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Vicki Norman Demo of Colour-mixing and landscape in Oils

Thanks, Penny Lamb, for this photo and write-up.


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Vicki Norman is an oil painter from Shropshire and an ambassador for Michael Harding paints. She came to give OVAS members and visitors a demo on her method for plein air and studio  seascape painting.


Vicki’s tips for plein air painting included keeping in mind the light when you start, helped by the sketches to decide on the values. "Remember to put your darks in first and put your lightest light next to your darkest darks."  

With regards to colours , Vicki believes that it is a good idea to mix your colours first - light, medium and darks - and then keep them grouped on your palette. She tends to use mostly neat paint, sometimes mixing in a little linseed oil for the lightest colours.

Her demonstration on Friday was based on her Notan thumbnail  sketches, (using Pental  pens with sepia ink and water) , her photos and a quick painting of the red Sidmouth cliffs , the reflections on the wet beach and the sea.


Her palette of colours for uk landscapes or seascapes, which tend to be in the middle greys range, includes colours such as cadmium lemon yellow, ochre, cadmium red light, cobalt violet, cobalt blue/ ultramarine, a green blue such as cobalt teal, or cerulean blue, transparent oxide red and yellow, and titanium white.


Using a colour similar to the background colour on your canvas,  Vicki uses a brush to draw / map out the main subjects. She then blocks in the main colours, varying brushstrokes, and remembering to think about edges, both soft and hard.

She used a bristle brush in the first stages then a softer brush to smooth paint.

These principles were applied to the Cornish seascape workshop on the Saturday which members attended. Some people used Vicki’s photo reference to their own, and some people used oils and some acrylics to produce their paintings of sea, rocks and sky. We all learned different new things to take away with us for our own future work from Vicki’s tuition.

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A gallery of work at the Saturday workshop


Otter Vale Art Society

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