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Lewis Hazelwood-Horner demonstration
Still Life in Oils, 19 March 2019

Visit him at www.lewishazelwoodhorner.com ??????
email lewishazelwoodhorner2014@gmail.com or see his Mall Gallery Exhibition write-up
Lewis has been a member of the Royal Society of British Artists for years. He trained at LARA (The London Atelier of Representational Art) which concentrates rigidly on traditional methods, including the drawing, colour-mixing and other skills neglected by most art schools today. He won the 2016 Columbia Threadneedle Award for figurative painting at rhe Mall Gallery.

Tonight he was reusing a fairly small (12" x 16") canvas. He doesn't bother to re-surface it completely, just scrubbing enough mid-tone paint over to stop the old painting from dominating. He strongly recommended a mid-tone starting point.

"Prepared" canvas
His subject was a highly polished stainless steel teapot on a wire stand, warmed by a couple of lighted night-light candles and with a black cup and saucer alongside.

He had placed this arrangement so that he could use a one-to-one relationship between what he measured at arm's length and distances on the canvas. The canvas, too, was at arm's length- maybe a bit more, because he holds his brush right at the far end.

Careful drawing is essential if you want a good likeness, be it still life or portrait. Drawing can take him an age in the studio but time was limited tonight. For painting you need time to warm up - Lewis said he had been painting since the morning!

Precision, not detail, is what you want at this stage.
Lewis repeatedly held the brush out at arm's length, one eye shut, measuring proportions and relative positions until, eventually, he felt ready to start making marks.

Short horizontal or vertical dashes of darker paint defined extremities and important features: the edges of the jug, handle and lid; a nightlight; the top and bottom of the rim of the cup etc.

Using a limited palette of various makes of oil paint he moved imperceptibly from these marks into broader ones for the main darks. They were quickly but deliberately applied, with a bigger (half-inch flat?) brush, the shape of the pot appearing almost like magic. Directional brush strokes help define surfaces and add energy to the painting.
It's important not to get into fine detail too early. The picture needs to be built up. This is particularly true if you want to get a good likeness.

When Lewis introduced the cup and saucer he was back into meticulous measuring and aligning. Short vertical and horizontal marks lead to larger areas of dark. He was obviously continually thinking about tone and colour. Bits of background was overpainted several times.

He would normally just squint to make sure he had the tones right but he also demonstrated the use of a black mirror to check more accurately.
To control tone he put a small dab in the centre of the area of whitest white. Not actually pure white - just slightly tinted with yellow. He reinforced the edges of the objects by repainting their negative shapes - sometimes lighter, sometimes darker. Some edges were dominated by reflections

As the work progressed marks got smaller and more deliberate, the same colour being used in many parts of the painting. This helps to hold everything together.

The overhead screen gave the audience a good view of what he was doing. The almost inevitable colour distortion didn't detract from their enjoyment of the evening.

A black mirror helps compare tone or hue in different places
It is impossible to give a step by step description of a painting like this. Lewis was repeatedly checking and adjusting tone, hue and the positions of edges. Sometimes a bit of light might be too big, so he cut into it with some adjacent dark.

He adjusted the colour of the table several times, ending up with a artistically warmer brown than the actual table. Presumably he knew these adjustments might happen because he left painting the wire stand until the very end, when the background was finished.
By the end Lewis was just adding tiny flecks of paint, lights and darks, glints and shadows, were added but even these were sometimes adjusted afterwards and he even talked of sanding some of the highlights off and re-doing them!

We saw a meticulous and likeable young painter at work and explaining how he worked. He was interesting and informative. As usual, I've noted some of his more general observations below.

Thanks, again, Lewis for a very satisfying evening.

"Any questions?"
Pay a lot of attention to other painters and their work - this will help you find the way of working that best suits you
Remember that with oils it's "thin before fat" - thinner paint to start with leading to undiluted paint for the final detail.
It's more important to get out and paint than to get bogged down in mastering technique.
Lewis likes painting pub scenes! A pochard box with a zinc or copper palette is good for this - wooden ones get destroyed when you scrape old paint off.
An interesting painting is better than a strictly accurate one.
Anyone can be an artist - it just needs practice
Although it takes more time, the more individual marks you make the more interesting the result.
Don't accept commissions for portrats of people you do not like!
When you paint outside you have to be quick because model or sun moves. Probably an advantage.
Lewis said that he would probably crop the canvas so that's what I've done.
It was obviously not an afterthought. He had never even tried to cover the old paint at the sides!

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