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Chi Zhang Chinese Brush Painting. Chi is a renowned artist based in Edinburgh at the Confucious Institute for Scotland. Initially Chi talked through the brushes, made from animal hair, and demonstrated their use, by showing various strokes. This was done on rice paper. Chi stressed the importance of having several practice strokes before transferring to the finished piece. It was surprising to learn that shadows and perspective do not feature in Chinese painting and some things are left to the imagination of the viewer. While demonstrating by painting various flowers, leaves and bamboo Chi explained that Chinese artists mainly used monochrome, black ink diluted to produce a range of shades between black and white, lighter and darker hues. The simplicity of the pieces produced by Chi were an inspiration, leaving several members keen to try out these techniques.

Below a short video of Chi's demo and you can find more information on Chi's website.

Wayne Galloway one of our pottery tutors, demonstrated to members the different techniques that he uses to create his work. He showed how he creates a crackle effect by applying sodium silicate, and how he makes his pots smooth by using terra sigillata. Wayne also showed us photos of the different firing techniques he applies to create his work, such as smoke and pit firing, obvara, and how he uses horsehair and feathers to decorate his pots. It was very interesting and members left feeling inspired by all these new techniques. We might even try one or two of them during our Raku firing weekend this year. You can find out more about Wayne's work on his website

Dorothy Black, an artist fascinated by her rural surroundings, demonstrated her recent work which is inspired by her interest in plant forms, especially weeds/ wid flowers. She used vegetable oil to paint the shapes of poppies then drew the poppies over the oil with charcoal, which seemed to 'melt' into the oil. This was followed by working detail into the outline of each flower, using more charcoal and white / grey pastels to emphasise the lights and darks, then acrylic paint to provide the red, and also sprayed liquid copper acrylic to add some shimmer. Dorothy, throughout the painting process, explained every step of the way so clearly - inspiring everyone present to go home and paint !

Alan Stephens visited Kirkcaldy Art Club to demonstrate how he develops  an oil painting. Alan chose to paint a view from the sand dunes on the west sands looking over towards St Andrews.  He began by talking through his choice of colours in a limited palette, to mix for the colours required. Alan blocked areas of colour over the canvas and then progressed to work through the painting, the sky and clouds, the outline of St Andrews in the distance, the sea and shore. All along Alan talked through his use of colour, the brushes he used and how he used them. His preferred main technique is to use thin layers of paint with brushes, creating a smooth surface. Throughout this demo Alan was very informative about his progression as an artist, being completely self taught after leaving school but learning so much  from being in many different art clubs over the years around the country. He would see something new and would keep working at it until he had developed that skill. Members of Kirkcaldy Art club attending really appreciated his input, tips and suggestions and' how to paint a tree using only the side of a brush'!

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