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"Figures in a Setting" in Oils
Tonight, we were treated to a master class in oil painting by Haidee-Jo Summers. Haidee-Jo is a Full Member of the Royal Institute of Oil painters (ROI), her fresh and impressionistic plein air oil paintings winning many awards. She likes to paint busy scenes especially beach, harbour or washing lines and stressed that when painting plein air, colours of the day are so much better. What excites her about painting is that everyone sees a scene in a different way and we are inspired by shapes, colours and shadows, the trick is to try and reproduce what you see or think you see.
Haidee-Jo told us that she doesn’t always paint in the same way, she enjoys changing her mediums and approaches her pictures as a toolkit by trying different things to keep her paintings fresh.
Tonight’s subject was a group of school children visiting a beach, playing under a washing line in the Devon village of Lympstone. Working on boards cut to a specific size and covered with gesso, then covered in muslin with an additional layer of gesso, she used a New Wave Palette and Michael Harding oils, which were used directly from the tube with very little medium. Haidee Jo drew the scene loosely with a dry brush and a mix of brown madder and violet. Initially she painted the children as basic shapes much as you would a rock, putting down a dark colour first, adding additional colours later. The background was blocked out with a dark wash and later shaped were lifted out with a cloth or a brush with turps.
Haidee-Jo prefers to paint standing up and regularly walks away to view her work from different angles, checking particularly from what she calls the viewing distance. Generally, she uses about 8 brushes when painting, not cleaning them but using a new brush for each different colour, this saves time and stops the turps from muddying. Most of Haidee jo’s colours were mixed and applied without the addition of white – though a little white was used at the end for highlights.
The picture evolved and came alive with the contrasting light and shade, the figures being completely incorporated into the landscape. In her vote of thanks Wyn Glen said,” it had been a joy to watch and listen to the thought processes of a wonderful artist and that the simplicity of the painting belied the talent of the artist.”
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