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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > July 19 > Rule of thumb

Rule of thumb

This month Ruth Buchanan reveals her methods for developing successful compositions from original reference material
Sole Stage, charcoal and chalk, 19X173⁄4in (48X45cm)

Ruth Buchanan taught graphic design and illustration before becoming a full-time artist. She exhibits nationally and internationally, and her work features in private and corporate collections in the UK, Europe, USA and the Middle East. Ruth teaches for Pure Artwork Studios, Oxfordshire, and has led workshops in the UK and in the USA. She is exhibiting with fellow artist and co-mentor Julie Cross in ‘Thump of the Tale’ at The Granary Gallery, Weston Park, Shropshire, throughout October with associated workshops. Her work can also be seen at Bramham International Horse Trials from June 6 to 9, and the Great Yorkshire Show from July 9 to 11.

Whether painting animals or another subject, the principles are the same: shapes; values, colour and edges. My process in developing the painting is to start with compositional thumbnail sketches and a value sketch.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the July issue of The Artist full of practical features by our top team of artist-contributors to inspire your own drawing and painting. Learn how David Taylor captures light effects in watercolour, perfect your brushwork with Hazel Soan, paint a summer rose in five easy stages, and street scenes full of life and colour. Enjoy demonstrations on how to create depth in your landscapes, use pastels to express texture, paint a backlit treescape in acrylics, and how to develop compositions from original reference material. Robert Dutton and Judi Whitton offer advice on how to avoid overworking and make the right choices to ensure successful compositions, while Martin Kinnear explains how to manage colour for visual design purposes. There's also a wealth of information about competitions to enter, exhibitions to see, special offers, art world news, courses and holidays and advice on promoting your own work. Whatever your preferred subject matter or medium, there's something for everyone and plenty of ideas to try in your own work this month.