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INSPIRED BY… Rauschenberg

This month Glyn Macey urges you to feel the inspiration of Robert Rauschenberg as you paint an abstract harbour scene in acrylics

You begin with the possibilities of the material’ said Robert Rauschenberg. Isn’t that just the best art quotation ever? Such simple advice, and advice that I really took to heart during my art student days.

I was born and brought up in Newlyn, a fishing village in the far south west of Cornwall. My tiny home on the quayside overlooked the harbour, with its family of brightly coloured fishing boats and all of the noise, decay and discarded tat that went with it. Every street corner in Newlyn revealed a new vista, ever changing, like a kaleidoscope of colour and shapes. The texture of the fishing nets, the newly painted steel trawlers and the decaying, decommissioned wooden boats all jostled for my attention. The rust, rope and granite quays presented detailed, abstracted images. And then there was the smell of seawater, diesel and fish. The visual and sensual information presenting itself to me was overwhelming. I tried to paint the jumbles of rope and pots with accuracy, which was all good practice but never exciting.

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About The Artist

Follow cover artist Henrietta Graham's example and set yourself a challenging project to create a series of paintings on a particular subject matter, or why not try something different from your usual practice to keep your creativity flowing? Our professional artist/tutors offer plenty of ideas this month, from how to paint loose watercolour landscapes by Lea Nixon, unusual compositions from a high viewpoint by Jo Quigley, and how to use pattern to dramatic effect in your still lifes by Penny German. Hazel Soan demonstrates how to paint a lively self-portrait in watercolour, Glyn Macey shows what you can discover by studying Rauschenberg's work and techniques plus we include articles on understanding the structure of the head and how to measure and see more objectively to help improve your figure work. Oil painters will love Martin Kinnear's new series on oil techniques, starting with the importance of value and chiaroscuro, while Charles Williams takes a thought-provoking look at the age-old issue of 'when is a painting finished?' With more besides, you won't be short of inspiration and helpful advice in this month's issue!