Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Landscape Painting Tips For Watercolor Artists Part 1

Landscape painting is just one of the many workshop and course subjects available at Duchy Square Centre for Creativity.

One of the biggest challenges beginners face with any type of art, is the ability to really connect with the creativity that is inside of them.

It's difficult in the beginning to just let go and paint from your heart and soul. Your mind is being filled with techniques and systems for approaching painting, which in my opinion, tends to drown out your inner creativity.

Learning techniques is essential, but there should be a point where you begin to draw from your own creative imagination.

When painting a subject, whether it is a person or a landscape, it is important to first observe your subject. You have to get close and personal to what you are painting.

If you want to learn how to paint great landscapes, then you should spend time near the area that inspires you to paint in the first place. Only then can you really understand how to transfer what it is you see to canvas.

Take a ride out to the area you wish to paint. Bring along some pencils and paper. The best way to become really intimate with the scene is to just spend time there doing some sketches. This will really force you to observe what you see and burn the image and the environment into your

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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Enjoy Arts And Crafts

If you are looking for a way to enjoy a little relaxation or perhaps to spend a couple of hours with friends, think about making arts and crafts a part of your life, here at Duchy Square Centre for Creativity, in the heart of beautiful Dartmoor.

It is true that arts and crafts is a broad, non-specific thing. But that is the beauty of it. Basically, taking time to explore new arts and crafts means you get to be creative and have fun in any way you want to.

One of the best ways to learn new arts and crafts is to sign up for a class. There are many arts and crafts courses and workshops covering a whole variety of topics on offer at Duchy Square.

Are you interested in learning how to paint, knit or weave? Or maybe you would rather learn to make your own jewellery. Regardless of what kind of arts and crafts you want to explore there should be a class that fits the bill. If you have no idea what you want to do, perhaps it would be good for you to start exploring the world of arts and crafts by looking first at the classes that are offered and then simply choosing one.

Spending time doing arts and crafts of any kind is a great way to relax. We all know how busy work and home become. It is so easy to get swept into the routine of all that needs to get done that we forget to take time out for ourselves to enjoy something new and fun. Arts and crafts are a great way to sneak away for a while, and make something you will want to treasure at the same time.

Doing arts and crafts together with friends and family is a great way to spend quality time while doing something everyone enjoys.

Is there an important holiday or a special event coming up that you need to remember with a gift? If so, use arts and crafts to make the perfect present. Think about the person you are making the gift for and then use your free time to relax and enjoy arts and crafts. There is never a better gift than one that was made with love.

Click here to find out what classes and workshops are coming up at Duchy Square Centre for Creativity.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Art Instruction - Portrait Painting

Tips & Techniques from Duchy Square Centre for Creativity.

Being able to capture the likeness of a human being on canvas, using paint, is certainly a sought after accomplishment for many new painters. It can also be somewhat challenging. This article will cover some of the more basic portrait painting tips & techniques and help lessen some of the confusion many beginners face. With practice, you will soon be painting portraits like the masters.

If at all possible, I highly recommend you paint your portraits using a live model as opposed to a photograph. There is simply no substitution for painting from life.

Painting a successful portrait is all about how you observe the subject. You want to study the subject as a whole. Study the bone structure and try to see shapes and planes. Do not try and paint every little detail exactly as you see it.

For beginners, it is probably best to start out with a lighting effect where light and shadow are in high contrast. This will make for a much easier painting.

Focus on one section at a time. Finish each section before moving on to the next.

Keep the darks of your portrait at a thin consistency while your lights should be painted on thickly.

Many beginners struggle with mixing flesh tones, I know I did when I first started painting. Remember that skin comes in a variety of colors & textures, so there is no specific formula for mixing flesh tones in portrait painting. You will have to experiment and practice, until you find the right color mixtures for any particular subject. Never purchase any pre-mixed flesh colours. When mixing your colours be careful not to over mix, which can deaden a colour.

Try and repeat the colours and values in your painting to create balance.

When painting hair, don't try and paint every individual strand of hair. Look at the hair as one object and then paint the lights and darks. Paint the hair in the direction of the shape of the head.

The muzzle area of the face (the space between the nose and mouth) is generally the same colour as the flesh but cooler.

When painting backgrounds, don't make them too detailed or busy. If you do, you will draw focus away from your portrait.

Add bits of colour where the shadow meets the light in your portraits.

Fleshier parts of the face are generally warm and bonier parts of the face, like the chin for instance, are generally cool in colour.

The white in the eye is not white. To get an accurate colour for the white in the eye you can take the subjects basic flesh colour and then lighten it with a gray made from black and white.

I hope these portrait painting tips & techniques have helped. Portrait painting can be difficult, possibly even frustrating in the beginning. Never give up and keep practicing. You will get the hang of it.

For details of courses and workshops available at Duchy Square, please visit our website.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

A Brief History of Quilting

The art of quilting is just one of the many arts and crafts on offer at Duchy Square Centre for Creativity.

Quilting is not something new to this world, it has been around for centuries, but still there is no confirmation about the exact origin.

According to the historians, quilting, piecing and applique were widely used for clothing, decorating and furnishing at home in ancient times.

There is a common belief that quilting originated in China and Egypt at the same time. The oldest quilted garment found till now dates back to somewhere around 3400 BC.

Back in the 11th century, the crusaders picked up a type of quilting from the Middle East and brought it back to Europe. During that time, quilted piece of cloth was used by the Knights to give them extra cushion under their armour.

The Romans were the pioneers in introducing quilted bedding, which was used as a mattress. Europeans got hold with this idea and stuffed sacking between two-combined mattress. It was in the 15th century when the Europeans found quilting as a necessity when they were troubled by cold winds in the winter season.

The very first quilts were made of few layers of cloth that was attached together with running stitches. Quilt Frames came into existence as it was difficult to stitch many layers of cloth together. Europeans, blessed with these frames started to create quilts that were more decorative, more finely stitched.

The 19th century marked a great period of quilting in Europe and America. People in villages would come together and make one or more quilts in an afternoon.

For more information on quilts and quilt making, visit - Duchy Square

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Sonny Jim Saves the Night!

Sorry I have not been in touch recently. I have been away and came back to problems.

We had a bit of a fright last night. Sodoff and Buggeroff - the Geese, where late going to their house, which is the island on the pond, and Mr Foxy who was looking for his tea nearly had "catch one get one free"!

But Sonny Jim the Shetland pony was very brave, and galloped to the rescue and saved the night.

Must go as stile work to do. A pigs tidying is never done!


Interested in Arts And Crafts on Dartmoor? Click here to visit our website.

Friday, 16 October 2009


Textile designer Jane Deane has a ready supply of silk to create her work – she raises her own colony of moths in the bath at her Devon home!

Jane from Tavistock uses the tub to house a number of different varieties of moth including the Bombyx Mori, which is recognised as producing the best quality silk - but she also has a variety of wild silkmoths that she uses in her creative work.

All the moths are allowed to complete their short life cycle and it is the discarded cocoons, from where the silkworm caterpillars emerge as moths, that Jane uses to make a variety of textile products.

Jane’s passion for silk moths began when she had the opportunity to attend a 10 day course with leading artist weaver Sue Hiley-Harris.

“Moths are quite extraordinary creatures and I became fascinated with the way they begin life in an egg the size of a pinhead, emerge as a caterpillar and then spin a cocoon in which to metamorphasise into a moth, “ said Jane, a resident artist at Duchy Square Centre for Creativity in Princetown.

“It is such a short life as they immediately mate and lay eggs for the next generation before dying. It is a quite magical process though and even after all these years of keeping silkworms I still find witnessing their life cycle as awe inspiring as when I first saw it.”

By spinning the silk instead of reeling it, Jane can ensure her moths are able to live out their natural lifespan. Reeling the silk would involve using the cocoon before the moth had emerged as it requires the single thread from the cocoon to be unwound intact.

To spin the silk, Jane removes the protective gum the caterpillar excretes to harden it by boiling it in soap flakes with a little washing soda. She then stretches the softened cocoon over a plastic pudding basin and allows it to dry before dyeing it and then spinning a thread.

Alongside her own products, which she creates using natural and synthetic dyes, Janes offers talks on the silk moth processes and workshops in spinning, weaving and dyeing. Although these are her main disciplines, she also does paper-making, batik, embroidery, knitting and braiding.

She was recently invited to join the Society of Dyers and Colourists and is also a member of Frayed Edges Weaving Group, formed in 2004 for the graduates of Bradford College of Art and Design, which exhibits nationally.

Opened in March and supported by a number of organisations, including The Duchy of Cornwall and Devon County Council, the Duchy Square Centre for Creativity offers low cost workshop space on two floors and is helping boost the local economy by connecting local businesses with other key industry sectors.

The artists and creative practitioners take part in workshops organised by the centre, but also stage their own sessions with smaller groups in their own studios. Anyone wishing to find out more about all the workshops on offer should telephone the centre on (01822) 890828 or visit the website where contact details for all the artists can be found.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Autumn at Duchy Square Centre for Creativity

Welcome to the autumn season of exhibitions and courses at Duchy Square.

We have had our Royal visit and think HRH Like what he saw. We certainly enjoyed meeting him and his party.

As life settles down to the season of ‘mist and mellow fruitfulness’ we hope to have something of interest to you.

Our next exhibition in the Main Gallery @ Duchy Square comprises the award winning work of a collection of pewter craft makers. Some are recent graduates of South Devon College and some more established metalworkers, all of them very gifted... Come along and be amazed at the beautifully crafted items on display.

In the Upstairs Gallery @ Duchy Square we are very proud to present the watercolours of local wildlife artist Jennie Hale. Her diaries may be well known to some of you, but few of us have had the pleasure of seeing large original watercolours by Jennie. To accompany this we have a collection of new ceramic pieces also on display.

Our courses are taking off and we have a very varied collection. Everything from wreaths, dyeing and weaving to feltmaking and rag rugging. Come and give it a go!

For more information please visit our website