Seaton artists learn how to speed

Artist Marilyn Allis with her painting of Corfe Castle

Artist Marilyn Allis with her painting of Corfe Castle - Credit: Archant

Water colour artist, Marilyn Allis creates two quick paintings – one before and one after the tea-break

A record number of Seaton and District Art Society members and their visitors attended the town hall to watch impressionistic water colour artist, Marilyn Allis, create two quick paintings – one before tea-break and another one afterwards.

Marilyn always sketches her planned subject first on the paper, using bold lines, and she arrived with the drawings for both paintings already completed, to save time. She likes to use strong vibrant colours, applied with large chunky brushes with good sharp points for adding detail - so not your typical watercolourist.

The first painting depicted the famous Venetian fish market, with obligatory canal, gondola and gondolier in the foreground. Marilyn began with a pale aquamarine wash for the sky, and slightly darker wash for the canal. If she were working at home, she would take several breaks during the day while considering her next move, but during a demonstration she needs to keep going, so out came a hairdryer to hurry the process along.

A white wax crayon was used to mark highlights, but a candle would do just as well - more natural than masking tape. Then she put the colours of the building in quickly, and as she worked, told us the colours she was using – cadmium red, cadmium orange, burnt umber. She talked about the importance of getting a contrast between light and shade. The gondola was a dark slash, the gondolier’s trousers dark too, with a jolly striped shirt that contrasted with the pale stone wall behind him. Reflections shimmered in the water.

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After the break, Marilyn painted Corfe Castle, using a single colour – ultramarine blue. This is a good exercise if you want to learn more about tones. She created her tones by mixing different amount of water with the paint on her brush, differentiating between dark blue, mid blue, pale blue and leaving the lightest parts white. The she turned her painting upside down as an unfamiliar angle helps to pick out anything that need adjusting. She will leave her paintings for a week then look again and see them with fresh eyes

The society welcomes visitors. It costs £3 for a very happy afternoon. The next demonstration is ‘Abstracting from the landscape’ when Gerry Dugeon will be demonstrating his use of acrylics, and it takes place at Seaton Town Hall on Monday May 8, at 2 pm.

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