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Melanie Cambridge

16th March 2024

Melanie's demonstration was fascinating.  She explained her approach was to paint "fast and loose".  It broke all the assumptions of oil paints being a slower art medium than others.  The creation of two stunning pictures - a landscape and seascape - in less than two hours was inspiring.

Melanie began by showing some of the tools and materials she uses.  The canvas boards were pre-painted with tinted gesso to give a background colour.  Using a standard palette to mix and harmonise her colours, distance, proportion and texture were created with the help of cold wax medium or Lucas painting butter to thicken some of the paint.  

Using a photo as a guide, she quickly sketched in the outline of her composition with light paint and then blocked in the main areas of the landscape/seascape, before adding details and light to give drama and a sense of scale. It was interesting that she used very little blue in the seascape.


Melanie gave many useful tips and hints while she was painting.

Here a just a few:

  • To make a strong light for skies or reflections, add a little lemon yellow to white.

  • Landscape perspective can be achieved by adding people, dogs and signposts in the middle distance.

  • Clean the palette between colour mixes with a palette knife and wet wipes to prevent colours becoming muddy.

  • When painting distant trees, think "no twigs at three miles".

  • Work from darks to lights - it is easier to lighten than darken.


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