Saturday, 16 April 2011

Workshop fun with Jane Puckering

Phew! What a day...the workshop that I went to run by Jane Puckering was sooooo good, one of the best ones I've ever been to. Her enthusiasm and energy were infectious, making you feel like anything is possible. Using acrylic with pastel is a whole new ball game to me and I was intrigued to find out more about the technique. 

 Jane began painting a very wet and very loose under painting in really fluid acrylic, there were lots of beautiful runs and dribbles in the paint. Once this was dry she showed us a medium called 'acrylic ground for pastels' which is made by a company called Golden. She uses it diluted 40% with water and paints it on top of the acrylic under painting in broad directional strokes. You can also use this medium on top of a watercolour under painting as it dries clear without disturbing it and then pastel on top.

All fired up we made our own under paintings, some people using acrylic and some working with watercolour.  I was working on a pre-primed piece of MDF and I really enjoyed this bit, lots of flinging paint and letting the liquid do the work.

I'd decided to stay with the same palette that I've been working with lately of indanthrene blue, quinacridone burnt orange, golden yellow and azure blue. I was working from my sketches of Kimmeridge and wanted to really explore the marks that I could make. In the under painting you can see where I've dribbled water through the wet paint, diluting areas and letting it run.

Whilst our under paintings were drying Jane then showed us how pastel could be applied on top. She showed us how you could use the marks in the under painting to draw out areas and cover over any passages that weren't conducive to the final painting.
At the end of stage 2 with pastel applied but lots of under painting showing through I really should have stopped. However I carried on adding in the suggestion of the headland and completely overworking the rest. Jane explained that one of the beauties of this techniques is that as the medium used is acrylic based I can just wash off any offending parts (for me in this case the flat bed of rock) to take it back to the under painting and then I can just start again. I'm going to live with the mistakes for a few days and analyse how I will take my second shot.

There was still some time to go of the workshop so I thought I'd have another go on a second composition. This time the MDF wasn't primed and I went straight in with the acrylic under painting letting alot of the buff of the board show through. Once it was dry I added the medium and began the pastel stage. I was halfway through when the call went out that we'd be finishing in twenty minutes for a critique to finish the afternoon. Yikes! I had to get my skates on..

I was much happier with this piece as there are still passages of the under painting showing through and the marks are more dominant. I'm thinking that I need to work against the clock more often - no time to fiddle. Looking at it on screen I can see I need to crop about a 6th from the sky for a better composition and maybe darken the lower 6th.

Yesterday was such a great day, it's always so good to learn new techniques and it's certainly given me a lot to ponder. I'm sure I will play with the technique again but more importantly, for me, it's shown me a way of loosening up and exploring the painted mark. Jane regularly runs workshops in Sway, there's a list on her website, so if you feel like treating yourself I'd thoroughly recommend taking one.


Painting Techniques said...

nice painting! Keep up the good work! By the way, If u have time, drop by my painting blog. Thanks!.. .daniel

vivien said...

great post Lisa and such an interesting technique

I've often used pastel over loose acrylic underpainting - but didn't know about the Golden medium - it's on my want-it-NOW list!!!!

This will really suit the way I like to work and I have to try that medium.

looking forward to seeing you do more of this as I think it will suit your work beautifully

Roger Seddon said...

Inspirational. I am so pleased for you Lisa that you had a good day and are now fired up with enthusiasm. I love using pastel and many times have combined it with watercolour and acrylic, but never using the "acrylic ground for pastel". This is a revelation. It should overcome the problem I always encountered of getting the pastel layers to firmly stick to the dry acrylic without using fixative which I always try to avoid whenever possible. I will buy some and give it a try. Thank you for all the very useful feed back on the course. I must attend sometime. If you fancy joining me sometime for an acrylic and pastel fest then let me know. Angela will provide the tea and cakes.

Caroline said...

A very interesting post and it looks like you have been very inspired by learning new techniques. It will be interesting to see where you go next! Your paintings look very nice and it is not always easy to work under the pressure of a workshop yet you did so well.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post, and sounds like a very inspirational workshop. Have you tried Colourfix pastel ground? It comes in some really nice colours. I used to use it a lot on thick mount board, hardboard etc. It has a lovely tooth. Have you also tried using a sprayer and spraying diluted acrylic medium over and in-between layers of pastel? Gosh, just talking about it all brings back fond memories of when I used to work a lot in pastel…. whatever happened to those days (lol)……I’ve been in the doldrums with watercolour for a little while, so maybe your post about your workshop is the inspiration I need to get back to one of my true loves….pastel!

Lydie said...

I feel your enthusiasm here, it is always wonderful when we explore new things. Thank you for sharing your workshop experience.

loriann said...

Great post Lisa! I look forward to seeing what you will do with all your new information and possibilities. Enjoy!

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Hi Daniel thank you for stopping by.

Thank you Vivien, whilst I was at the workshop I thought of you. I thought that you would find the medium interesting, especially in your Cornish work. I'll look forward to seeing how you use it on your blog.

Roger it was such a great day, Jane does workshops in Sway and I think you would enjoy it there's nothing like seeing someone using these things. An acrylic/pastel fest sounds like an excellent idea but now I've seen your post about your lovely neat studio it might be best to go out on location. I'm the messiest painter and I'm sure I would destroy the place. Does Angela do take away? ;o)

Thanks Caroline, your right there was a bit of pressure, there were 18 people painting and the standard was high. Luckily it was a big hall so there was just enough room for everyone to spread out.

Hi Maggie, thank you. I haven't tried the colourfix ground before but that sounds interesting too. I'm definately going to have to play with the diluted medium and pastel that sounds like a genius idea. Sorry that you are having a lull with the waterolours, it's so frustrating when that happens. Maybe a change of medium is just what the doctor would order.

Hi Lydie, thank you for popping over. I'm still buzzing with so many ideas so I hope to have lots of new things to share.

Loriann, your right lots of possibilities - it's making my head spin. There will be a few late nights methinks.