Tuesday, 8 May 2018


We were privileged to have the very experienced artist and art teacher Penny Steynor to demonstrate a watercolour painting to us, which she pretty much finished in just under an hour. Penny started the session with a lesson which covered “Subject, sketch, effects, composition, colours and techniques."

Penny's main points when starting a painting.

In preparation, decide your purpose, figure out what you want to paint, and know where you are going. Do a tonal sketch to compose your painting. Find your focal point and remember one third light, one third dark and the rest medium tones.

One of Penny's tonal sketches.

Penny likes to use a limited palette made up of two transparent colours and one opaque.
She made it all look so easy as she painted away moving her board around to manipulate the paint and water and used a hairdryer to dry the painting to speed up the process.
She stressed that one should only have one go at getting the horizon line looking perfect to avoid a build-up of paint.

Penny working on the foreground.

Penny had applied masking fluid to the sketch before coming to the evening and stressed that it should not be left on for more than 24 hours. Soften edges and waves by wiping with good old toilet paper.

There are three tones in the sea, deep sea, mid sea, and foreground sea and foam.
The splash was made by flicking masking fluid with a toothbrush.

Recommendations: Rosemary brushes, 300g learner Bockingford paper
Research artists Gordon Lake and Phil Cloete, watch Alvaro Castagnet and Jacob Zbucvic

We were also treated to having a look at the calendars of her paintings which Penny has produced every year since 2011.  Fourteen pages of the most beautiful paintings per calendar which were passed around during the meeting.
It’s amazing what 50 000 hours of practice can do to help when you’re painting under pressure in front of an audience.
Penny was magnificent and the audience were spellbound. In fact it’s the first time that members did not wait for me to do the formal thank you to the artist at the close of the meeting……they sprung to their feet and surged forward to see the completed painting and to ask questions. We had a chuckle as I presented the gift quietly to Penny on the outside of the group who were looking, discussing and admiring the end result.

Written by Linda Gotlieb.

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