Axminster Art Society prepares for annual exhibition

PUBLISHED: 07:46 30 May 2017 | UPDATED: 07:46 30 May 2017

Oil painter Stephen Foster

Oil painter Stephen Foster


Members enjoy a demonstration by oil painter Stephen Foster

There was an excellent turn out for Axminster’s Art Society latest demonstration at the United Reformed Church Hall by Stephen Foster.

Although technically an oil painter, Stephen starts his work with an acrylic underpainting, using this stage to work out what is needed and to experiment with subtle tones of colour. He paints on hardboard and finds that Schminke acrylic paints best suit his palette knife work and always works with a palette knife sanded into a rounded tip, today using a Gerstaecker No 30 knife which he wipes clean regularly. Unable to use spirits which give him migraines, he uses oil and told us how to clean brushes with vegetable oil and how to add layers of oil paint onto a dry picture using three layers - first ordinary Linseed Oil, next Purified Linseed Oil and finally, the greasiest, Sun Bleached Linseed Oil.

He had covered the board with a dark layer of Van Dyke Brown over a primer layer of white gesso warmed with a touch of Burnt Sienna and began by working a mass of white paint across the sky area using the flat, slightly bent back of the blade without lifting it off the surface before adding Yellow Ochre and then Prussian Blue. Stephen works with a very restricted palette-Prussian Blue, Yellow Ochre, Magenta and Burnt Sienna and Terracotta but his favourite colour is grey which he creates from mixing a selection of these colours with white. A beautiful slate grey can come from mixing Magenta with white and Pthalo Green or with a mix of the other 3 colours.

After tea, Stephen added oil paint using Lukas brand which he buys from Great Art.

Like Turner and Edward Seago, he keeps his work very simple with minimum detail allowing the viewer to use their imagination to fill in gaps. He lightened the sea with paler blue to maintain a consistent tonal quality, modifying his original acrylic work rather that replacing it and finished a serene image of the Norfolk coast.

* Earlier acting Chairman, Rob Chappel reminded members about their upcoming annual exhibition at The Axe Vale Festival during the weekend of June 17 and 18.

The June meeting will be the president’s critique and the next demonstration will be on September 20 when Richard Turner will show his work in pastel.

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