Colour Mixing – Learning To Paint

In general, most professional artists create colour mixing charts for their paintings.  It enables artists to be thoroughly familiar with their colours and helps them to learn which colours mix well and which colours perhaps don’t. It can also be helpful when mixing colours while working on paintings either in the studio or Plein Air.

Our students who study our Learning to Paint Course, have the opportunity to experiment with their colours and show their colour pallets along with their paintings to their tutor. This not only helps students to understand the colours they are using, however it also helps our tutors understand how students managed to create the particular range of colours they are using.

Students might be interested in reading how Bridget O’Connor creates her colour charts. She has made many – they are a must see! There is even a template which you can download and print to use for your own colour charts. Bridget explains very clearly how important colour charts are and we have added a snippet of the page below. You can access the full page here  – Artists Network – Colour Charts

Imagine that you’re painting the stem of a flower and that, just under the flower, the colour shifts. If you’ve got a colour chart to consult, you’ll have a good idea how to match that change in colour. If you’re painting a landscape, you don’t want the grass to be one, unvaried green because the effect would be flat and uninteresting. You want to create variety in your greens, and consulting your colour chart will inform you of choices you may not have thought of on your own: for instance, violet mixed with Hooker’s green or indigo mixed with raw sienna.

Our students have created a number of colour charts and we have added just a few of them below. If you have a colour chart you would like to share, you are more than welcome to email it to us at any time!

Barbara Knight – Learn To Draw Short Course

Barbara Knight has created three fantastic drawings while studying our Learn to Draw short course. We love her still life drawing in particular. Do you struggle with your drawing abilities? Why not head over to our website and take a look at our beginners drawing, learn to draw short course. It could give you the boost you you are looking for….Beginners Drawing Course >>


Edward Javier – Still Life in Oils

My name is Edward Javier and I am studying the Oil Painting Course with tutor Alan Dedman. Here is a step by step of my latest painting. I have picked still life for this exercise. Below is my setup….

A4 size Acrylic paper
White Gesso
Raw Sienna & Middle Grey Acrylic for priming
Acrylic brush for priming
Oil paints (Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Red, Burnt Umber, Titanium White)
Paper towel
Oil Painting brushes
Turpentine & Refined Linseed oil

Using burnt umber & lemon yellow mixed with turpentine, I marked where the subjects will be placed in the painting. Then I proceed to fill in the initial tones using cadmium red and lemon yellow. I kept this layer thin by adding few drops of turpentine into the paint.

After completing the initial tone of my subject, I started painting the background noting that the right side of the background is slightly darker than the right and the base is the brightest.

After the Initial tone dries, I started adding more red and orange to give the subject deeper colours. Then I proceeded to add the crease on the background. I try to keep the edges smooth to give it a soft feel.

Once dried, I added the stalks of the apples. I also added more white into the reflections of the fruits. I mixed red, yellow, a bit of titanium white and a bit of linseed oil for the detail of the apples. I used burnt umber, yellow and titanium white for the texture of the murcott. Below is the final outcome :

Magda Grabek – Row, Row, Row…

A wonderful illustration to start the week by Children’s Illustrator student Magda Grabek. Magda introduced herself to Maggy below….

My name is Magda and I’m 31 years old. 3 years ago I graduated as an art teacher, however I’ve never worked in my profession. By taking this course I hope to develop my artistic skills as well as increase my confidence.

We are looking forward to hearing more from Magda over the coming weeks and months and seeing ore of her illustrations.

Anne Boland – Watching You!

I’m sure there are going to be many ‘Wows’ when our readers and students view this post. This painting is by Anne Boland and we think it should be called ‘Watching You’. The model is intently looking at us and it really captures our attention. Anne has painted the entire piece beautifully, the colours are stunning and the painting is very striking. Anne is studying how to paint portraits on the Portrait Painting Course and if you would like to ahve a go at painting a portrait like this, we can definitely help you achieve your goals.


Elizabeth Alexander – Sink City

Elizabeth Alexander is currently taking our Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma and this is her Sink City artwork. Elizabeth explains to maggy how she created the illustration and her though process behind it.We think its a fantastic idea and illustration – Congratulations Elizabeth.

For the final piece of Sebastian’s sink city I used black pen for outline and for some texture and detail and used gouache paint to colour the image in and did it on NOT watercolour paper. I have drawn straight lines in pencil near the top of the page of where the text area would go on each page. On the left side I wrote Sebastian’s sink city in pencil with lines underneath to show it is a text area and on the right I drew straight pencil lines of another place text can go.

The text would be black. I used gouache because I liked the brightness and vibrancy of the paint. The final size includes the 5mm bleed. I tried adding a cartoon edge with the characters by using body shapes, such as the cottage and potato and had a go at exaggerating features and using simple shapes. The world under the kitchen sink have magic liquid bubbles as transport that the creatures can fly in and has an entrance tower and an exit tower. The bubble transport system lets them take city tour by air and there are also bubble boats so they can sail in the lake by the city park. The pipe is the bubble transport machine.

Elizabeth Alexander
Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma


Aisha Mussawa – Collection of Coursework

Aisha Mussawa is a student currently studying both our Drawing and Painting Diploma and Cartooning Diploma. Here is a collection of Aisha’s artwork and some text about them.

My name is Aisha Mussawa and I am from Saudi Arabia. I have took 2 Diploma,  Drawing and painting and Cartoons. Thanks to my tutor Paul Weaver and John Byrne for the encouraging words.
My inspirations –  It comes from the works of Impressionist school I love their work and Van Gogh brushwork so amazing. And I hope to find who supports my art ..  Below is my lastest work – oil painting ‘The Hope is Blooming’

Aisha Mussawa

Yolanda Twivey – Coloured Pencil Conkers

Yolanda Twivey studied our Coloured Pencil Course and completed a few years ago. We are revisiting her amazing coloured pencil drawing of conkers as it still remains to this day one of our favourite coloured pencil studies. Her use of limited pallet, subtly shaded background and the use of light and shade makes for a wonderful drawing. We hope that you are all as impressed as we are!