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Reference photographs for Artists and taking care over copyright.

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A few days ago a user in a Facebook group I follow asked other members if they had reference photographs that she could use in her artworks. Many members kindly uploaded their own photos for her to use, therefore giving their permission to reproduce them. However, one member surprisingly advised her to "just look through Google images", which I would strongly recommend you not to do.


Whenever a photographer, either amateur or professional takes a photograph, the copyright is theirs. The copyright remains theirs, unless they specifically and clearly state otherwise. Whether or not the photographer uploads their photo to a public site such as Instagram or Facebook etc. is irrelevant, the copyright belongs to them. Incidentally, this is the same for your artworks, the Artist automatically maintains copyright even if a painting is sold, unless otherwise stated.


You may think that it is "not such a big deal", if you are "only using them to practice" (quotes I …

New Year's resolutions, more Art and less social media!

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The first time I've ever made New Year's resolutions, so good so far!I don't know if it's an age thing? However, this year is the first year I have felt I should make some New Year's resolutions and stick to them. Perhaps this is because I know what I would really like to achieve from them, rather than just plucking at resolutions because it's January and thinking you ought to.
So what do I want to achieve? There are two things, firstly to be consistent in producing more Artwork and secondly to be healthier and a few pounds lighter. My hope is that improving my fitness levels will also help my work output.
With this in mind I have made the following resolutions :-
1. Paint more. 2. Less Social Media time. 3. Increase exercise. 4. Loose weight.
I always feel I need more hours in a day to create the volume of paintings that I aspire to. However, how many of those hours are taken up by scrolling through Social Media? The answer I know is way too many. Lots of people are…

Why I favour Ink & Wash

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Those of you who follow my YouTube channel will be aware that I enjoy using all media. It's great fun trying out new products and seeing how different products work together. When I first learnt to paint, like many people it was with watercolour. Maybe this is why after flirting with different media, I always come back to my battered old tin of watercolours.


I will always continue to try out new things, especially as there are new art products regularly released to discover. In fact I was saddened to learn that Derwent no longer make Artbar, as I have just got into using them and am loving how you can layer them. I also love using Colourcraft Brusho for it's unpredictability and bright colours.

When displaying my work at Art fairs and exhibitions, a few times now I have received complimentary comments about my mark making. Many beginners in art lack confidence in their drawing skills, much preferring the process of painting. I believe that when your drawing confidence grows with…

Alternative paint mixes to using black.

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In my next YouTube video out on Thursday, I talk through why I don't use black paint and the alternatives I mix. I thought it would be useful for you if I wrote those mixes down here.

Cally's recommended Art Products
I find that black paint on its own can appear very flat and boring. My first tip if you have black you want to use, would be to add a touch of blue to it.

My favourite alternative mixes are French Ultramarine with Burnt Sienna or French Ultramarine with Burnt Umber.

You can also use Paynes Grey in many cases where you need a dark colour.

Dark Greys can be made from all three primary colours, using different combinations of your available reds, blues and yellows. The colours with this are infinite, if you mix one you really like, don't forget to write it down.

Finally, a tip for beginners in painting. Don't be too tentative to use very dark mixes. You need to go dark in places to make your highlights "pop".



Quick beginners guide to the Elements & Principles of Design

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As a beginner you may not be familiar with the term "Elements and Principles" of design. This simply refers to some important points to consider in all your artworks. The "Elements" are more tangible and obvious, whereas the "Principles" are a little more open to interpretation and personal preferences. They are not set in stone, more of a guide to make you think about how successful your finished piece of artwork will be.

I have made a video talking through the Elements and Principles. however it is also useful to have things in writing.

Here is the list I refer to in the video :-


Elements & Principles of Design
Elements of design :-
Colour
Space
Form (shape)
Texture


Principles of design :-
Harmony
Scale
Balance
Contrast
Dominance
Proportion
Rhythm

Most of the list are self explanatory and although it is important to learn them, over time they become automatic rather than something you are consciously thinking of each time you paint.
It is particularly …

Review and first go with Derwent Artbars

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A couple of weeks ago I was tempted to buy a set of Derwent Artbars. The shop display had a fantastic selection of colours and I was also attracted by the description that recommended them for "mark making and texture".

I bought the set of 24 and used them for the first time whilst filming for YouTube (linked below). I tried the various techniques of layering, blending, scraping back, drawing and using with water. You will see in the video that I had difficulty blending the colours on the paper initially. I realised that this was because they needed warming up and the more you blended with your finger the easier it became. As someone who always has cold hands, I thought that this was a very labour intensive way of painting!

Later I decided to have a go at a more finished piece of artwork and created the figure painting below. This had many layers and lots of blending. Instead of relying on my cold hands to warm the colours on the paper, I used the hairdryer to soften them a …

How to paint loosely - Beginners painting tips

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I have lost count of the number of times people have said to me, "I wish I could paint more freely". I remember as a beginner (and still now) looking at very loose and expressive artworks and wishing I had the confidence to paint in what seemed to be such an effortless way. I have found that as with all things, the best way to achieve this is to practice, practice and practice.

Having said that, I thought it would be useful to put together a few tips to get you working more loosely. I have also created a video to go alongside this blog.


Tips for painting more freely:-
1. Sketch every day, keep sketches quick and avoid using an eraser. Sketching in ink is perfect for freeing up your drawing. Don't forget, your sketchbook is for you and isn't to be judged. You are learning, give yourself permission to make mistakes!
2. Draw and paint at an easel standing up. This gives you room to move. Draw with your whole arm and move from the shoulder, NOT JUST the wrist.
3. Use a B…