Painting from Photographic References

I always try to impress on beginners that the very best way to learn to paint is by doing so from life. The uncertainty of the enterprise stops you from becoming ensnared by a pre-existing representation. That’s not to say you’ll manage to get good results straight away; it’s just that the uncertainty will provoke a more interesting and human result and you’ll learn more from the process.

Hence, last week was spent at each class demonstrating how to paint successfully from a photographic reference. I printed out some pictures I’ve taken over the years that I thought would be worth trying.

Here are the results of my own demonstrations. Each took about 30 minutes and I spent a further hour or so on the impressionist/pointillist one:

A Cotignac Street
The Grand Canal in Dublin
The Huband Bridge, Dublin

The Story of the Blues

A carving in high quality lapis lazuli. Photographed by Adrian Pingstone

I’ve always wondered about the history of certain paints and ultramarine has one of the most romantic. Take a read of the following article on the Winsor & Newton web site:

“The word ‘Ultramarine’ comes from the Latin ‘ultra’ meaning ‘beyond’ and ‘mare’ meaning ‘sea’, as this was how Lapis Lazuli first arrived in Europe. Ultramarine came in the form of lumps of the semi-precious stone Lapis Lazuli (the ‘blue stone’ in Latin), via foot and donkey on the Silk Road from Afghani…” read more on the W&N web site

A Still Life Painting Demonstration

A still life alla prima demonstration in oils in Kevin McSherry’s Studio

An alla prima still life of a silver bowl and lemon slice on white, against a grey and deep red background. This video takes you through the composition, drawing, blocking-in stage and up to the initial detailing stage. These are the most important parts of the painting process as they’re the foundation for everything that follows.

The whole process took about 2 hours but I’ve speeded up the video and removed any hesitations and inert parts. About 5 minutes.

You can see many more helpful videos at the tab above – and why not join Ireland’s friendliest and most thorough art class for beginners and intermediates?

If you sign up to my newsletter, you’ll receive a FREE eBook on the McSherry-Process palette for beginners which will help you understand colour. Just put your email adress in the box on the right.

Beginners’ Painting Kit. What You Actually Need.

Beginners’ painting kit for oil painting classes in Dublin

A short video (7.5 minutes) about the recommended beginner’s painting kit for my studio class. It’ll save you lots of money and save you from carting bundles of unnecessary material around with you and hurting your back!

You’ll get an idea of what everything looks like before you visit the art supplies shop. Below is a list.

  • ‘Burren’ tabletop box easel: ‘Create’ brand or similar (Winsor & Newton make good, slightly larger boxes, for example).
  • Brushes (See this video on which brushes to get).
  • Paints: Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue, Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue, Ivory Black and Burnt Umber. (All Winsor & Newton, Winton range).
  • A Palette
  • Solvent: Zest-it or Sansodor
  • Liquin
  • Palette Knife
  • A rag

Vermeer and Lenses

We’ve often spoken about the old masters’ use of lenses during class and one of my students has found a link to this lecture in University College London which is well worth watching. Now I have to go off and find the film, ‘Tim’s Vermeer’ which is mentioned by Professor Steadman. Enjoy.

eBook: 10 BASIC STEPS TO STARTING ANY PAINTING. Ed 2

eBook: 10 Basic Steps to Starting ANY Painting”

10 Steps to Starting an Alla Prima Painting for Beginners by Kevin McSherry Lo
Edition 2 with updated links!

I hope that this eBook helps you in your efforts to become a better painter
It takes time and effort to produce these eBooks, so if it does, please consider buying me a coffee by  PayPal.  Any amount, however small, is much appreciated and will boost my caffeine level. 

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I’ve no way of telling who is downloading this eBook, so it’s completely anonymous but if you would like to contact me and suggest a change or make any constructive criticism; email me. There are contributions buttons in the document, so it’s entirely up to you. 

Available Class Places Update

New 6 Week Art Classes Term starts Tuesday January 15, Wednesday January 16 & Thursday January 17 2019

Call NOW on 086 247 0737 or email me

TUESDAY mornings 10am to 12.30pm 1 place
TUESDAY evenings 7pm to 9.30pm 3 places

WEDNESDAY mornings 10am-12.30pm 1 place

THURSDAY mornings 10am to 12.30pm 1 place
THURSDAY evenings 7pm to 9.30pm 3 places


Classes Filling up!

kevin mcsherry oils for beginners art classes in dublin
Blue Bottle: Oils on canvas panel.

Art classes are filling up fast for January 15, 16 and 17.

There are 2 spaces left on Wednesday morning. 1 space on Thursday morning. Come and learn how to create beautiful paintings entirely from life -the BEST and most FULFILLING way to paint. Learn from a master painter who is endlessly patient and good-humoured! Plus -FREE tea and coffee and biscuits…

There are still places to be had on Tuesday and Thursday evening, though. Call me on 086 247 0737 for more information or email: kevin@mcsherry.ie.

kevin@mcsherry paints sunflowers and teaches oils art classes to beginners in Dublin

2018 Clear-out to make way for January Art Classes

The new 2019 term of art classes in Dublin starts Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday January 15,16 and 17 respectively. There are a places left but they’re going fast:

Tuesday Mornings: Book Now
Tuesday Evenings: Book Now

Wednesday MorningsBook Now

Thursday Mornings: Book Now
Thursday Evenings: Book Now

A demonstration of painting by a master artist at every class. Come and join Ireland’s friendliest class and learn to paint your dream painting. Coffee or tea and biscuits provided. €185 per term