Coming up

Coming Up:


Saturday, 31 January 2015

Call to Arms - Publicity Secretary Wanted

Indeed we do! The LAS Committee is still looking for a Publicity Secretary - that is, someone to help out with LAS press releases, contact newspapers about our major events, helping to organise private view invitations for our exhibitions, things like that.

If you're interested, drop me a line at (I'm sure you know it by now!)

Friday, 30 January 2015

Gesture Sketch Challenge

Ladies and gentlemen - pens at the ready!

LAS Member Simon Bolton is one half of Rooftop Theatre company, who are putting on a production of Henry V in February - seeing this started a train of thought. Knowing how popular Shakespeare is, and how much fun gesture sketching can be, this is a little challenge I've thought up - if you're going, my challenge to you is to try to capture something there, maybe some audience members, maybe the actors.

If you've never tried this before, it's fantastic fun. At parks, train stations, concerts, anywhere there's a gathering of people, attempting to capture the essence of movement and character in a short space of time means you have to quickly figure out which elements of what you see are most important to you.

If you have a go then why not email me your sketches ( and we'll collect them together in a mini-gallery on this blog at the end of February . This could cover any gesture sketches you do during the month, it doesn't have to be limited to the play.

Spotlight - Limited Palettes

This month, Spotlight takes a look at limited palettes. What are they? Why use them? The definition varies, but generally six colours or fewer (excluding white, which, unless you’re working with watercolour, is assumed to be on the palette) would count to most people.  Fewer paints mean:
  •     your colours harmonise more easily
  •     you have to think more about tone and composition
  •     it’s easier to pack up and travel with
  •     you’re forced away from your regular colour-mixing ‘habits’
  •     it’s fun to try something different :)
Now, you’ll certainly not be able to achieve a full range of colours (although six in watercolour can come close), so you have to start thinking how to represent colours relative to their surroundings with what you do have - this happens anyway as you’re harmonising, but a limited palette really sharpens focus on it.

In the past, paint simply wasn’t as accessible as it is today. Many artists worked with what they could acquire, but while the colours would have been restricted these would not have been considered limited palettes as we know them today (if you’re interested in what pigments were available during different time periods, this site has an overview - it doesn’t cover everything, but it does cover the main colours) Rarely would an artist limit themselves to only a few colours for all their creations, but in specific paintings it was done to notable effect. A very brief look through history might include the following works, which are not rich in multiple colours but lose nothing for it:
Diego Velázquez, Innocent X
Anders Zorn, Sommarnöje
Frans Hals, Jester with a Lute
John Singer Sargent, Madame Errazuriz

Now then, let’s have a look at some of the limited palettes you could choose to work with. The idea here isn't to lay down palettes that just work, it's to hopefully give you an idea or two to take away and play with or adapt in whatever way seems most fun! I've had so much enjoyment working with some of these, or using them as a base to quickly sketch an idea when I can perhaps pay attention to the broader passages of warm and cool, rather than the specific colours themselves.

1 colour
  •     Black
  •     Burnt Umber
  •     Burnt Sienna
  •     Payne’s Grey
Nice and simple, these! It’s all tonal here, and if you’re not working in watercolour you can either lighten with white, or paint with washes (and oil affords the ability to really play with wipeouts, that is, using a turpentine rag to wipe the paint back to the canvas).  There’s extended scope for textural variation when a piece is purely tonal - scratch, scrape, wipe, dab, stamp, work impasto, use resists or salt in watercolour, the list goes on and on!

2 colour
  •     Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine
  •     Alizarin Crimson, Phthalo Green / Sap Green
  •     Black, [red / orange / green / blue etc, etc] - also known as Duotone
Now we get into some colour work! The point of the first two is that the colours both neutralise and darken together quite well, leading to a potential matrix of colours and tones from warm to dull to cool, and with each temperature given an almost full range of tones. For BS + U take a look at this portrait sketch, and for A + PG / SG take a look at this portrait sketch.
The third has been covered before in a previous Spotlight - if you didn’t catch it before, duotone is a very specific way of working with colour but it’s very striking. Artist Dave Palumbo made use of this palette setup for his striking 'Re-Cover' project, which you can see here.

3 colour
  •     Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, Black - the Zorn Palette    
  •     Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow Light
The first is known as the Zorn Palette, after Swedish impressionist Anders Zorn - he did use other colours, but his name has become attached to what is actually a modification of the white, carbon black, and yellow and red earth of Bronze Age Greek painting . It’s not recommended for landscape work, although using it this way isn’t impossible. An in-depth discussion of it can be found here, but if you'd rather see the range of colours possible from it (and I had to be convinced!), this page may be a good place to start. For the second palette, I cannot do better than give you this link from the always-informative Lines and Colors blog.

4 colour
  •      Lemon Yellow, Permanent Rose, Phthalo Blue, Burnt Umber (courtesy of Jean Simnett)
Jean originally took this palette from an article Leisure Painter, in which artist Tony Paul suggested its use. You can mix an astounding number of colours here, and, while subtler hue moderations may be a little tricky, the cool side of the spectrum is unusually well represented.

5 colour
  •     Cadmium Yellow Pale, Winsor Red, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Green

A palette used by James Gurney, this provides a good balance of colours, mixing is quite easy, and isn’t too expensive. Definitely a good limited choice if you’re not certain what you’ll be painting. James has a great post here about limited palettes, and gives an example of what he painted with his 5-colour palette at point 4.

6 colour
  • Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Ultramarine, Cadmium Red, Cobalt Yellow (Aureolin), Lemon Yellow (courtesy of Ruth Tune)
Ruth's palette is functionally similar to James Gurney's, with Lemon Yellow in place of a green and, most crucially, the addition of Raw Umber which allows for easier mixing of more neutral colours

When it comes to a smaller palette, it really is a playground out there - it's always worth trying something new - new combinations of paints, swapping some colours for others, see how your mixing is affected if you do without that colour you’ve come to use again and again. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new way of working that actually suits you down to the ground?

Well, that's it! It's only been the briefest of looks at one small aspect of colour work, but I hope there's been something you've found interesting.

Don't forget, we start our programme in earnest on 5th February with a demo, 'Animal Painting in Pastel', with Lesley Connolly RBSA. I'll see you there, 7pm for 7.30pm in the Studio at the Assembly Rooms.

If you know any great art websites or articles, why not share them here? Send your suggestions to - please note that this isn't for self-promotion

Schedule Change for February - Animal Painting in Pastel, with Lesley Connolly

Unfortunately, due to a work scheduling clash, Ashleigh has withdrawn from her talk.

However, the very talented Lesley Connolly has kindly agreed to step in to give us a demo on Animal Painting in Pastel. I'm sure most of you know Lesley by her works if not in person - her paintings have been pictures exhibited with The Wildlife Art Society International, the Wild Bunch, the LAS, as part of various paint jams in the region, or of course with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.

Ahead of her demo, she's also sent along her artist's statement and some examples of her work (click to enlarge):

“I have been painting for a number of years using pastels as my main medium but recently I have extended my range to include acrylics, inks, watercolour and mixed media. Throughout this period of change the subject matter, however, has remained constant. That is, animals, both domestic and wildlife, in all their rich diversity. I love painting them, their colour, their shape, their individuality. They never cease to amaze me. One day, if I work really hard, I hope to do them justice in my work.” - Lesley Connolly RBSA

Monday, 26 January 2015

Top Hat Tours

The schedule for Top Hat Tours is now available - tours are planned to Oxford on Thursday 26th February, then to Coventry on Thursday 26th March and to the Whitworth and Little Moreton Hall on Thursday 30th April.

You can find all the details on the STH website HERE.

Upcoming - Ashleigh Cadet talk

For our first event of 2015 we have photographer Ashleigh Cadet coming to give us a talk on elements of composition, something that all image-makers keep in mind when working.

Ashleigh has kindly sent along an example of her work:

Please arrive 7pm for 7.30pm, it's £3 for LAS Members, £4 for guests, and everyone's welcome. Tea, coffee and biscuits provided. Hope you can make it!

If you haven't renewed your LAS Membership yet - now's the time, before our programme begins!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Rock's Annual Art and Craft Exhibition

Thanks to John Instance for sending this file over, it's got all the details of the exhibition for you:

Saturday, 24 January 2015

LAS Call to Arms - Sculptors!

Are you a skilled sculptor? If you are, I'd be interested in hearing from you - there may be a Fringe project that could make good use of your talents.

Drop me a line at and please use the subject LAS Sculptor

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Fringe Art Market and Art Trail forms online

 The Ludlow Fringe is gearing up! Entry forms for the... well, you read it in the post title, didn't you?

The LAS will have a stall at the Art Market as have in the last two years, so stay tuned for details there. However, if you'd like your own stall, now's the time to sign up!

For the Art Trail, if you're a member of the LAS then don't forget to put 'Ludlow Art Society' in the 'association' field - that way we'll be able to keep our section together in the Trail.

You can find the forms on our 'What's On' panel at the top of this blog, on our Membership and Exhibition forms page to the right, or you can go to the form page on the Fringe website HERE.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Committee Changes

As you know, Ruth Tune and George Loades will be stepping down from the LAS Committee at our AGM in March, after many years helping guide the LAS. However, joining us now we have Dru Cole - so, welcome aboard, Dru!

You may remember Dru from when she gave us a talk and demo back in September 2011. She frequently runs linocut workshop, and you can find her work online at

Monday, 12 January 2015

Limited palette callout

Re-capping a post from 17th December:


I was thinking about writing a Spotlight post on limited palettes for January, or maybe February, and it struck me that it'd be a great opportunity to pool some of the LAS's collective knowledge - and we are a talented bunch ;)

I'll cover historical use, as well as the modern-day benefits of restricting your palette.

So, I'd love to know what limited palettes you've tried, what you like, what media they might work best in, and I'll put it together into a Spotlight post.

I'm defining 'limited palette' as no more than 6 paints (plus white, which is assumed for all non-watercolour media).

Drop me a line at  - let's see if we can start sharing some of these ideas!


This is going up as January's Spotlight post, so if you've got a favourite  limited palette setup I'd love to know!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Gremlins in the Programme

They get around, don't they? Eagle-eyed LAS member Margaret Booker spotted that there were a couple of errors in the programme -  they've now been corrected and the online programme updated. As always, the link's to the right.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Lucy Jones on Radio 3

This just came in via email from Silk Top Hat:

10:45pm - 11pm
BBC Radio 3
Tom Shakespeare is delivering five essays this week on Radio 3 at 10:45pm
each day. He talks about Lucy on Friday. His theme is "to challenge
stereotypical ideas about creativity and disability by celebrating five
disabled artists, discussing how their impairments fuelled their genius."
(above: Lucy Jones 'Darkening Sky' (pigment print edition of 10)
British painter Lucy Jones was born with cerebral palsy, but she has no intention of identifying as a disabled artist. She wants her portraits to offer a universal comment on humanity. Tom Shakespeare discusses how the challenges she faces have fuelled her creative genius.

Lucy Jones' third solo show at the Silk Top Hat Gallery, 'An Awkward Beauty' featuring her paintings and prints, opened here last October.

If you miss the programme you can 'listen again', Lucy recommends listening to all this week's interviews to put her episode in context.

The series is:
Mon:  Abul 'Ala Al-Ma'arri, Arabic poet
Tue:  Bryan Pearce, Cornish artist
Wed:  Arthur Bispo do Rosario, Brazilian sculptor
Thu:  Goya, Klee, Matisse
Fri:  Lucy Jones


Thursday, 8 January 2015

And it's really heavy, too...

Thanks to a mix-up, we have been given this:

That's a lot of paper. To be specific, it's 841mm x 75m of Canon Océ Red Label 75gsm low-chlorine high-white printer paper - you can check the detailed specifications HERE (pdf download).

So, throwing this one open to the LAS - any ideas what to do with this? Drop me a line at

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Glass Giveaway!

Here's an odd one for you - friends of a friend have just bought a little cottage which they're in the process of doing up and have said: "In an outbuilding we have discovered boxes and boxes of pieces of obscured glass, about 6 inches square, mainly clear but including some red ones. There must be a couple of hundred at least. (I know, we are completely baffled too, what on earth did he [the previous owner] intend to use them for?) Anyway, we haven't taken them to the tip yet as we wondered if anyone might be able to use them for some kind of artwork, construction, sculpture or whatever.
If anyone thinks they might be able to make use of them they'd be welcome to have them."

They're free to a good home, collect from central Ludlow.

If you're interested in these materials, drop me a line at and I'll point you in the right direction!


Good lord - it's 2015! Lovely to see you all back with us.

Here's one of the shots the Assembly Rooms took for the LAS' picture, when they organised a photoshoot on 19th December - (and thank you to all who took part!):

 And, for good measure, here's one of their shots of the busy Friday Group (always good fun - get along if you can! Detail in 'What's On' at the top of the page):