Can you hear me at the back?

Painting of boats in Tobermory Bay

I was approached earlier this year to do a demonstration in acrylics for the Irby Artists group. The demo – Boat Painting in Acrylics – was held this Tuesday evening, and pictured is the result.

It’s a little unnerving making a painting and muttering away in front of a virtually silent group of 50-60 people watching your every move projected on a big screen, but I think the demo went down well enough and I’ve had some reassuring responses from some of those present.

The reference photograph on which I based the demo painting was taken on a family holiday to the Isle of Mull around 20 years ago. It depicts three boats in Tobermory Bay. I deliberately cropped the composition below the horizon line to prevent the attention of viewers drifting over the boats to the landscape beyond.

Demonstration for Irby Artists group

Scanning and re-printing the photos at a larger scale before the demo made clearer details in the composition, but also served to demonstrate the unreliability of colour reproduction in digital scanning and reproduction. Although as a rule I try to avoid being a slave to photographic colour and form, on this occasion I was compelled to use further creative licence in my choices of colour. I particularly wanted a more intense blue in the water.

With only an hour and a quarter to play with, I needed to work quickly. This spontaneity/panic is, I think, reflected in the broad brushwork. Looking at it now there are elements that I should probably tidy up, but it perhaps captures something of the freshness of an on-the-spot study in the spirit of Impressionism.

The painting was made in a combination of Winsor & Newton and Pip Seymour artist acrylics on card prepared with a gesso ground. My thanks go to the Irby Artists Association, and in particular to Trisha Parry for inviting me to make the demonstration.

Demo painting in acrylics

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