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Owen Williams 31st March 2023
Illustrated talk and Acrylics Landscape demo

Owen Williams has a studio at Antiques Village [formerly Fagin's] near Bradninch and a great website which can be viewed HERE 

He has over 15 years experience as an illustrator, storyboard artist and graphic designer, much of it using digital media such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. But he especially enjoys more traditional media such as watercolour, acrylics, gouache, oil paints or simple 4B pencil. He also works as an art therapist, particularly working with troubled youngsters

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Owen moved on from the restrained colours of his early work when he became enthused by the boldness and stronger colours of such as van Gogh, Gauguin, Schiele and Kandinsky as well as the perspective work of Norman Cornish, the rule-questioning of Duchamp, and the stylised poster work of Abram Games.

Duncan Grant and John Singer Sargent are other influences

As well as the rich colour Owen employs in such works as his Warm Light On A Cold Morning (Raddon Top) [above] he is also very much influenced by the Stephen Quiller colour method. This focuses on consideration of the colour wheel [below] with its triad of primary colours [RYB] and the triad of complementaries [orange, green, purple] and the 6 intervening colours.  The economical use of a limited palette from that wheel gives that feeling of the ‘first impression’ where the juxtaposition of colour and form catch the eye and the imagination. 

For example the field of sheep [Right] was painted using just white, yellow and blue [Winsor/phthalo blue and Cadmium lemon?] knocked back with a little red.

Owen's preferred triad of primaries are Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium lemon and Windsor blue. And colours he has been using quite a lot are Cadmium orange, magenta and cob turquoise - with white if using oils or acrylics… 

Owen demonstrated how mixing ultramarine/yellow gives a mucky colour whereas Winsor Blue with Cadmium Lemon [Augmented with touches of white or red] gives a wide range of natural-looking greens. Worth knowing.

He avoids black and Payne's Grey, preferring to create his dark tones from triads from the wheel.

A particularly good colour combo is often to take a primary and its two immediate neighbours plus its complementary colour.

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For anybody wanting to edge (rather than hurtle!) towards abstraction, Owen has a worthwhile way of proceeding. He makes numerous 'plein air' sketches (perhaps with a 4B pencil, or with watercolour or gouache, say) -often working on simple brown paper so that he is already starting with a mid-tone from which to add highlights and darker tones - and then once in the studio he creates small simplified paintings on primed board. By the time a canvas is brought out, the idea of the painting has already lost much of its fussiness and unwanted detail in favour of a structure that may well emphasise the Golden Section spiral or the 'rule of thirds'.

Huge apologies to you reading this, and to Owen too, for the atrocious quality of the photos in the slideshow [right]. My camera and the projector screen are clearly mortal enemies and refuse to work together! Please try to ignore the lack of focus and follow the process whereby Owen began with a red layer of paint against which to place the many shades of predominantly green.

Owen created a feel of the perspective by progressively dulling the foreground greens with red and making the tones mistier as they recede.

The 'black' was created by mixing alizarin crimson and winsor blue, plus yellow [cadmium lemon?]. Owen didn't draw on his canvas but dived straight in with zigzag meandering diagonal hedgings, adding a little white to this 'tree' mixture as he worked up the canvas, adding grey-violet towards the horizon, and a touch of green to the nearer trees.  What the background loses in precise shape it gains in atmosphere.  

The green fields came next, starting with clear yellow-greens and adding a little brown at a time, the fields becoming lighter and greyer further away.

Owen in action

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Owen's palette

Owen's art materials

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Otter Vale Art Society

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