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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > January 2020 > Noses


Kathy Barker takes you through the basics of painting a nose in the third article in her series on painting portraits

Kathy Barker studied fine art painting at Wimbledon School of Art and portraiture at Charles Cecil Studio, Florence. Kathy tutored for several years at West Dean College and currently teaches at the Roehampton Club, London, and holds a weekly portrait class at her studio in Fulham. She has exhibited with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and exhibits annually with the Society of Women Artists, of which she is an associate member.

If you get nothing more down on the canvas than the shape of the nose and follow through to one of the eyebrows, you will be able to see a likeness to your sitter. You can refer to this as the Van Dyck Z – taking the top line of the Z as the eyebrow, the oblique as the angle of the nose and the bottom line being the end of the nose and base.


Use canvas tinted with a bit of ivory black, some yellow ochre and a little turpentine, either brushed on freely and rubbed back lightly with a rag or applied with a rag if preferred. This allows the white of the canvas to show through, rather than adding white to your colour mix, which will make subsequent applied hues sink and appear chalky.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the first 2020 issue of The Artist. With a new year of drawing and painting to look forward to Paul Talbot-Greaves suggests 12 ways to help improve your watercolour skills throughout the year. Our four-page diary with the details and entry deadlines for all the main open competitions to enter will help you plan your year, while Bob Brandt's advice will help you maximise your chances of success. Watercolourists will enjoy Ian Sidaway's feature on painting the Rockies, Jake Winkle's focus on why good design is essential for an attention-grabbing composition, Julie Collins' colour-mixing ideas for winter trees and Jenny Wheatley's guide to choosing the best watercolour paper for your style of painting. Follow Robert Dutton and Soraya French and used mixed-media techniques to paint landscapes and flowers, plus Robert Brindley demonstrates how to capture light on water in pastel. With demonstrations in gouache, oils - including how to paint noses - charcoal and pastels, there's something for everyone, whatever your preferred medium. Why not make 2020 the year to try a new one with inspiration and guidance from The Artist?! Enjoy!