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Well composed

Reflecting on my life as a painter, I’ve often thought how fortunate I was to have spent so many years designing furniture and interiors after my initial training in design at art school. It certainly has stood me in good stead in my second career as a painter. Why, you may ask? That’s easy. No matter what medium you use, a painting is a design – whether it’s on paper, canvas, board, or any other material.


For me, there has to be some form of structure to the painting. Yet often when teaching students I find so many just sit down and paint without any thought about composition, tone or colour – all three being the basic principles of a painting. Too often, the end result will be disappointing.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of The Artist - September 19
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About The Artist

Welcome to our September issue, packed with inspiration, demonstrations and practical advice for all artists, covering all your favourite media. Our artist-contributors show you how to paint sunlight and shadows in watercolour, capture the effects of sparkling light on water in acrylics, create a balanced composition, while Amanda Hyatt shares her top ten tips for painting rivers and lakes in watercolour. There are also demonstrations on how to paint buildings, capture the texture of fur when painting animals, how to create a simple but dramatic linocut and showing why oils are great for developing still-life compositions in the studio. Seasoned exhibitor Nicholas Poullis offers advice on how to give yourself the best chance of selling your work, Steve Hall urges you to step out of your comfort zone and try a new medium and Haidee-Jo Summers encourages you to take up the #DrawingAugust challenge. Share your sketches with us, too, to win a prize and see your work published in The Artist. There's plenty more too, including the latest news, views, competitions to enter and our test report on the new Winsor & Newton Cadmium-Free watercolours.

Other Articles in this Issue

The Artist
Want to comment on something you’ve read, or seen?
Letters, emails and comments
This intriguing book is an eclectic collection of information
Check out the latest competitions to enter and make a note of important deadlines
Meet this month’s editor’s choice winner from our PaintersOnline gallery, who receives a £50 Jackson’s Art Supplies gift voucher
Susie Hodge talks to Sarah Butterfield, winner of The Artist Award in the 2018 Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition
Nicholas Poullis offers advice, based on his personal experiences, on how to give yourself the best chances of selling your work
Wildlife artist and traveller Mary-Anne Bartlett reveals how she captures wildlife convincingly in watercolour in situ and then works up a painting in the studio
I took my Aunty Megan to see the ‘Animals And Us’ exhibition
Be inspired by Jenny Wheatley as she explains her approach to both on-site and studio oil paintings, and demonstrates how she develops a composition in the studio
Paul Banning stresses that a painting needs structure, balance and proportion, whatever medium you use, and demonstrates his point with a plein-air watercolour of a coastal scene
Join Haidee-Jo Summers as she makes a drawing a day throughout the month of August and share your results on Twitter – you’ll see your work improve
Jake Winkle demonstrates how to capture sunlight and shadows in watercolour to add drama to a scene
Jenny Aitken demonstrates how to suggest the effects of dancing sunlight on water
Are you an oil painter, a watercolour painter or paint only in acrylic? In the first of two articles, Steve Hall urges you to move beyond your comfort zone as he demonstrates the same picture in oil and pastel
Geoff Hunt presents a selection of sketches made in Venice in preparation for a one-man show
Julie Collins reports on Winsor & Newton’s innovative new environmentally friendly cadmium-free watercolours, concluding that they’re a pleasure to paint with
John Scott Martin incorporates collage into his linocut prints to add both colour and texture, as he demonstrates here
Follow Paul Talbot-Greaves as he shows how to paint buildings using watercolour and gouache, without worrying about straight lines and square windows
Water is a perennially fascinating subject – Amanda Hyatt shares her top ten tips for painting rivers and lakes in watercolour, and demonstrates a painting of a river close to her home
Ruth Buchanan worked and taught in graphic design and