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Extreme realism

I have often been asked why I choose to paint in a highly realistic style at a time when photorealism seems to be out of favour with most of the artistic establishment. Each painting can take years to finish; you often have to fight against stress, depression and anxiety. You wonder if it is worthwhile finishing it; you go through self-doubt, your finances and personal relationships are under constant strain and finally you have to open yourself to scrutiny by exhibiting it.

The reason I put myself through these creative marathons is that I always aspire to create work that is unique and will, hopefully, amaze. The whole point of these paintings is to create disbelief and awe. They are an illustration of reality created in paint and once the viewer realises they are looking at a painting they instinctively start to admire the detail up close.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of The Artist - February 18
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About The Artist

Welcome to our February issue with our extra 16-page guide to art courses and holidays for 2018, including Kevin Scully's article on what to take into consideration and what to pack to make the most of the opportunities offered by a structured course away from home. Our artists also offer plenty of ideas and inspiration for painting a variety of subjects in a broad range of media, including pastel pencil animals, a horse in watercolour, trees and an orchard in pastels, mixed-media collages inspired by old buildings, a photorealist self-portrait in oils and more. In addition, Hazel Soan starts her new three-part series on light and shade in watercolour by explaining how to train your eye to see and interpret tone, Judi Whitton demonstrates how to mix and exploit a wide range of lively greys in your watercolour paintings, while Paul Gadenne shows why and how acrylics can be the key to achieving greater spontaneity in your work. Be inspired and enjoy trying some new ideas under the guidance of our fantastic team of contributing artists!

Single Digital Issue February 18
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Other Articles in this Issue

The Artist
Email me at, or visit our
Email or write to The Editor
This is one of the most interesting books about pastel
Check out the latest competitions to enter and make a note of important deadlines
David Brammeld, winner of The Artist Award in the Pastel Society 2017 annual exhibition, tells Susie Hodge about his techniques for painting trees in pastel
Daisy Sims Hilditch, whose paintings are rich, soft and full of character, talks to Susie Hodge about her preference for a traditional approach to portraiture, inspired by Velázquez and John Singer Sargent
Seeking gallery representation is a difficult part of the artist’s job. Gallerist Mark David Hatwood offers his advice on how make a successful approach to a gallery
Julian Halsby reviews this must-see exhibition at Tate Modern
There’s a current fashion in education and child-rearing
Art course and holiday providers in the UK and abroad
In the first of a new series, Hazel Soan explains why tone is so important and how you can train your eye to see and interpret the correct tones to represent three-dimensional objects in your paintings
Peter Monaghan seeks inspiration from places ‘with a story to tell’. He reveals the thinking and processes behind his mixed-media paintings incorporating collage
Judi Whitton shows you how to mix just the right grey for your watercolours, and shares her handy ‘useful mix’ for a variety of objects
Wildlife artist Martin Aveling is hooked on pastel pencils. He shares his thoughts on the versatility of this medium and the techniques he uses in his work
Ruth Buchanan concludes her two-part series on drawing and painting the horse with a watercolour demonstration, with useful tips on colours and techniques, and painting hooves and eyes
Sarah Manolescue loves the challenges and the immediacy of painting vibrant, busy scenes. Here she describes a typical plein-air oil painting, with her top tips for success
Hands can be so expressive in poses, and convey much emotion in a painting or sculpture, says Adele Wagstaff, who continues her series with a study of the anatomy of arms and hands
Patrick Cullen shares his tips for using pastels along with compositional advice as he demonstrates a pastel painting of an orchard in full blossom
Paul Gadenne takes an in-depth look at acrylics and how you can make the most of their properties to achieve spontaneity in your work
Phil Tyler demonstrates how to make a print from a piece of your artwork, without using any specialist equipment
At some stage you will have thought about booking yourself onto a painting course or holiday. Kevin Scully has some tips and advice that will help you to decide what to pack and what you should take into consideration before you book