Celia Bennett provided an interesting demonstration using a range of multi-media techniques. She explained that her approach is based on being fun and free, not worrying too much about exact details, perspective and other technical aspects. If things go off the edge of the paper that is fine and can add extra interest and life to the painting. She uses acrylic paint and also incorporates collage and lettering into her work. The subject for her demonstration was the Moulin Rouge in Paris based on an old postcard.

Celia used the non shiny side of ordinary brown wrapping paper to paint on. This had been attached with masking tape to an MDF backing board to provide the support. She uses fairly large flat brushes (2” to ½ “) which can be bought from the likes of Hobbycraft and the Range. There is no preliminary drawing, just straight on with the paint. She applies the acrylic paint like oils with very little water and tries to be free and expressive.

She started by painting the Moulin Rouge windmill in alizarin crimson and then the sky with Paynes grey. The adjacent buildings were then added by using PVA glue to stick on sections of ripped up newspaper. Celia described how she now collects cuttings from newspapers and magazines and keeps then in separate bags organised by colour. Another tip was to always use the excess paint at end of a painting session and apply it to any paper to hand. These can then be torn up into colours pieces for use in collage.

She continued to develop the painting using a variety of bright colours to capture the illuminated shop fronts and the reflections of the wet pavements. The various signs were put in using coloured fabric pens which enable you to write in paint. It is important the lettering is not to precise as the rest of the painting is fairly loose and it would look out of place.

The foreground in the original postcard was full of people. Celia described how she used a few simple shapes and squiggles to represent the different people, depending on the eye to make these recognisable as people. Another technique she demonstrated was to use MDF letters to print onto the painting. In this case she printed PARIS on one corner of the painting.

To end the demonstration Celia encouraged the audience to remember that painting should be fun. She noted that we can all lack confidence in our ability to paint but just have a go and try and express yourself!

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