traditional and digital paintings,

Artist & Illustrator Magazine Event 
Preston Montford FSC Shrewsbury

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Preston Montford 2 copy 4

24th - 26th September 2010

This years ‘Painting the Atelier Interactive Way’ event at Preston Montford Field Study Centre in Shrewsbury and organised by the Artist and Illustrator magazine was my second workshop with the magazine. Fraser Kirkwood, MD for Chroma Europe Ltd very kindly gave a selection of the Atelier Interactive acrylics and mediums on behalf of Chroma UK for the students to try out. 

On arrival at Preston Montford at around 5.30 I was shown to my room and given details and information about the FSC. At 6.30 I met up with the group in the dining room for our evening meal were we introduced our selves to each other and chatted in general about the course. We then moved onto the studio to make ready for the weekends activities.

I gave a talk about the course and what we would be doing, I then went on to talk about the paints and mediums we would all be using. As we would be using both heavy watercolour paper and canvas I went onto discuss preparation…sealing the painting surface with Atelier Interactive Binder medium to prevent absorption and preparing a mixture of Retarder and Liquifying Medium to use to slow the drying time during painting, this was very useful when we all went outside to paint…the flies quickly got a taste for the stuff as well.

For the remainder of the Friday evening we applied the Binder medium onto the various surfaces (canvas and Saunders Waterford 300 lbs 640 gsm) which we would be working on the next day. I gave a few demonstrations on painting trees and a short talk on using photographs for painting, and composition, a few of the group began working on their ideas for paintings. 

Saturday looked as though it was going to be a sunny day so we decided to work outside and make the most of it, fortunately the centre had enough easels to go around. The countryside around Preston Montford is quite beautiful, unfortunately the winding country lanes have no pathways and can be dangerous when some cars come speeding down them, which is one reason we did not venture out of the grounds and instead positioned ourselves along the driveway leading up to the main building. I took possession of my new glasses the week before the workshop, they react to sunlight and darken just like sunglasses, unfortunately they became too dark for painting out doors and I had to take them off as you can see above…it looks like I am going to have to pay the optician another visit

The slight wind caused a few minor problems by blowing over easels or paintings, including mine (I rectified this by strapping my paint box to the front of the easel). When everyone had had enough of painting outside we took our equipment back to the studio and then made our way to the bar were a buffet lunch was set up for us (full marks to the centre for the buffet, but a beer would have gone down a treat with the lunch)

Those present at the venue were; Christine Towers with her husband Ray (a none painter) and her mother Laura (also painting), Carol Shields, Peter Hollis and Peter Moore. Unfortunately we were one painter short due to illness, Robert Christopher (maybe next time Bob…). The atmosphere of the group was cordial and very relaxed which made my job much easier.

During the weekend I produced two paintings (I was there to teach after all), one using the acrylic as an oil painting (painted outside) and the other as a watercolour. Both paintings (unfinished) were demonstration pieces to show the versatility of the paint, and can be seen below. The general feeling from the artists’ was that Atelier Interactive when mixed with the various mediums they received was a very interesting an versatile acrylic paint.

I’m pretty sure Chroma and in particular Atelier Interactive has acquired new converts from this course and hopefully, with a little help from me. On behalf of myself and my art group friends (I’m sure they share the same sentiment) would like to thank all the staff and chefs at Preston Montford FSC for making our course a memorable occasion.

I gave the unfinished painting of Preston Montford to Kim, one of the long stay students working at the centre. The expression on her face when I gave it to was a real delight…

Below are comments sent to me by the artists’: 

Christine Towers: Thank you so much for a brilliant weekend - both mum and I loved it and are very pleased with all we learned. I thought you might like to see mum's work framed up - it looks really good.

Peter Winter-Moore: I found your workshop inspirational and your enthusiasm infectious. It was just what I needed to boost my confidence in the use of acrylics. What made it especially memorable was the plein air session, fortunately the sun shone for a good deal of the time. The quality of the fellow artists was very high and your relaxed yet knowledgeable and professional manner brought out the best in us the craik indeed was good with plenty of bon homme. The young staff at Preston Montford were extremely helpful and friendly. All in all I have no hesitation in recommending it.

Peter Hollis:  It was a great course. For me a relative new starter to acrylics, I had not understood the properties of acrylics your knowledge and support was fantastic. The course was packed with information and I am now experimenting away like mad. .Having done the open air painting with Atelier Interactive I now know I can take these paints outside with out fear of a dry palette. I would dread to have done the same thing with a less forgiving acrylic. I had never painted with a knife before but now I’m using it all the time. Great course, great teacher and a full and a very active weekend, a full two days painting with out interruption, that’s a great privilege in this busy world. Good luck with the future, keep on cruising.