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Exploring the visible

In the second of three articles, Peter Burgess reveals the choices he makes about the materials of painting – paints, pigments, tools – with practical advice on safety, use and storing your materials
Still Life with Green Marble, oil on panel, 111⁄4x14in (28.5x35.5cm).

I wanted a pyramidal composition with different degrees of reflectivity in the objects. The eggs were rendered in Mars yellow, light red and blue black; the red cup with Winsor red deep, cadmium red deep and Mars violet deep. The division in the background between the areas of green umber and Payne’s grey lies on a Golden Section


Ipaint mainly with oils, with occasional excursions into watercolour, and always use artistquality paints. Oil paint is such succulent stuff, and the buttery texture makes it a pleasure to manipulate. This workability of oils is highly desirable;

using a palette knife, you can create a series of mixtures that stay usable for hours. These mixtures can be used in different ways ranging from a dense vibrant impasto to the most delicate, thin glaze. Whilst there can be an aesthetic danger in overworking paint, oils are able to be transformed into subtle blends, where one hue or tone gradually merges into another.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our November issue in which our highly talented, experienced artist-tutors challenge you to re-think your approach to complementary colours in watercolour, draw a sight-size self-portrait, capture an autumnal scene in watercolour, dramatise your skies, try graphite techniques, use negative spaces to your advantage, paint a light-filled interior in impressionistic style and master perspective for successful coastal scenes. And that's just for starters! Artist-judge in BBC1's The Big Painting Challenge, Lachlan Goudie, shares his experiences of painting Scotland's shipyards ahead of his forthcoming exhibition, Nick Poullis offers tips on setting up your own gallery, Julie Collins advises on colour choices for yellow, Michele Del Campo test reports Winsor & Newton's Artists' Oil Colours, including his top tips for oils painters, and Peter Burgess takes a practical look at materials for painting and how best to store them. Enjoy another inspirational issue packed with ideas and advice for all artists!