‘Don’t conform!’ Axminster Art Society is told

PUBLISHED: 12:59 01 March 2016

Stephen Foster with his painting

Stephen Foster with his painting


Demonstrator Stephen Foster tells members to ‘let the painting go its own way’.

Stephen Foster demonstrated his own unique expressive style of painting to members of Axminster Art Society.

He advocates outdoor sketching to evoke the spirit of the place, structuring the ensuing image around the dark areas.

He advised members to respond to the immediacy of the painting, saying: “Having a preconceived idea is a serious impediment to expressive painting. Don’t conform too much to expectations but let painting go its own way.”

Working on a piece of 3mm MDF board painted a warm brown, Stephen aimed at a very loose, semi-abstract, picture. With a basic palette of Prussian blue, yellow ochre, magenta and burnt sienna, with van dyke brown as a darkener, he sketched seven basic areas with the broad side of charcoal, blocking them in with the Van Dyke brown.

“This is more about memory than detail. I know this hill so well,” he explained.

These shapes and shades dictated the way forward. The sky, splashed with a swatch of thick white acrylic paint, was transmuted into a blue-grey with Prussian blue worked in with the flat of the palette knife.

Burnt sienna darkened this mix whilst more burnt sienna, yellow ochre and magenta added warmth to dark foreground areas.

Stephen added: “This acrylic painting is the halfway point between the original idea and the finished painting.”

There are no hard lines or boundaries in his work. He prefers smudged areas as being more meaningful. Lukas 1862 oil paint was worked over the top of the dry acrylic, increasing the contrast between sky and land, whilst the bright burnt sienna shade, produced by Schminke, lit up the foreground.

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