied carefully in layers, or was colour harmony the main focus of the painting, in which case they may have started with washes of colour to establish the major colour relationships. 

It’s like being a detective. If you look closely enough and for long enough, you can often pick apart an artist’s process. If you can try to emulate that, some semblance of the artist’s methods will seep into your own practices. 

IMG_7412.jpeg

Copy of Ilya Repin’s portrait of the composer Modest Mussorgsky

This first effort was a copy of Ilya Repin’s portrait of the composer Modest Mussorgsky. I found out how big the painting was and made sure I reproduced the head at the same scale as the original, just to be really fastidious about things. Repin painted it in just four sessions while Mussorgsky was in hospital after a lifetime of alcoholism and madness. He died just days after Repin finished the painting. I love the psychological intensity of the bleary eyed alcoholic in his final days and so I wanted to ensure I captured that. 

There are very few writings (in English at least) on Repin’s technique on the internet, but looking at some of his painted studies, it shows perhaps that he started with a very broad schematic drawing and then painted confidently and boldly over the top, with as little fuss as possible. He also painted relatively thickly in the lights, and so I wanted to emulate that by painting with a nice loaded brush. 

I learnt a lot from the study, particularly in tackling those luminous shadows. His colour was pretty vibrant, too. I made sure to spend no more than 4 sessions on the painting, just to ensure I didn’t overdo it – after all, Repin didn’t have that luxury as his sitter died. 

ccf66b84aa37a130b0b79adaec9e4f8f.jpg

Studies by Ilya Repin suggesting process

My next copy is of a detail of Jules Bastien-Lepage’s Potato Gatherers. This is quite a different painting from the Repin piece, but I love the tender, honest portrayal of the peasant woman working the fields. I’ve always been attracted to the simple beauty of the subjects of the late 19th Century Naturalists, as well as their fusion of Academic and more modern approaches of painting. 

Screenshot 2021-01-18 at 14.16.34.png

Copy of a detail of Jules Bastien-Lepage’s Potato Gatherers

In terms of how he tackled the work, I couldn’t find much about Bastien-Lepage’s practices specifically, but I know he studied under Cabernal at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts. Of course in the Academy, drawing was prized above all, and so I started with a pretty accurate drawing in charcoal, before applying washes to establish the major colour relationships. I then pretty much worked piece by piece to bring it to a finish. I could also see a lot of warmth coming through the darkest areas of the hair and clothes in the original painting, so I started with washes of transparent oxide brown before painting, cooler darks over the top. I probably could have used another session or two to finesse and glaze, but I feel I learnt enough in the two sessions I spent on this.

So without babbling on too much, here are some more paintings and drawings I’ve copied from the masters. It’s fun,insightful and requires only a reference image and a lot of patience. 

IMG_6394.jpeg

Copy after Sargeant drawing

IMG_6804.jpeg

Copy after Isaac Levitan – Birch Grove

MONACO MAGAZINE The Renaissance of the Polymath.

MONACO MAGAZINE The Renaissance of the Polymath

The below images were recently taken at our studios as part of a photoshoot published in Monaco Magazine.
https://monaco-magazine.com/2020/11/16/the-renaissance-of-the-polymath/

The images evoke the vibrant and powerful entrepreneurial minds shaping today’s digital media and fashion world, reviving the Renaissance idea of polymaths as our original system thinkers, juggling multiple projects and talents across various industries.

Photographer:
Stephane Boubert @stephanesbphotography

Fashion Stylist:
Sofia Lazzari @sofialazzaristylist

Designers:
Harriet Eccleston @harrieteccleston / www.instagram.com/voussoir

MUA:
Grace Hayward @gracexhayward

Model & Art Direction: 
Anna Seidel @annacasophie

Please get in touch if you’d like to hire our studios – https://londonfineartstudios.com/londonstudiospaces
info@londonfineartstudios.com 

Online Art Classes for Adults – Jackson’s Art

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Many thanks to Jackson’s Art (www.jacksonsart.com) for their lovely post about our online courses… https://www.jacksonsart.com/blog/2020/11/03/online-art-classes-for-adults/

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London Fine Art Studios was founded by Ann Witheridge with the aim of teaching the craft of drawing and painting to a community of dedicated artists. The Studios are based in Battersea and welcome students of all levels, providing a supportive learning environment in which to acquire new skills and a deeper understanding of the figurative tradition.

online art courses, online painting course, online drawing course, online cast drawing course

Courses: A 3-part series of representational art courses, comprising Drawing for Beginners (1), Transitioning to Oils (2) and Advanced Cast Drawing and Painting (3)

Format: Each course consists of 10 units guiding you through 1-3 hours of drawing/painting time, as well as 1-3 individual sessions per week, and interaction with other course participants and individual feedback from your mentor.

Description: Art is a wonderful pursuit, helping people find internal rewards such as happiness and a sense of peace, and external rewards such as artistic recognition and an income.

Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned artist, this course will teach you the foundations of representational art.

With a step by step process, London Fine Art Studios will help develop your artistic skills and teach you the essential techniques of drawing and painting, re-instating the importance of tradition within contemporary art education.

This series of three 10-week courses will guide you through the fundamentals of drawing, oil painting and cast drawing.

Each week, you will unlock a new batch of video and practice-based sessions that take you step-by-step through the process of drawing and painting. With Workshop’s unique hands-on method of learning, you’ll be putting pencil to paper from day one with no need to read pages of theory in advance.

For each of the three courses, you will have access to the following through the Workshop app:

  • 10 units, unlocked weekly, guiding you through 1-3 hours of drawing/painting time each week
  • 1-3 individual sessions per week, totalling a suggested minimum of 3 hours practice
  • Expert guidance and one-to-one support from your class mentor
  • Collaborative group chat with your own private class and mentor
  • Feedback on your artwork from your class and mentor via a private in-app feed of photo uploads
  • An assessment to earn your course Certificate of Completion

In addition to the core aspects of the course, you will also get:

  • Downloadable theory notes for you to keep
  • Access to all video sessions for an additional 6 months after the end of each course

Cost: £350 per course, of £840 for all 3.

SEVEN DAYS IN THE ART WORLD – Sarah Thornton

Seven Days in the Art World

For those interested in working in the art world, this book is a must read! Sarah Thornton’s fly-on-the-wall narrative thoroughly investigates the multifaceted contemporary art world through seven intriguing stories – from art school to auction house, we’re offered a glimpse into the dynamics of a colourful world that isn’t always quite what it seems. 

The demise of drawing in the American art schools during the 1960’s and 70’s had a dramatic effect on the quality of contemporary art. It was during these years of artistic upheaval that a whole generation of students, on both sides of the pond, graduated on a diet of so-called creative ideas in which they produced work that clearly lacked the benefit of basic draughtsmanship. This was strongly underlined by The Time art critic Robert Hughes who was always rightly dismissive of artists who had not been taught to draw. Genuine talent should not be clouded by the art of ideas. 

With excellent first hand access to artists, curators, dealers and collectors, Thornton’s account is full of pithy anecdotes. Her chapter on The Crit is particularly illuminating in a number of respects, not least in highlighting some of the absurdities of the contemporary art world and it’s occasional pretentiousness – wealthy Californians pontificating over a tin-can sculpture…can this really be considered as art?  

Thornton’s account of a Christie’s auction in New York illustrates the vast sums of money in the contemporary art world, with pieces often fetching stratospheric prices for some pretty extraordinary ‘works of art’! She highlights that even if people are lured into the auction by their love of art, it is quite often those people that find they are participating in a virtual exhibition in which the value of the work of art masks it’s true meaning. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, “…these people know the price of everything and the value of nothing…”, with art at that moment becoming a form of social enhancement. As Tom Wolfe (an American 20th century novelist and social commentator) rightly observed, people yearn to be part of the “statusphere”. 

Whatever your thoughts about the art world, you have to agree with Thornton when she concludes that “…when the talk dies down and the crowds go home, it’s bliss to stand in a room full of good art” (whatever your tastes may be!).

Maddy is mad about LFAS!

London Art Courses


Hi, I’m Maddy. I’m one term in at the London Fine Art Studios and I’m feeling inspired and excited for the next one. For a long time I neglected an interest in art that had, back in secondary school, been fostered by some inspiring and joyful art teachers. Now, 10 years on and I’m back – spurred on by a want to rediscover the creativity and enjoyment I experienced in a studio environment, and to see how far I could push myself technically. I count myself lucky that LFAS is open and thriving and I’m able to join in the art community here.


My primary aim of studying at LFAS is to improve my draughting skills, because good drawing is fundamental to good painting, and probably to a great deal of good art, in my opinion. I’m seeking both the confidence and the ability to commit to paper both what I can see and what exists in my imagination, rather than either: a) relying almost entirely on compositions created from photographs – which is primarily how I used to draw, or b) not doing any drawing at all.

LFAS is one of a relatively small number of unique schools of art around the world that teach students in the ‘atelier’ tradition that many of the most brilliant and famous old masters originally studied in. In an absolute nutshell, it’s all about learning how to draw, as objectively as possible, what you can see. Perhaps most importantly – and the biggest challenge – is that everything is taught and practiced ‘from life’ (as opposed to referring to photographs). It’s about figuring out the techniques you can use to convincingly translate what our eyes and brains allow us to see from the 3D world onto a 2D surface like a piece of paper or canvas. I’ve also heard it referred to as the ‘grammar’ of painting. Like learning to drive a car or speak a new language, the skill of being able to recreate what you can see and/or imagine with a stick of charcoal or some oil paint and a brush has to be understood and practiced. Working this way also means I’m learning to appreciate the hard work of many artists whom I admire much more.


In my first term I have been working through LFAS’s Foundation module. This has been the backbone of my first 10 weeks. Each of the 10 Foundation classes are 3 hours long (i.e. one morning each week). The tutor goes into depth on the principles that fundamentally underpin how a drawing or painting is created and how it looks and we practice them by drawing sculptures and plaster casts. These make great subjects as they’re 3D, you get lots of cool shadows to work with, and they don’t move!

Alongside the Foundation module, as I’m studying full time, I’ve been able to immediately start applying those principles to other modules that run in the rest of the week such as figure/life drawing, still life and portraiture. I’m finding the latter the most challenging and fascinating at the moment and where I think (read: hope!) my most significant improvements will show.


A great strength of a school like this is that it’s supportive, practical, and hands-on from the moment you begin. You not only work next to students of all different levels and ages, the environment means you also pick up all the things you didn’t realise that you didn’t know or couldn’t remember – like how to know where to start your drawing, where to position your first lines on the page, how big your page should be, how to sharpen your pencils properly, and how to make sure your palette lands face up when you drop it (ok, nobody has taught me that last one yet – something to work on LFAS?!)

My advice to someone starting out would be to consider taking a few notes of the key points of classes so you can remember what the tutor was saying to you. I didn’t do this much in my first term and I regret it! It’s always a challenge to explain out loud some interesting concept you learned that day (e.g. about how light behaves when it hits a particular surface and how to capture that effect in a cool way in your drawing).

Treat the classes like your ‘art gym’ where you’re training your eye and your hand to work together, and be patient. Even if your day was frustrating, if you take lots of photos of your work you will be able to look back after just a few weeks or days (or even minutes), figure out where you went wrong, and be motivated by knowing how much better it’ll come out when you try again.

Enjoy the adventure!

Lola’s cris de coeur…

I am Lola, a 21 years old French art addict. I joined London Fine Arts Studios from August to November 2020. Ann, Scott and all the team welcomed me right away. I took the evening classes on Mondays and Tuesdays with Sam and Joni where I learned a lot about the techniques used at the studios, in both oil painting and charcoal drawing.

I worked in the shop before the classes. I also did a variety of different tasks to help out in the studios. I met really nice people and joyfully became part of something great. Everyone there is passionate about art of course, but most of all everyone is willing to make you feel at home, whether you are a beginner or not, or if you are at the studios for a long time or not. I loved the mood of that place and warmly recommend it to anyone who wants to work or study there.

I had to leave London because of Covid-19, but I am willing to continue drawing and painting for a long time. When I paint, I do my best to apply what I have learned and enjoy it more and more. I hope I will be able to come back soon to live some more adventures at London Fine Arts Studios.

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