Seaton artists learn to capture a place’s spirit

PUBLISHED: 07:02 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:01 26 January 2018

Artist Lynda White with her painting. Picture: SUBMITTED

Artist Lynda White with her painting. Picture: SUBMITTED


Lynda White demonstrates how to recreate a location’s memorable characteristics.

“Capturing the Spirit of the Place” was the title of Lynda White’s recent painting demonstration and talk to the Seaton and District Art Society.

Reinforcing the importance of her theme, she said the eminent artist Graham Sutherland held that unless the painter literally feels himself present within the picture, then it is really not a proper representation of the subject.

Lynda’s demonstration subject was a particularly memorable one from her childhood in North Devon, a country lane leading through shady trees into open fields. She brought with her a pencil sketch drawn in situ as a reference, and also a photograph.

She pointed out how the photo was useful for its physical accuracy, although it failed to show detail in the darkest and lightest areas. Conversely, while the pencil sketch provided an accurate record of the colours and textures invisible in the photo, it lacked the dramatic tonal contrasts of the subject.

It can be inferred from this that in order to capture the spirit of the place more successfully a good painting needs to recreate these memorable characteristics.

Lynda had chosen fast drying fluid acrylic paint for the demonstration because it is useful in laying down backgrounds quickly, but unlike watercolour it can be layered without any muddying. Beginning thus with the sky and bright background fields, she then progressively built up the middle and foreground trees, shrubs and shadows. It was interesting to observe her employing combinations of strong, even garish colours to depict more richly the darker areas of foliage. The picture gradually emerging was of a winding sun-dappled lane beneath cool shady trees leading via a gateway into warm and welcoming sunlit fields beyond. Although unfinished at the end of the demonstration and requiring another hour’s work it was clear the painting had a strong luminous quality which her reference sketch and photo lacked.

Seaton and District Art Society stages demonstrations at The Gateway on the first Monday of each month. These events are open to the public for a small entrance fee.

For details on how to join call Jenny Oldfield, on 01297 442873.

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