Painting

vanaswegen motherboard

Painting by Heléne van Aswegen


This painting workshop is an open ended workshop for both the beginner and the advanced painter who needs a fresh perspective on their work. As a point of departure we will paint with oil on paper. Paper is inexpensive and contrary to popular belief a suitable surface to paint on (especially with oil paint). This method stimulates development of drawing skills and the participants will also learn to work in thin washes/layers. The following day we will discuss preparation, content development, composition, and avoiding common pitfalls and cliches. Quick preparation paintings will be encouraged at this stage. The last two and a half days will consist of painting time. Advanced painters who would like a small group crit are welcome to bring their old work (completed or incomplete) on Day 4 for focused discussions. It is custom by the end of Day 5 for all the participants at the Spring School to showcase their work in the form of a small exhibition. This would also be an ideal time to talk about presentation and curating one's work.


Day 1 
Looking vs Seeing
Drawing with pencil and paint
specifically portrait or object painting
focusing on form and light. 

Day 2
Looking back and Planning ahead
preparation of boards/papers
focusing on content and composition 
by making multiple 10 minute mock-up paintings 

Day 3
Buckle down 
Base painting - how to get rid of the blank canvas
establishing the bigger picture before honing in on the details

Day 4
Shifting gears 
to paint - how to avoid getting stuck with one style of mark-making 

Day 5
Tying up loose ends
Final rendering techniques - edges, light and shadows, crevasses and detail touches
Curating and displaying your work


Materials to bring: 

For self portraits: Bring a mirror (preferably one with a stand or some mechanism to attach to a wall) 
(For models we will borrow the faces of our neighbours)

Objects - bring at least 4 objects of interest for example:
1. organic/degradeble
2. mechanical
3. reflective
4. textured/ soft

Apron/Protective clothing 
Genuine turpentine 
Linseed oil (preferably artist's linseed oil)
Palette       - anything from a varnished thin masonite board,  old white dinning plate or the lid of

                   an ice cream tub. Brushes     - one large hardware brush for ground application (PVA)

                 - round pointed brushes in various sizes (selection of 4 different sizes  between 1-10 will suffice as                    a minimum) 
                  (Please refrain from bringing any flat or sharp edge paint brushes as it inhibits variety    

                   in mark making)

Old rags/absorbent cloth 
two small glass (e.g. Consol) containers
sanding paper, 120 grit (rough) 300 grit (smoother) 
Graphite pencils and/or charcoal (willow)
Paper    - few sheets newsprint
            - 4 x A3 sheets (200 gsm) thick cartridge paper (any smooth thick paper)
Paint,  preferably oil paint as it is much more versatile. However, oil paint does take longer to dry so to speed up the process acrylic paints can be used as base/establishing colours on board before moving onto oil paint. 
Basic colours: Titanium white, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, cobalt blue, viridian, magenta, burnt umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre.

More options to add: Cerulean Blue, Sap Green or Olive green,  Lemon Yellow, Alizarin Crimson.
Masonite boards pre-cut to  small manageable sizes (minimum of 3 boards). Roughly the size of 20 x 25 cm. Anything larger is welcome but be aware that due to the time constants of this workshop a larger painting might be a hinderance to complete the process. 


About the facilitator:

Heléne van Aswegen was born in 1986 in Tzaneen, Limpopo province. She obtained her Master's degree in Illustration from Stellenbosch University in 2012 after completing her BA in Visual Arts at the same institution in 2008. As part of her Post-graduate studies she combined traditional skills such as painting and drawing with Book Arts. During this time she was the apprentice of the late master bookbinder Mr. Arthur Wadman. 
Heléne currently manages of the bookbinding- and archival digital printing studio in the Visual Arts Department of Stellenbosch University. From this studio she collaborates with professional artists and publishers to conceptualise, print and bind specialised limited editioned bookworks. She also teaches courses at various tertiary institutions, combining Book Arts with various art-making processes such as drawing, painting, printmaking, digital printing and photography. 


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