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British landscape with Tony Hogan

British artist and friend of Chroma, Tony hogan recently sent us this tutorial to share with Chroma's online community. he contributes many helpful techniques and approaches. Over to you Tony,

"Selecting this seasonal view occurred after visiting the next village to my studio in Kilham, East Yorkshire. I'd identified the field as a potential venue for a group of people attending one of my residential art holidays, so on the day off we went. returned I started to tutor the group in the way of developing a painting plein-air and did some sketches for a composition.

A couple of days later, having time for my own work, I equipped with Atelier Interactive Acrylics, and a stretched, 3ft x 2ft, 15oz cotton duck canvas, which had been primed with 3 coats of Atelier gesso liquid primer. With these acrylics there are many working options available to use from watercolour techniques to heavy impasto.

So, I had the view, now a decision was needed as to my choice of working option. I elected to use a technique that involved blending for the sky and working fat over lean (aka oil techniques) for the rest of the painting.

On the tutorial day we had been blessed with a clear blue sky but of course, on my return visit the sky was sunless and cloudy. This however proved both a challenge and an opportunity as the now grey/blue of the sky enhanced the dramatic effect of the red poppies against the green fields

Stage 1.

Starting the work with a tarpaulin sheet at hand in case of sudden down poor ( and not referring back to the initial sketch) I drew the basic outlines of the picture with diluted paint.The objective here is to make sure the various elements that attracted my eye actually work on a big canvas. Quite often a sketch works in its own right but does not translate directly to a canvas, which is why I do not copy from the sketch but re address the view directly.

Stage 2

By laying down a fairly fat coat of Tinting white across the sky area I then blend the colours selected and paint, very quickly, using the atomizer water spray to keep the paint wet. This allows me to capture the dramatic stormy sky with its fast moving thunderous cloud formations. The trick here is to observe a section and holding that in your mind get it down whilst adjusting and altering as light and dark clouds flit across the sky.

Twice during this part of the work I had to quickly throw my tarpaulin over the work to protect it.

Stage 3

By mid afternoon with a serious thunder storm hitting, I had to delay the next stage until the following day by which time being England the weather was back to blue sky.

A decision had to be made as to staying with the dramatic sky or re painting the much improved one in front of me. I chose to stick with the original and pressed on.

Next painted was one of the main visual aspects the tall tree along with some of the hedges and distant fields.The trees are first formed by establishing dark shapes in indigo and dioxin purple and then developed with various greens eventually moving to the highlights as the light catches the foliage.

Stage 4
Now it was time to establish the first colour mass for the foreground and add touches to distant fields to keep tonal balance. This first application is always effected with the paint more diluted and worked very much wet into wet applying the colours directly to the canvas and allowing them to blend on it. I try to avoid mixing colours on the pallet as it tends to dull the work and loose impact. The earth colour was created by dioxin purple/ red gold and naples yellow being worked wet into wet.

Stage 5

Having settled on my pallet I can now start to work with fatter paint (almost pure from the tube) and develop more detail of hedges and fields in the background.

Stage 6

The hedge to the left of the main tree is now completed with small marks working dark to light along with more touches to the other foliage.

By using a long flat style brush almost flat to the canvas I can build the foreground grasses
with fat paint. Here I will often have three pure colours from indigo to naples yellow on the brush at once allowing them to blend on the canvas producing effective colour and tonal changes. Always being aware of the need to have stronger colour tonality near the foreground which gives ariel perspective to the work and allows a greater degree of visual three dimensionality on a two dimensional surface.

I also paint the first few poppies in to the back of the main field.

Stage 7

Its day four of the painting now and time to cover all the remaining white areas focusing on colour and tone using fat paint.

Where any area needs blending into the background I re-soften the underlying coat with either an atomizer with water or where needed by lightly brushing unlocking formula in.However at this stage little re blending is needed and for the most part it is a matter of finishing the rest of the foreground and bringing in more of the poppies .

Stage 8

Completion is within sight and the temptation to rush must be avoided. Care and time is spent painting the poppies with napthol crimson, cadmium orange and naples yellow. The distant ones are no more than a spot of colour whilst the near ones need painting with observation of their shape/form and where the light catches them.

Sitting back to review and consider the work as it progresses is vital throughout all the stages but now even more important. I sit and look at all elements of the work. The composition-the pallet-the tonal balances-do they all work for me? If so its time to stop and put the work to one side for a day or two.

Stage 9

As with all acrylics and oil paints you will notice some shrinkage as the work dries making the painting look flatter than when painted and often slightly darker in tone.

It is possible to reduce some of this by use of a medium whilst doing the painting but I prefer to wait until the work is completely dry (at least two days) and then varnish with Atelier Interactive Satin varnish/medium. My preference is a satin varnish but others might choose matt or gloss varnish.

List of materials
Atelier Interactive Acrylics ; Tinting white
Titanium white
Indigo Blue/Black
Prussian Blue
Cobalt Blue
Naples Yellow
Arylamide Yellow
Yellow Ochre
Dioxin Purple
Red Gold
Olive Green
Permanent Sap Green
Green Black
Permanent Green Light

Atomizer spray with water, A set of long flat synthetic acrylic brushes sizes 4,8,10 and 12. and a size 2 round.
A stay wet pallet.
Lots of old rag. "

Tony Hogan works as an Artist,Tutor and Demonstrator. He trained at Bradford College of Art in the nineteen sixties. Hogan runs Art Breaks in Yorkshire art holiday courses from his Studio in the Wolds Village of Kilham near Bridlington East Yorkshire and gives demonstrations and workshops for art groups nationally. He also runs specialist Atelier Interactive Acrylic weekend workshops for Chroma Australia and is an OCA tutor and SAA professional


Five Pennies, East Street, Kilham, East Yorkshire. YO25 4RE

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Tel; 01262-420068 Mobile; 07888852503