There was an excellent turnout; extra chairs had to be borrowed from the coffee shop outside the auditorium!
Craig told us that he had no formal training, but has sketched and painted since his school days. He has only been able to devote himself to art full time since his retirement a few years ago. Since then he has won awards for his paintings and drawings.
He showed us some slides of his older work to show how his style and skill has developed. He started painting in oil but then changed to watercolour and now hardly ever paints in oil. He discovered along the way that paintings of cows sell very well! His subject matter is varied and includes, wildlife, street scenes, flowers and people.
He travels a lot (always with his sketchbook) and while in Spain did a lot of buildings. He showed us how he treats each window pane differently to avoid monotony. He advised us to have a plan before starting as to what you intend to create.
|Craig Paton-Ash - Street in Spain|
He also told us that it is essential to learn to draw people as it is impossible to avoid them when sketching! Try and get a different angle on a subject - here he showed us a painting of a bird seen from below.
Craig works from photographs unless he is sketching en plein air. He told us that one can paint anything (and to illustrate this showed a slide of a drawing he had done of a sugar packet) - bird's nests, chairs, etc. He loves detail: skin lines, folds, texture and fur, and this is evident in his work, which has an illustrative quality.
He uses devices like lines to lead the viewer's eye into a work. An artist he admires is the Bahamian realist watercolourist Stephen Scott Young.
Other tips he gave us: The background is as important as the subject. Drawing should be the cornerstone of your art. Look first at the shape is this is the basis and you need to be able to draw this. Also don't forget the negative spaces.
Craig then showed us the different stages of a sketch he did at an airport. He looks for perspective and outlines everything quickly in case things change, although he does look for subjects who look as though they will remain in position for a while! Background figures can be treated simple as shapes.
|Craig shows us how he treats background figures.|
|A stage of the watercolour.|
Craig is also an enthusiastic participant in the annual Sketchpack Project organised in August by ArtSauce and brought his Sketchpacks along. At the end of the meeting members were able to look at these, as well as his sketchbooks, and chat to Craig.
The theme for the challenge was "My perspective", and the works brought along are shown below. Thanks to the members who participated!