We had Museum Day in Darling on Saturday, and I spent the morning demonstrating oil painting. I only had two days' warning so had little time to prepare. In my studio was a large seascape where the clouds and foreground had a rough underpainting in acrylics. It was done on a day when I wanted to put down a cold sky before I forgot what it looked like.
Behind my counter in the museum I followed the acrylic cloud shapes with oil paint, softening the edges. I showed how clouds were shaded with darker and lighter shades and how some sky colour had to be blended into the edges. I then painted the waves and used a type of very light calligraphy stroke to add lots of white foam edges to them. The rocks were then painted using only raw umber, ultramarine blue and white.
During the many years that I taught art, I have always tried to have some moments of tension to make my demo interesting. So, dipping my brush into the dirty brown colour of the rocks, I approached the wet completed sky. It took a few moments to squizzle in the seagulls and highlight them with white, but I could sense how people held their breaths as it was so easy to spoil the surface of my sky at that moment. Long hours on my feet, that I will not repeat soon, but it was wonderful to experience the company and the intelligent questions put to me by very young kids! Do children just get cleverer or what?