Wokingham Art Society
Freda Anderson demonstrations etc.
Visit her at www.fredaanderson.co.uk
2009
Portrait Demo
2013
Flower Workshop
2013
Flowers Demo
2015
Gouache/Pastel Flower Demo
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Demo:"Gouache & Pastel Flower" , 18 August 2015
Freda planned to start with a detailed underpainting in gouache and finish with pastel at the end to sharpen and brighten it up. She had studied various photos before chosing one of a single magnolia grandiflora bloom.

A painting like this takes much more time than is available for the demo, so there had been a lot of preparatory work. After some thinking, she had spent about an hour on a charcoal sketch. Freda started the demo itself by spending some minutes adjusting the sketch: correcting tones, mostly emphasizing the darks behind the nearer bright petals, and sharpening up some of the edges.




She then put that one away and produced "one she had started earlier". This was to become the finished painting. For such work she recommends a heavyweight, medium tone, neutral colour pastel paper (brown, cream or grey, perhaps). She had chosen a grey one this time: one of Art Spectrum's Colourfix range, from Jackson's.

Colourfix has a great surface for pastel or charcoal and, unlike other pastel papers, tolerates water. Gouache or watercolour can be applied as wet as you want without damaging it. In fact, gouache actually improves the tooth, to the extent that if you press the pastel in, it will not fall of the finished work.
"I buy as many greens as I can". Her gouache palette had several of them, a couple of yellows and some earth colours (used only in the background). Green leaves are actually shades of grey, so Paynes grey and indigo were there too, but no umbers (which contain black and make greens muddy).

Freda had already added colour to 2/3 of the picture. She continued with the darkest greens (with Paynes grey) but was continually changing colour by adding different amounts of yellow ochre and white.

To make the forward petals and leaves stand out she advised not just darkening the bits behind and lightening the edges in front but also avoiding bright colours near the edges of the picture.
Only after the coffee-break did Freda introduce pastel. She said you needed the same range of pastel colours as you had used in the gouache underpainting.

She had no intention of covering all the gouache: only to make small marks, sharpen edges, darken some darks, brighten some lights, add traces of blues and purples in the petals and so on. She generally avoids smudging her pastel, preferring to mix colours optically on the paper and to rely on the effect of pressure to make marks of different sizes.

So ended another inspiring evening. Thank you, Freda.
The end of the demo
2009
Portrait Demo
2013
Flower Workshop
2013
Flowers Demo
2015
Gouache/Pastel Flower Demo
Return to Archive

Demo:"Mixed Media – Flowers", 20 August 2013
Aim – to focus and accentuate the darks and lights in a flower painting. Big flowers have impact; rhododendrons, magnolias, camellias. Climb into the bush with your camera! Have the sun at an angle, shining through the petals. Freda cheats and often uses silk flowers, such as hydrangeas.

Plan – look for frames in charity shops. Paint your picture to fit the size of frame you have or make it a standard size to fit mount & frame. Freda always uses a watercolour board, no matter which medium she is using. Before drawing your design, use the golden mean to place the important parts. Draw lines from corner to corner, then from corner to centre of the opposite side. The focal points should be where those lines cross.

Draw – Freda’s design had 5 points of the design going out of the picture – stems, leaves, edge of flower. Draw, look, tweak. Draw, look, tweak. Decide on lights and darks, bringing leaves forward or pushing them back. Decide on the background; Freda put a box behind the arrangement, and would paint it white to offset the dark flower heads.
Paint – Using a previously drawn sketch of camellias, still showing the gridlines, Freda erased those lines, leaving the sketch drawn in waterproof Faber Castell pen. She always puts the dark, staining colours in first, then rubs it back to show the texture of the board. Wet cotton wool pads will take off all the colour. Adjust the colour density with wet cotton wool and more paint. Freda added a dark green/blue background, just scrubbed on, to accentuate the pink flowers. For a softer effect, paint oil over acrylics.

Texture can be added with a coat of clear gesso over the drawing or watercolour painting, which gives tooth for pastels. Make a ‘gutter’ to catch the dust, using folded newspaper & tape.

Freda changed to a rather dull painting of a vase of yellow tulips on a windowcill, which she wanted to liven up, using pastels. Clear gesso had already been applied. She lightened the background, using white pastel and brought out the angles of the window frame with cross-hatching. A few marks in white, grey and black brought the picture to life.

Conclusion – All the while, Freda was talking as though she were thinking aloud. It was so refreshing to see the mistakes as well as the successes and how she went about correcting each painting to her satisfaction. It wasn’t formulaic or stilted, just spontaneous and fun. A masterclass in Thinking Aloud and Creative Mixed Media!

Thank you, Freda!



Write-up by Madeline Hawes
2009
Portrait Demo
2013
Flower Workshop
2013
Flowers Demo
2015
Gouache/Pastel Flower Demo
Return to Archive

Watercolour Workshop:
"Flowers in Boxes", 26 Jan 2013
The workshop was held at W.A.D.E. on Saturday 26th January with artist Freda Anderson guiding us through watercolour paintings of "Flowers in Boxes".

She started by demonstrating the technique & giving us several do's & don'ts, then we helped ourselves to a selection of silk flowers & started work.

The demonstration had been considerably daunting, but once we all got under way it proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience & Freda proclaimed the results excellent, but with constructive criticisms.

We shall now be able to finish our work at home with pleasing conclusions.

Follow this link for bigger versions of the photos.



Write-up and photos by Brenda Baldwin.
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. . . . . . . . . . . . Marilyn Burt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pat Johnson . . . . . . . . . .

Ann Crail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brenda Baldwin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Elaine Izod
2009
Portrait Demo
2013
Flower Workshop
2013
Flowers Demo
2015
Gouache/Pastel Flower Demo
Return to Archive

Demo: Watercolour Portrait, 20 October 2009
Freda said that much of this evening's advice would apply to other types of painting. But for portraits, where a likeness is essential, she finds that the initial drawing is the absolutely essential foundation.

She starts in pencil on thin layout paper. When she is satisfied with the likeness she traces it to the position she wants on the final support. A light touch is necessary, otherwise you dent the paper. Using the tracing as a guide Freda then redraws on the final support with watercolour pencil, again lightly, but correcting wherever the likeness is unsatisfactory. The final redraw is with a brush, making further corrections to the pencil drawing. All the time it is invaluable to refer back to the source (model or photo) so that errors are not reinforced.
Freda likes to be at about the same level as the sitter.

The pencil drawing had been finished before the demo (Freda's time was limited by the AGM ).

Her drawing procedure is to start with a couple of marks to define the height of the head and an oval for the general shape (round? angular? pointed?). Marks for the features are then made as if it were a normal face but adjusted where the subject differs.

The essense is repeated measurement and lots of practice.

After getting the general shape down, her routine is:
a line for the middle of the face;
eyes around half way down (above or below as the subject is above or below the artist);
top of eyebrows, bottom of nose and bottom of chin equally spaced, with bottom of bottom lip half way between;
width of eyes and space between eyes about equal (wider spaced in Africans);
width of nose equal to space between eyes, width of mouth equal to space between pupils;
ears extend from eye-level to nostrils, but drop with age;
eyebrows are very distictive, nostril shapes too, defining if the nose is retrousée;
eyelids almost disappear in older people;
lip shapes differ but are nowhere near as important as the shape of line between the lips;
finally, shape the hair-line and neck.
A little masking fluid for highlights makes the initial washes easier but if you are not too much of a purist you can use white acrylic gouache at the end.

Once the features are accurately placed and the brush is in use Freda starts adding shadow (indigo and a madder brown) and then touches of colour.

Shade and colour were built up in multiple glazes, remembering such things as darkening the whites of the eyes, not overdoing the colour of the lips and checking repeatedly against the subject.
The end of the demo, here, will require a little more work: perhaps some splatter into the background and some wet paint, for more runs, to make the (accidental) run look intentional.

There are a couple more of Freda's demos at www.fcsaonline.org.uk/History/Anderson/Anderson.htm
2009
Portrait Demo
2013
Flower Workshop
2013
Flowers Demo
2015
Gouache/Pastel Flower Demo
Return to Archive

All images on this website are the copyright of either the Wokingham Art Society or the individual artists
This document is maintained by Sam Dauncey