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  • Pre-Raphaelites

    Who were the Pre-Raphaelites and what did they do?

    A little bit of art history doesn't hurt anybody!

    What does Pre-Raphaelite mean?

    The term Pre-Raphelite comes from the name of the Renaissance painter Raphael (1483-1520), and refers to the 19th century painters' ideology, as they intended to reject the artistic ideals presented by the time of Raphael until their contemporaries.

    Raphael’s painting, titled ‘The Transfiguration’ served as their example for the rejection of artistic ideals. As Hunt summarised, “its grandiose disregard of the simplicity of truth, the pompous posturing of the apostles and the unspiritual posture of the savior.” Their idea was to paint authentic, natural world – their mission was to advocate genuine expression of purity, morality, piety, relationships, “free from academic affectation”.

    Transfiguration. Raphael. 1516–20

    The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

    The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1829-1896) and John Everett Millais (1829-1896). It was a group of (mostly) painters and poets, including a wider circle of many more important figures of 19th century England, such as James Collinson, William Morris, Algernon Charles Swinburn, Christina Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown, and later Edward Burne-Jones and John William Waterhouse.

    William Holman Hunt
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti
    John Everett Millais

    Key ideas

    Their major starting point was to reject the British Royal Academy’s teaching of typical Victorian subjects and painting methods. They preferred to show naturalism, even if it meant the presentation of ‘ugliness’. They wanted to create a modernised type of art that was free from the strict arbitrary rules of the Academy and the convention of contemporary art. Their main innovations included:

    ‘Ecce Ancilla Domini’ (Behold the handmaid of the Lord), Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1850

    Rejecting the way painting was taught in the Academy. Their compositions didn’t include the rules of (1) grouping figures in a shape of a pyramid, (2) one major light source, (3) emphasis on contrasts and dull colours. Instead their paintings were crowded, evenly lit, bright-coloured.

    The Shadow of Death, by William Holman Hunt

    The representation of their subjects was almost photographic; even if the convention was to put emphasis on the ‘important’ parts and blur the ‘less important’ surroundings.

    Love Among the Ruins. Wightwick Manor. 1894. Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

    Their subjects were often figures from poets like Tennyson, Keats, and Shakespeare.

    Hylas and the Nymphs, by John William Waterhouse


    Sir John Everett Millais, Bt Ophelia 1851–2


    Lizzie Siddal, the "Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel"

    Self portrait 1853-4

    The well-known subject of Millais' Ophelia, and many more Pre-Raphaelite paintings, Lizzie Siddal was more than a popular model. Her association with the brotherhood allowed her to practice art and poetry herself, that wasn't  a possibility for most women around that time.



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  • How to Make Your Own Paint

    Oil Paint Colour

    Now, after the  INTRODUCTION TO OIL PAINTthe next challenge is to try making your own!

    Oil paints are basically the mixture of pigments and oil. Their popularity is caused by their qualities to dry without changing shape and colour, as well as their archival properties, meaning that the oxidised oil binds the pigments, making it possible to keep the painting intact for hundreds of years.

    Making your own oil paint allows you to experiment with the consistency of the paint, as well as the colours. Pigments found in nature can even be used to create your own unique colours.

    What do I need to make your own Oil Paint:

    • mortar and pestle
    • muller and glass slab
    • palette knife
    • linseed oil ( cold-pressed, raw or unrefined)
    • refined beeswax
    • pigment(s)
    • paint tubes (optional)

    The Method

    First of all, you will make a small pile of pigment on the glass slab, and make a small gap in the middle. Pour a bit of oil there and start mixing with a palette knife or spatula. Don’t worry if it’s not easy to mix, and only add a small amount of oil at a time, as you want the mixture to have the smallest amount of oil as possible.

    Start grinding the mixture with the muller in a circular motion, spreading the mixture gradually on the slab. The idea is to try covering every pigment particle with the least possible amount of oil. From time to time, scrape the paint off of the muller and start grinding again, spreading the paint. Do this until the mixture reaches a ‘paint consistency’, as it varies from pigment to pigment.

    Fillers and Binders used in Oil Paint

    Fillers tend to be seen as not good, but they have certain advantages. (the only thing you don’t want is more filler than pigment in the paint!)

    Barium sulphate and aluminium hydroxide are two common extenders, which are used to increase the volume of the paint without altering the colour. (it’s advised not to add more than 25%, as it may effect the colour)

    Beeswax acts as an emulsifier that helps strengthen the bond between pigment and oil, as well as a thixotropic agent that keeps the pigments evenly distributed.

    Storing Oil Paint

    You can choose from storing the freshly made paint in a glass jar, or in pre-made paint tubes. The latter will have an open base with a plastic cap on the other end. You can put the paint in with a palette knife and when it’s filled, squeeze the paint in the cap side of the tube in order to get rid of air bubbles. Don’t overfill the tube, as you need to leave a bit so as to roll up the excess. You might want to use pliers to fold it over. When it’s done, label the tube with the media, pigment and date of manufacture.



  • Egg Tempera

    Guide to help you make your own paint

    A painting method that shows you, eggs are not only for breakfast!

    History of Egg Tempera Paint

    Tempera paint seems to be one of the most common paints that we're introduced to from the very beginnings. Can you imagine it has been around since the first century AD?

    Many examples of the use of tempera include the Fayum Mummy portraits, and other Egyptian sarcophagi decoration, Orthodox icon painting, early medieval paintings in temples in India, and even Michelangelo had egg tempera paintings.

    Tempera was the primary painting medium up until the 1500s, when the appearing oil paint replaced it. There were some occasional revivals of tempera paintings, for instance in the 19th/20th century by the Pre-raphaelite Brotherhood.

    What You Need


    • egg yolk
    • water
    • dry pigment
    • glass muller
    • jars or tubes

    The Method

    Preparing the Pigment Mixtures

    First you need to grind the pigment with a small amount of water using the muller, until the consistency reaches a creamy state. (The time and amount of water depends on the particular pigment!)

    Preparing the Egg Yolk Medium

    The next step is to prepare the egg yolk medium which consists of egg yolk and distilled water. In order to make it, you'll need to separate the egg yolk from the white, You might want to carefully dry it with a paper towel to remove all the white. Then, take the yolk and pierce the sack under a jar. Discard the sack, and if you find any impurities in the yolk, strain the liquid. If needed, mix it with a bit of distilled water, and it's ready for painting. Keep the medium tightly sealed and refrigerated up until two days.

    Christina's World - Andrew Wyeth, 36" x 29", 1948



  • Encaustic Painting

    Make stunning artworks with pigments, wax and heat

    Painting with wax not only creates exciting, intriguing images, but due to the building up of the wax, it allows you to approach painting from a rather sculptural point of view,

    What is Encaustic painting?

    The name Encaustic comes from the Greek word enkaustikos, meaning "to heat or burn in". This name is quite telling, as the technique is to paint with layers of melted wax. The medium is made out of natural beeswax, dammar resin and optionally pigments for colours. The idea is to use the paint, layers of paper, dried plants, etc between each layer of wax, and to continuously fuse them together with reheating it.

    The History of wax-painting

    Encaustic painting dates back to ancient times as it was used by the Greeks to decorate war ships.  The same technique was used to decorate Egyptian tombs and sarcophagi : the most famous being the Fayum funeral portraits.


    The Mummy of Demetrios, 95-100 C.E.,11.600a-b, Brooklyn Museum

    Since it was a rather difficult technique without portable wax melting tools, the popularity of Encaustic painting decreased for centuries before its late revival in the 20th century. The technique was picked up by painter Fritz Faiss (1905 - 1981), student of abstract expressionist Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky.

    Untitled (1955)

    What You'll need:

    • thick surface (wooden boards / blocks are probably the best)
    • Encaustic medium (wax)
    • collage materials, pigments or coloured wax
    • natural bristle brushes (hog or goat hair(
    • heat gun or propane torch
    • electric hot plate
    • optionally tools for scratching / sculpting

    The Method:

    • Melt the wax
    • Brush the first layer of wax onto the surface, and then start layering, as the work is made with multiple thin layers of wax. Keep both the brushes and the wax warm throughout. You can also add different collage materials like pictures or dried flowers, but keep in mind that the first layer will be less visible.
    • After each finished layer, fuse them together with a heat-gun, so the layer will be even
    • Add texture to the 'painting' with scratching and scraping! Encaustic allows you to work on 2D images with a sculptural touch.


    1. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the wax.
    2. Use a porous surface like wood, paper or clay.
    3. Use an electric plate and palette cups to separate different colours while keeping all of them warm.,
    4. Don't be afraid to hang your finished work, as it won't melt in the sun, however, it's not advised to put it directly in the sun, especially in warmer climates. They're also sensitive to freezing cold temperatures, but otherwise wax makes the work archival so they will last for a very long time.





  • A Different Painting Technique

    Painting With Palette Knives

    Forget the idea that palette knives can only be used for mixing colours!

    Choose from a wide range of palette knives 

    Tips for Painting with Palette Knives

    Not only are brushes are suitable for painting – using palette knives can give an entirely different effect, and they are particularly recommended for Impasto technique.


    Palette knives are especially useful when you want to achieve ‘clean’, brushstroke-free surfaces. Colours applied with a knife are pure and more vibrant, and due to the range of different sizes, it’s even possible to cover larger surfaces.


    Painting with palette knives is more like layering paint, so it’s the perfect tool for expressive marks as well as for realistic details like waves on the sea and tree trunks.


    Palette knives are very useful for painting outside (plein air) as it’s not only faster to put the constantly changing scenery onto a canvas with it, but it saves time and effort as knives can just be wiped clean in order to use a new colour.

    Palette Knife Types

    regular palette knives
    • Use a short blade for angular strokes
    • Use long blades for sweeps of colour
    • Use sharp pointed blades for thin scratches and lines
    • Use round blades to avoid sharp lines
    palette knives for unique effects

    Palette Knife Painting Techniques


    • Scraping back the paint, revealing the previous layers is a technique called sgraffito (using the end of a brush)
    • Pressing paint onto the surface will make a good textured effect
    • Pressing the edge of the knives is used to make fine lines
    • For making ridges, press the blade flat down into the paint
    • Or simply spread paint across the canvas like butter on bread with the long side of the blade

    Watch this Demo!







    Finding the brush thats right for you...

    It can be daunting going into an art shop or ordering online and being faced with the seemingly endless number of different brushes from which to choose. A good set of brushes will make the most of your paints and choosing the shape of a brush is probably the first step.

    Paint brushes have been used since the age of cave painting. Animal hair was bundled and fastened to a handle. In ancient Egypt reed stalks and reed fibres were beaten at the ends to make brushes. Artists made their own brushes right up until the 16th century. For several centuries brushes could only be round due to their construction using the quill of a feather. However in the 19th century, brushes could be made in various shapes due to the introduction of metal ferrules. The Impressionist turned the art world on its’ head with the new mark-making options that new brush shapes offered. Today there are many new shapes available. Hopefully our list will help make your choice simpler.


    The Round brush is good for: sketching, outlining, detailed work, controlled washes, and for filling in small areas. You can create thin to thick lines – thin at the tip, becoming wider the more you press the brush down. Use with thinned paint, rather than thick paint.

    A pointed round is narrower than the round brush and has a sharply pointed tip. It is good for:  creating fine details and lines, delicate areas and for spotting and retouching.


    This brush has round hairs that are shorter in length and has a shorter handle. It is good for: details and short strokes and it holds more paint than you might think!


    A long haired brush which is angled to a sharp point at the end. This brush is good for: creating long smooth lines, ideal for painting plants and leaves, it is adaptable and can be used to create both thick or thin lines using different parts of the brush.


    The Flat or Gussow brush has a square end with medium to long hairs. It is good for: filling wide spaces, for impasto and you can use the edge for fine lines, straight edges and stripes. Long haired Flat brushes are also ideal for varnishing.


    These brushes are flat with edges curved inward at the tip and have shortish hairs.  They are good for: short controlled strokes, thick heavy colour and are better for working up close rather than holding the brush at a distance from the canvas.

    The Gussow is made by binding two bent bundles of hair together in the ferrule, so that they are curved towards each other. This brush has the same uses as the regular Gussow brush. However an Interlocked brush is less likely to have hairs sticking out.


    Filbert or Cats Tongue brushes are f lat, have an oval shaped end with medium to long hairs. They are good for: blending and have soft rounded edges like flower petals. This brush is a sort of combination of round brushes (because it can be used for detail) and flat brushes (because it can cover more space than a round brush).


    Fan brushes have flat, spread hairs. Natural haired fan brushes are good for: smoothing, blending and feathering, synthetic haired fan brushes are better for textural effects and are great for painting clouds and leaves on trees. For acrylics, use a strong and sturdy one, otherwise the hairs will clump when paint is added.


    These brushes are flat with angled hairs at the end. They are good for: curved strokes and filling corners and you can reach small areas with tip. They can also be used to cover lots of space, similar to flat brushes.


    The Reservoir brush is made up of two different bundles of hair, set together. There is a long thin bundle in the centre surrounded by a shorter bundle. The outer bundle acts as a reservoir, feeding the paint into the inner bundle. It is good for: fine detailed work and has the benefit of allowing you to work for a long time before having to dip into your paint again.


    Liners or Riggers are brushes which have extra long hair. As you move the brush handle, the hairs follow in a wiping motion. These brushes are good for: painting long lines and stripes. They can hold quite a large amount of liquid. There are round and flat versions. Flat Liners are also known as Lettering brushes.


    An Oval brush, also known as a Bombe, is a flat brush with an oval tip. It is good for: using as a wash brush.

    So which brush do you think you will go with?

    As you can see there are many different types of brushes for various different techniques, and using the right brush will no doubt aid and improve your skill and enjoyment from painting. Come in-store to browse our wide selection; we will have the brush for you.

  • "Rembrandt or Van Gogh?" That is the question

    Do you know these paint brands?

    Have you seen these brands in a shop, but are not sure if they are suitable for your work? Or perhaps you wanted to paint as if you were a Dutch Master, or Vincent Van Gogh himself?

    Curious what's the difference between professional and student quality paint?

    Keep reading and get to know why it is so accurate to name the brands after these two particular painters, and why you should probably try them yourself.

    Rembrandt van Rijn

    Self Portrait (1659) Self Portrait (1659)

    Everyone thinks about dark, soothing colours and grandiose scenes when they hear the name Rembrandt. No wonder then, that Royal Talens based their professional artist quality brand for artist materials on the Dutch Master's practice - and now you're about to find out why,

    Why use The Royal Talens Rembrandt brand?

    The Colours;
    Big range of colours (120), traditional, deep and very strong.
    The pigments are ground very fine, containing the highest concentration possible, thus good for creating smooth surfaces and blending colours.
    Very pure colours, 56 made of only one pigment
    Highest degree possible (+100) years under museum lighting conditions).
    make sure to check the little square signs on the tube; they indicate the opacity from transparent (white) to opaque (black).
    the Rembrandt oils have: 
    25 Transparent colours
    20 semi-transparent
    35 semi-opaque
    40 opaque colours
    Available sizes:

    • 15ml tube: 120 colours
    • 40ml tube: 120 colours
    • 60ml tube: 5 whites
    • 150ml tube: 25 colours and 5 whites

    Rembrandt’s colour palette:

    • Yellow ochre
    • Umber – The best is probably a mix of Raw Umber and Burnt Umber
    • Lead Tin Yellow – used until the 18th century. The closest is possibly the mix of Cadmium Yellow Lemon  and Transparent Yellow Green.
    • Azurite – the closest colour is Phthalo Blue
    • Smalt (Cobalt blue)
    • Carmine Lake
    • Malachite – Closes possible colour is Ultramarine Green
    • Bone Black (or Ivory black)
    • Lead White – Unfortunately, because of the poisonous pigment it’s not manufactured by the series. It’s supposed to be the warmest tone white paint. Alternatively the same results can be achieved with the mix of Titanium White  and Zinc White  (to reduce the opaqueness of the Titanium) mixed with a bit of Naples Red  to achieve the desired effect.
    • Vermillion
    • Ultramarine
    • Naples Yellow
    The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632) The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632)

    Rembrandt's Painting Technique:

    Impasto is a technique when thick layers of paint are put on the surface of the painting in order to create visible brush or knife strokes. The word originates from the Italian verb impastere (“to put in paste”)
    In his paintings, Rembrandt used this technique to enhance the effect of wrinkled and detailed fabrics, jewellery, or to give highlights a more prominent look.
    (Note that only acrylics and oils are suitable for this technique because of the high density of pigments.)

    The Jewish Bride (1665) detail, sleeve The Jewish Bride (1665) detail, sleeve
    The Jewish Bride (1665) detail, sleeve The Jewish Bride (1665) detail, sleeve
    Flora (1635) Flora (1635)

    Vincent Van Gogh

    Van Gogh is known for his unique colour use and neurotic lines which made his works stand out of the 'regular' impressionist style. He wasn't appreciated in his lifetime, but now his name has come to represent the 'student quality' (although in some countries it is considered so good that it is artist quality) paint brand made by Royal Talens. And not by accident!

    Self-Portrait, September 1889 Self-Portrait, September 1889

    Why Use Royal Talens Van Gogh oil paint?

    Less colour shades than Rembrandt (66), but they produce a more “modern” range, in 2 price series, the result being a student quality price with an artist quality colour choice.
    High level, finely ground pigments (not as fine as Rembrandt) fantastic for keeping brushstrokes visible.
    33 pure colours made of only one pigment
    High level, excellent in keeping the colour over a long period of time (75- 100) years under museum conditions).
    Make sure to check the little square signs on the tube; they indicate the opacity from transparent (white) to opaque (black).
    Van Gogh oils have:
    14 transparent colours
    10 semi-transparent
    19 semi-opaque
    23 opaque colours
    Available sizes:

    • 20ml tubes: 66 colours
    • 40ml tube: 66 colours
    • 60ml tubes: 66 colours
    • 200ml tube: 55 colours
    • 500ml tin: 16 colours

    Early Works:

    Van Gogh’s early works clearly show the resemblance to traditional Dutch painting: dark, earthly brown tones – probably influenced by his tutor, Anton Mauve – were more characteristic of Rembrandt perhaps than the light colour palette of late 1800’s popular Impressionists.

    The Potato Eaters (1885)
    Self Portrait with Pipe (1886) Self Portrait with Pipe (1886)















    Starry Night Over The Rhone Arles (1888) Starry Night Over The Rhone Arles (1888)

    However, after a while Van Gogh's palette indeed went through a radical change as he allowed the popular style of the age influence his work - he switched the dark colours to that of impressionist ones: this meant that he no longer used browns, blacks and greys, but instead worked with richer brighter colours characteristic of the Impressionist style. They tried to capture the colour of their subject in natural light, using colours directly out of the tube, creating such an effect that the different pure colours next to each other would show a mixed effect on the canvas. This is particularly prominent in Van Gogh's later - and most popular - paintings.


    Self-portrait (1887-1888) Self-portrait (1887-1888)

    Whats was Van Gogh’s colour palette?

    • Naples yellow
    • Zinc/Lemon Yellow
    • Chrome Yellow
    • Vandyck brown
    • Vermillion
    • Cochineal lake (Carmine)
    • Madder lake
    • Cobalt Blue
    • Prussian Blue
    • French Ultramarine
    • Cerulean Blue
    • Viridian Green
    • Emerald Green
    • Black
    • White

    So, whats it going to be, Rembrandt or Van Gogh?

    All in all, it seems that there is not much of a difference between so-called artist quality and student quality paints. Like most things in life, it is the subtle differences that can make big differences. Perhaps the most important thought that counts is how you use the paints and knowing exactly what you're looking for in terms of colours and pigment fineness.

    What is also important to note that while many popular brands now manufacture their paints in China, The Royal Talens brands keep up the quality by making their paints in The Netherlands. Therefore, it seems that even if you are looking for either student or professional quality, Van Gogh and Rembrandt are a good choice with their wide range of colours and high quality products.

    Speaking from personal experience, the Van Gogh oils are easy to mix, have a nice consistency and brilliant colour range. The best thing is, you really get what you expect, so no more disappointment when buying a nice tube of supposedly 'Mars violet' that turns out to be pinkish purple...
    I would recommend Van Gogh for fellow art students because of the good quality and affordable price! And what can I say about Rembrandt? Well, having had the chance to get a taste of what a professional paint is like, I do want more - you have to try it in order to fully understand!
    Perhaps, get some as a holiday present, or just simply treat yourself because you deserve it!


    If this brief introduction of the artists and their techniques made you interested, keep your eyes on the blog to learn more about them in the future!


  • Artist's Profile: Amanda Adam

    Artists Profile with painter Amanda Adam

    Amanda Adam is a Scottish painter, printmaker and draughtswoman. Born in Dunfermline, she now resides in Crossford, Fife and is currently undertaking her Masters in Fine Art and Humanities at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) in Dundee. The artist studied drawing, painting and printmaking at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh, before going on to complete her BA Degree at DJCAD. Here, we ask Amanda about her processes as an artist, her inspirations and thoughts on the role of art in society.



    What kind of art do you produce and how/ when did you start to get involved in making work?

    I am predominantly a painter. My practice is based on landscape, our responses to place and how we function spatially within it. Recently my work has started to come off the wall, taking a more sculptural form. When I started painting at the Leith School of Art, I felt if I could specialise in painting I could expand into any other medium.  However, I always come back to painting as it is my passion, the area in which I lose myself.

    What was the first work of art you remember seeing?

    I don’t remember the first work of art I ever saw but I cried the first time I saw a small Van Gogh paining, a portrait of Alexander Reid in The Kelvingrove art Gallery and Museum, in Glasgow. The sitter was an art dealer who built up a collection of French 19th Century paintings which now reside in Glasgow Art Gallery. Van Gogh and Reid shared lodgings in Paris at the time when the portrait was painted 1887. I just felt really humbled and in awe.Van Gogh

    What medium do you normally work in, and why?

    I work with canvas using a traditional oil paint/ linseed oil/ dammar varnish mix. However I have recently started working in gouache as well. Oil paint does what I need it to do, running, spreading, dripping. I can layer, scratch and cut into it easily.

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work?

    Moving forward I would like to work with stone and ceramics, but in the more immediate future probably photography, film and sound.

    What subject matters are you normally drawn towards?

    While humans are absent from my landscape-based work, a presence of the viewer suggests itself, making it understood that the terrain is not ‘empty’, but rather filled with the same elements that sustain all life. The chaotic myriad of colours is derived from intangible feelings to which I subconsciously respond; it is that ‘spirit’ of place contrasted with the punctuated presence of line. Lines provide structure to our lives; within the work it is the contours of the land contrasted with man made objects, which offers stability and dynamism. The paintings become installations and sculptures on the very land that I paint, creating their own sets of lines and movements.



    If from a traditional art background (i.e. higher education in art) how do you think the institutions you were associated with have formed/ informed your practice? 

    There are advantages and disadvantages to higher education within art.  If you are unsure about your work you can very easily be pushed or swayed into making work which you are uncomfortable with or which you don’t feel is your own natural response. You can feel confined and if you spend too many years in ‘the system’ you can also get too comfortable. The advantages are that you have so many opportunities to practice so many areas of material exploration, through workshops, tutorials and artist’s talks all at your finger tips. Plus a formal art education can open other doors for you in the way of scholarships and awards etc. if that’s what interests you. It has definitely helped me to hone my ideas, allowing me to recognise the subject matter which drives my practice.

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

    Those who work with sincerity, intensity and passion, no matter what their subject matter or medium; artists whose work comes from the heart.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    I am influenced by everything around me, every journey I make in a car, a bus, a train, as the land races past me - I find that very exciting. Walking in the landscape, just being, sitting, feeling, being at one within it.  I like to go to remote places. Residencies are great as they allow you the time in one place to really ‘feel’ your surroundings. The Bothy Project in Scotland and the Clipperton Project are two residencies which I have taken up recently, but there are so many available.

    What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?

    My MFA studio is a small office space where I make water based works and more experimental pieces. It’s really a place where I do a lot of small work, make applications, etc. My home-based studio is the top floor of a golf Club, based in a small castle-type building. The scenery, the golf course is beautiful and serene. From the windows I look from Fife right over to the Lothians. But actually my studio is really out on the land where I make site-specific work.




    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art? 

    Trust your instinct, collect, experiment, ignore your anxieties and be prepared to feel all emotions at the same time whilst making work.


    What do you think is the importance of art in society?

    Art has been part of man since the dawn of time.  It allows us to dream dreams and our souls to dance. Art is life-enhancing, entertaining and defines our personal and national identities, and is the ultimate freedom in expression.

  • Artist's Profile: Nicola Blakemore

    This month’s Artist Profile is Nicola Blakemore

    Originally trained as a graphic artist, Nicola has had a varied career working in public relations, the media and the travel industry. She returned to her artistic roots, becoming involved in interior design, specialised painting techniques and mural work both at home in the UK and internationally. Now living in the Languedoc region of Southern France, Nicola’s work has featured in Country Living magazine, BBC Radio 4 and Central TV. We’re going to hear from Nicola about how she works in the following interview.


    What kind of art do you produce and how/ when did you start to get involved with this?

     Personally I love painting still lifes, but I also paint commissions, and have produced portraits, people, pets and houses. I create murals and also teach at college level, with students with special needs and with private groups on painting holidays.

    What medium do you normally work in, and why?

    I work in all media but I’m exploring more with the potential of watercolour, which is what I’m teaching at the moment.

    Art education background (if any):

    A-level art at school.

    Gallery/ Professional Affiliations (if any):

    I have exhibited in both the UK and France.

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work?

    I want to get back into oils. I’m also going to use the new Cobra range, which are water-based oil paints. My friend Libby Page loves them.

    What subject matters are you normally drawn towards?

    I’m a big fan of colour, so anything colourful which can evoke a mood or a feeling.



    If affiliated to Gallery/ art collective/ art club, how did you get involved with this?

    I am not affiliated to any galleries or collectives at the moment.

    If from other type of background (i.e. no formal art education) what were the reasons for not pursuing this route and how do you feel this has influenced your art?

    I am a self taught artist.

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

    I love the vivid colours used by Shirley Trevena and many of the great masters and the Dutch still life painters.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    Anywhere and everywhere!

    What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?

    A spare room.

    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art?

    Just do it. Give yourself permission to ‘play’ and don’t have too high expectations. You can find a friendly group or even learn via the internet, which is where I do some teaching. There is a saying that you should ‘know what you are good at and stick to it.’ I say, ‘discover what you might be even better at and go for it.’


  • Brush up your own Christmas Cards

    Homemade Christmas Cards


    Fancy making & brushing up your very own Christmas cards? Then watch this lovely brush lettering homemade Christmas card. Gouache, water-colour, pens & inks, calligraphy pens are ideal for creating beautiful Christmas cards with your very own personal touch. Purchase any of these products in our shop iartsupplies in Dundee, Perth Road, or visit us online and order from there. You could even add some sparkle with our lovely Stardust Glitter Gel Pens

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