On Thursday 27 August, we had the second of our Zoom meetings and our guest for the evening was well known artist, Erika van Zyl. We saw Erika demonstrating a still life in oils.
She first gave us a run-down on all the materials and equipment she would be using, including the setting up of her still-life in a “shadow box”.
Erika uses large brushes and good quality paints in a limited palette, which gives her painting a certain unity and harmony.
The composition and setting up of the still life is most important, showing what it is you want to say with your painting. Erika begins with a sketch, to which she then adds monochromatic tones for a “value study”, which is used as reference when executing the final work.
She stressed the importance of negative shapes and tonal values, which she considers more important than getting the colours absolutely perfect. It was fascinating to watch the painting grow and quite amazing to see the amount of detail she manages to achieve with her great big brushes.
Erika was able to complete her painting in a relatively short space of time, as she is used to painting en plein air, which necessitates working quickly, so that by the end of the evening we were able to see the finished piece.
She very kindly offered us free access to the video on her school website – Colour your canvas with Erika van Zyl – for a couple of days.
The meeting was well attended – thanks to Adrian Larkin and everyone else involved, for setting it up for us and making it all possible.