On Friday afternoon, Lexis Byron Bay held their inaugural Paint and Sip activity and what fun it was!
We decided to paint an image that pretty much every knows: Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh. Did you know that there isn’t just one Sunflowers painting but a whole series? You can learn more about them here Sunflowers
Lisa, our Campus Manager, who studied at art school as a teenager, chose one with a blue background and led the tuition while Dominic, our Student Services Officer, chose the wine and ensured that the students glasses (and paints) never ran dry.
For the base, we use canvas paper stretched onto a board. And for the medium, acrylic paint. First of all, Lisa explained how we were going to reproduce the original in three different stages, and everyone chose red or white wine.
Then Lisa demonstrated the first two stages: sketching and colour blocking. To sketch a rough outline, we used watered-down acrylic. Any colour is fine. And, as you can see from the photo below, the outline can be rough; it’s just there as a guide so that you know that the entire image will fit onto the paper. The colour block is also rough; the idea is simply to get rid of all the white background and get the basic shapes in place. One of the main mistakes newbies to painting make trying to get things perfect on the first brush stroke. Painting is a process, where you start rough and refine as you go. It’s also best to add to your image colour by colour rather than finishing one area of the painting before moving onto the next as this creates a more balanced whole.
We listened to Taylor Swift as we worked and some students (and Lisa) enjoyed singing along to her classics.
Once most students had made good progress on the first two stages, Lisa demonstrated the final stage, which is all about adding texture.
She demonstrated three different techniques that students could use. The first is to thicken the paint. Van Gogh’s paintings were done in oils and were known for their texture. Modern day acrylics tend to be quite thin and dry almost smooth. So to re-create the texture of oils we added corn flour (you can also use baking soda).
The second technique relates to how to apply the paint. If you’re not used to using a brush, it’s not necessarily the easiest way to get the texture or outline you are looking for. Instead, we used ice pop sticks (lolly sticks) broken in half. Once broken they can be used to apply the paint in highly textured, feathered way as you can see from the picture below.
Finally, the third stage is a technique you can use for painting lines. Again, painting lines with a brush can take practice. A cotton bud can be a easier way to make thick lines such as the ones Van Gogh used to outline the vase and table top.
Lots of students painted for two hours or more, and some said that they would like to do Paint and Sip every week!
Dominic and Lisa also had fun and were very excited by the final results, which I’m sure you’ll agree are as varied as they are amazing.
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