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Colin Bradley Art Cast
How To Draw and Paint
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June 13, 2018 05:01 AM PDT

"Impressionism is like a statement that you make without a structure."

In this podcast Colin describes the work he's doing with impressionism and how best to describe how it feels "alive" comparing it to photography. What's the secret behind it? We discuss in the podcast.

We also read your emails and and answer your questions. Colin gives some tips for working with Pen & Ink and watercolour paper he uses. We talk about the reaction to the Constable Demonstration and also reminisce on the days where Colin would run in person workshops travelling around the country.

If you haven't already seen the Constable demonstration click here to learn more: https://www.colinbradleyart.com/home/unveiling-pastel-pencil-demonstrations/

Read a transcription of the episode below:

Stephen Bradley: hello and welcome to Colin Bradley art cast, I'm Stephen Bradley

Colin Bradley: and I'm Colin Bradley

Stephen Bradley: how is it going?

Colin Bradley: well, it's going well Steve I am having a ball at the moment.

Stephen Bradley: well, since revealing these demonstrations and people loving them, loving the pictures you've done, it's kind of, I mean, you were doing loads of other pictures anyway but it's kind of injected some more enthusiasm into doing all of them, hasn’t it?

Colin Bradley: Well, funny you should say that but you’re absolutely right of course since I've been doing them and I have clocked up about 6 now. The…I've interspersed them with some ingres…normal class pictures.

Stephen Bradley: yeah

Colin Bradley: and they have affected those class pictures…

Stephen Bradley: really?

Colin Bradley: Slightly and yes I have found that I am…because I had to loosen up especially with some of them with the demonstrations.

Stephen Bradley: very impressionistic

Colin Bradley: and I’m going, I’m moving into the…people will see it eventually, they will see it and I think that's lovely to do that to…to gain some kind of insight.

Stephen Bradley: what you said before about doing more impressionism stuff is good, because it relaxes you, it loosens up your style and you're forced to think in a different way, and so I suppose, I mean, you did do that anyway with some slightly impressionistic pictures but the ones that you're doing in these demonstrations are SO impressionist.

Colin Bradley: yes

Stephen Bradley: …that it's really challenging your realism approach, it's got to be good, right?

Colin Bradley: absolutely, oh yes absolutely. Well, I've said for years and years and years and I've expanded on it so many times on demonstrations and workshops and classes, that impressionism is actually the…it's like a statement that you make without a structure.

I don’t know if I can describe any better than that, I mean, you have in your mind a structure, you see a structure then you create that same structure but with an impressionistic viewpoint which in…it makes it more, it makes it more alive really rather than copying exactly what you see by putting an impression there and inclined towards you kind of get a movement really, it's…I tell you what it just all suddenly reminded me of you, when you get a slight…when you get a movement on a camera sometimes you take a photograph and you get it slightly bit jarring because people move or something.

Stephen Bradley: yeah

Colin Bradley: and that signifies that there's a movement

Stephen Bradley: Yeah

Colin Bradley: where as everybody sort of stands absolutely still, stuck still and you take a picture is freezes them.

Stephen Bradley: yeah

Colin Bradley: that's what you get in a way with the impression, you kind of get slight movement

Stephen Bradley: Yeah

Colin Bradley: …from the pictures

Stephen Bradley: it’s like its alive a little bit more

Colin Bradley: and this creates the impression when you look at it that it's real as opposed to an absolute copy with like frozen

Stephen Bradley: fine detail and like in focus all of that kind of thing.

Colin Bradley: I haven't thought of that before but I hope I've explained it well enough, but it makes sense to me that that is how you see, I mean, if you get a completely out of focus by somebody moving dramatically then it wouldn't work that way, but a slight movement does imply when you look at the picture

Stephen Bradley: that there is movement

Colin Bradley: they've moved, well you can see it, you've moved and the photographer has a go at them “don't move, stay still!”

Stephen Bradley: “too late now we’re painting it!”

Colin Bradley: yeah, anyway enough of that.

Stephen Bradley: that’s great, that's very interesting but yes, I mean, the reaction has been so good that there is another one on the cards coming up.

Colin Bradley: yes

Stephen Bradley: and that will…and continue we hope to blow people away. So and probably [even more so…

Colin Bradley: [the next one…

Stephen Bradley: and if they ever thought that that one was good then the next one is even going to be even better.

Colin Bradley: well, one of the things you can remember when people see the “Constable” it was the first one I did in this this range, and the one that we're probably going to be putting up I think is probably the fifth one I've done, so that one is 4 times…I would say 4 times better, I've had another practice from the other 3 between the 2.

Stephen Bradley: Yeah

Colin Bradley: and you can see it, you can actually see it in the picture.

Stephen Bradley: Yeah, is it…

Colin Bradley: well, I can anyway

Stephen Bradley: yeah I think your confidence..

Colin Bradley: confidence yeah.

Stephen Bradley: with the paper and how far you can push it, all these kinds of things that you’d learn from the “Constable” and all those other picture you are a bit “braver” if that’s the word, a bit more kind of up for it, a lot like okay “let’s see how far we can push this.”

Colin Bradley: I think I've always said that you need to relax when you're doing art work, you need to really relax because then the real you starts to come forward.

Stephen Bradley: yeah

Colin Bradley: when you're using your logical mind all the time you're stuck in that frame of mind whereas if you kind of relax and let it all hang out sort of thing, you know what I mean?

Stephen Bradley: yeah

Colin Bradley: just sort of…

Stephen Bradley: let go

Colin Bradley: flop back and then paint you're in another area and that's what I've probably learnt to do and of course, same I am enjoying it. That’s another thing if you enjoy doing and you can’t and you know this is a…I have said it many times over the last few weeks I just can't wait to get back to the drawing board again, I come away from it thinking of…I think I'll give it a rest for now, and then half an hour I give it another go

Stephen Bradley: I know, I know. I've been on the phone to you and then you said I'm stopping now it’s about 6 O’clock or whatever “I’m going to stop now”, and I’m like “okay great” and then half an hour - 3 quarters of an hour later I need to ring you and I hear all the stuff in the background you switching it all off again and I’m like “hold on a minute, you said you’re going to stop” and you are like “I just couldn't pull myself away from it I had to get back to it, just do it a little bit more. “

Colin Bradley: absolutely, well I'm sure all of those people, all those artists and members out there that would relate to that.

Stephen Bradley: yeah

Colin Bradley: if they're really into it

Stephen Bradley: yeah, lovely. Okay, so we've got a few questions this week nice for people to be getting in touch and then some lovely feedback that we want to share with everyone, so the first email came from Paul and he says, hi Stephen and Colin, hoping that Colin could help me out with a problem, I'm just starting to learn pen and wash, the pens that I use are micron by Sakura and the faber pitt pit pens, they both state that they are waterproof but when I apply the wash the ink starts to bleed, I hope you don’t mind me asking a watercolour question, many thanks Paul.

Colin Bradley: Well, I've used the…I haven't used the first one but I used the…

Stephen Bradley: the pitt

Colin Bradley: the pitt and very fine and I think it's extra fine, it’s the finest one they do anyway. And I have never use the watercolour immediately on top of them, I used to finish the picture then give it a little bit of time.

Stephen Bradley: yeah

Colin Bradley: then I do the wash. So it may be that he's going in too quick.

Stephen Bradley: how long do you think…

Colin Bradley: I have really no idea…from my experience they’re almost instant drying, that was my experience.

Stephen Bradley: Yeah

Colin Bradley: I've never ever seen them bleed

Stephen Bradley: doesn't usually dry out

Colin Bradley: and it could be the paper as well, he’s got to remember that if you're using good sketching paper or our watercolour paper is ideal for this, it should be fine. I can't see a problem with that but I would say to give it time before you put the watercolour wash on just to make sure.

Stephen Bradley: just to see if that makes a difference, yeah because you wouldn't think that they would…and once they dry, once you apply the wash over it shouldn't…

Colin Bradley: no, it shouldn't do…it shouldn’t happen

Stephen Bradley: it shouldn’t happen, should it? Okay, next one from Wendy, Hi Stephen and Colin I'm referring to Colin greyscale picture of the Fordwich picture, and I noticed this is done on watercolour paper and I wondered what surface Colin has used whether it's rough or smooth, I'm presuming that it's the smooth paper that Colin stocks but would like to…like the confirmation, I am really enjoying the courses and I'm very pleased with my efforts so far, the only problem is that framing is getting expensive. Wendy.

Colin Bradley: well, I can help her with that in a minute or 2, but let’s deal with the paper, yes, our watercolour paper is ideal and again good quality sketching paper. I say good quality…you can’t beat really nice.

Stephen Bradley: like thick, thick and thicker

Colin Bradley: yes, thicker is best is best

Stephen Bradley: because our one is 300 gram

Colin Bradley: Yeah, you don't have to go as thick as that but in an ideal world, yes you would. The thicker you get the better it's going to be, more stable it's going to be and smooth definitely. If you use anything that's got any bubble especially watercolour paper because some watercolour paper is quite raggy.

Stephen Bradley: Yeah

Colin Bradley: and that wouldn't work very well, it tends to make the pastel look dirty so I wouldn't do that. So smooth paper and it should be fine.

Stephen Bradley: great, what about the framing?

Colin Bradley: framing, well now this is a bone of contention and I absolutely agree framing is expensive. However, if you're clever you find, you get your frame first, right? And you get your mount first, so you know the size and then you make your picture just a little bit bigger than the inner part of the mount. Not much I would say that…

Stephen Bradley: not the subject

Colin Bradley: couple of millimetres

Stephen Bradley: not the subject but the…

Colin Bradley: no, that the…the picture itself.

Stephen Bradley: the size of the painting

Colin Bradley: the size of the painting.

Stephen Bradley: the paper?

Colin Bradley: Well, what you want...the size of the paper is immaterial really, it's the image size. You can have a large piece of paper with the image size in the middle of it, no, I don't think that's done well…

Stephen Bradley: would you draw box or something?

Colin Bradley: you could

Stephen Bradley: if you have like an A4 piece of paper and the pictures… this is my ignorance because I don't paint myself but…

Colin Bradley: well, I'll tell you the ideal thing to do and if you get your mount like I've told you, get your frame first, buy it first.

Stephen Bradley: ready-made stuff

Colin Bradley: yeah, ready-made absolutely, they are much cheaper. And your mount as well, always put a mount on don't put it directly on glass. So you got a mount and a frame. Your size of the mount will dictate the size of the picture that you're going to paint.

Stephen Bradley: yeah

Colin Bradley: you don't have…you can measure that if you like but that's usually standard. Then you make your paper at least a centimetre, I would say a centimetre and a half larger than the outside rim of the frame, mount, I mean, have you got me?

Stephen Bradley: yep, so when you put it in this you got like a trim around.

Colin Bradley: and then when you paint your picture, paint it slightly larger than the opening of the mount in other words if you put the mount on it it's going to cover just a fraction, perhaps half a centimetre of your picture that way you got movement, you can adjust it very slightly. I've done that with all my pictures, in fact very often people wouldn't know but if they de-framed one of my picture they'd find little bits of painting all away round, because I can move it to where I want it to be sometimes it can be slightly off.

Stephen Bradley: slightly off

Colin Bradley: yeah, that's what I would do and I'd use ready made mounts.

Stephen Bradley: there you go, that’s the cheaper way of doing it.

Colin Bradley: It is a cheap way, it's very expensive otherwise.

Stephen Bradley: yeah to continuously.. especially if…

Colin Bradley: I mean, the ideal thing to do folks really is if someone wants you to paint their dog or cat or whatever you say “yes absolutely, the thing is I would just leave you the picture when I finish it because I'm sure that you would want to do your own frame and your own mount for your decor of your house” “oh yes that's right” they say well and then you get away with it all together.

Stephen Bradley: yeah, good idea. That is a good idea. Well I hope that helps Wendy. Next one, so this is moving on to some feedbacks some lovely emails I wanted to read out today might inspire some people, so this one's from Kevin he says Colin, I've been approached and asked if someone would like to buy one of my drawings, the artwork in question is the two girls that you did of an a Emile Vernon Poster titled “Victorian Children” also some of your animal drawings have turned out really well so due to copyright information I might be able to sell or give away my art work finished from your courses, that’s he’s first question which is obviously…

Colin Bradley: it's okay

Stephen Bradley: Yes, there's no copyright. The next thing Kevin goes on to say is that I am a beginner and I've been drawing since December, 2015 at age 60 you're never too old to start, but I came upon your site last year. I cruised the Internet to find lessons on creating masterpieces and went through a lot of crap until I found your site,

I like that we come up on a Google search for creating masterpieces.

Colin Bradley: oh absolutely.

Stephen Bradley: that’s great, I never tried done doing that before, I might do that.

I've learned so much with you where people are asking me to draw their dogs never in a million years would have imagined going from drawing amazing stick people to actually creating artwork people would actually want to hang on their walls, it is because of your courses that this happened, if you ever need one more endorsement on how great your site is just let me know…you just gave it Kevin, so thank you.

Colin Bradley: that's great, well done.

Stephen Bradley: so then just another story of people getting commissions and people are asked to do like requests and stuff.

Colin Bradley: absolutely.

Stephen Bradley: So nice it must feel like, I mean, I suppose you had this when you had students in person classes and all of this stuff but you're getting it now from loads of people all over the world.

Colin Bradley: absolutely

Stephen Bradley: that get this.

Colin Bradley: that’s very satisfying and I'm absolutely delighted that people are finding that it's not necessarily, I mean, people some of the people do it because you know and you want to earn a few bob. But others do it because they thoroughly enjoy doing it and there's no reason why you shouldn't do both.

Stephen Bradley: Lovely, next one from Rob…Rob says, hi Colin and Stephen I was searching the internet trying to help with pastel pencils, I was not having much luck until I stumbled upon your web page, I would like to express my gratitude to you both for a wonderful site packed with information on pastel and other mediums, I find it refreshing to be given some free courses to follow along with to help to gain confidence. I have limited funds like most people, so the free taster lessons are very valuable to me, I did a couple of them and found that I like the pastel pencil work and I wanted to do more. The taster courses gave me the confidence to pay for a one month subscription, this opened up a lot of information and extra video tutorials to me and may I say at a reasonable price. I've noticed my pastel work improving thanks to you, so please keep up the good work you are doing is very much appreciated.

Colin Bradley: Well, no fear of that we're going to carry on and we're also getting better ourselves as you can see with the things that we're producing, we're expanding, what we do expanding our ideas and we are always looking for new ones so…

Stephen Bradley: yeah

Colin Bradley: you can always be rest assured that we're on the ball.

Stephen Bradley: This is always a good thing that I've always loved and it's just the way we are and how we've always done things and how you've done things in your business before I came along, always growing theres’s always something changing, there is always an expansion or there's always a…there's never a sticking to this is what we do, so it’s like how can we do more like we're in our own satisfaction where we're kind of always inching for that next challenge or that like how can I improve the site more or how can I…and I spoke to you last week about a few other things that I had on my list and saying, I want to do this for them, I want to create this and add this on to the website, can we do this and can we do that and can we give the best possible thing for the student and this is the thing that I get a kick out of, is creating a hub of resources for students as well as putting all of your lessons up and pulling things together and editing and doing these podcasts, it's always improving something.

Colin Bradley: absolutely, and not only us but Eileen my wife, she's constantly coming up with ideas.

Stephen Bradley: yes it's not just us.

Colin Bradley: and your fiancée

Stephen Bradley: Yeah.

Colin Bradley: I just drop that in

Stephen Bradley: recently

Colin Bradley: your fiancée is now also helping you with a lot of marketing and a lot of ideas. You see, you can't help but drag…people are dragged in because of the enthusiasm that Colin Bradley Art is generating.

Stephen Bradley: Yeah

Colin Bradley: even our clients, our members they’re coming up with suggestions which we always take note of, don't always go along with it but we do certainly listen…

Stephen Bradley: consider all of them

Colin Bradley: yeah

Stephen Bradley: yeah and that's another thing that we're always open to…and yes it’s our lives in general who we are as people but we're always open to change and to adding things on and improving. We're not, we're never closed off to it so this is the good thing and I'm glad it kind of translates when people buy membership and they see all of this stuff and they can wow and they do the lessons and it improves their art and it's kind of…its satisfying because we know that we're doing a good job and obviously reading out all these e-mails where people are gushing over how good everything is and it's not an ego thing but it's just to say that if anyone is considering it or it's kind of to give a…many success stories that inspire people to say this person can do it you can too.

Colin Bradley: absolutely

Stephen Bradley: this person has achieved something so yeah. Okay, the next one from Brian, hello I just wanted to thank Colin for sharing his absolutely amazing and wonderful story of how his life evolved through his art, I found it was very interesting and thoroughly inspiring to read and enjoyed it immensely. I have to agree with you that the fellow that told you not to go to art school as it…I have to agree with the fellow that told you not to go to art school as it might mess you up, your talents are truly amazing and I feel very fortunate to have stumbled onto your website and become a member and learn so much. I always look forward to seeing your new lessons or demos and I'm going to give your Constable picture a try and will send it when I'm done. I'm basically self-taught and I only picked up doing art in the last few years as I had stopped drawing since the early 80’s due to family commitments and a full time job. Sincerely, Brian.

Colin Bradley: immediately you said that to me, it puts what we are all about firmly in it’s place. He's never had any formal training at all and now he's considering doing the Constable's Cornmill

Stephen Bradley: Cornfield

Colin Bradley: Cornfield, I mean, and I think that’s just amazing that someone could even think I can do…but he's given, been given the confidence, he's done a few. He's got the enthusiasm, “I’ll give it a go” and he should too because just imagine him being really delighted with this Cornfield, has it framed put it on his wall and people coming to say, “oh you got a print of John Constable”…”no I did that” “you didn’t!” How would that make him feel? Someone who has no art lessons.

Stephen Bradley: Yeah

Colin Bradley: …that's what it's all about Steve.

Stephen Bradley: yeah, I agree…I agree with you. Okay, next one from Bill. You must be feeling really good after all of these.

Colin Bradley: I won’t be able to get out that door mate, you’ll have to widen it for me.

Stephen Bradley: Hi Stephen and Colin, I first started with pastel pencils when I was coming up to retirement in 2003 and I saw somewhere that Colin was doing a workshop at the Dun Cow in…

Colin Bradley: the Dun Cow in Dunchurch, yes that’s right.

Stephen Bradley: I went along painted a badger and I went again and this time a Meerkat and the last time it was a wolf portrait. All the paintings were framed in those fantastic frames Colin brought with him and they're still hanging up today.

Oh that’s interesting, so did you used to take frames with you?

Colin Bradley: I used to take ready made frames.

Stephen Bradley: did you?

Colin Bradley: yes I did, well I found that what people wanted when they'd finished their pictures at the end of a workshop, we've got 14 people or more sometimes and I used to take all 20 or 30 frames with me.

Stephen Bradley: did you?

Colin Bradley: yeah, and I used to frame them for…because they were easy to put it in I said I will do it for you and they used to bring them home when they wanted them they buy the frame very cheap, we got them a good price and we sold them for a reasonable profit and I put them together, so they went out, they came in with nothing and went out with…

Stephen Bradley: it was framed picture.

Colin Bradley: yeah, a framed picture under their arm

Stephen Bradley: that must have been really good though, wasn’t it?

Colin Bradley: oh yeah it was good, it's a good little business to have and not only that but the customers were well as you can tell, delighted.

Stephen Bradley: Absolutely loving it, yeah. Bill goes on to say I really enjoyed it but Colin stopped doing the day workshops and the last time I heard Colin was doing a workshop was in Marlborough.

Colin Bradley: Marlborough, yeah.

Stephen Bradley: South Devon?

Colin Bradley: that’s right

Stephen Bradley: a bit too far to go, I don’t remember you going to South Devon.

Colin Bradley: oh well, it’s part of my story. I went there for about 5 years and sometimes I’d do 2 a year, there.

Stephen Bradley: really, interesting.

Colin Bradley: very popular.

Stephen Bradley: So then I started going to Bob Elcocks one day workshops, they were excellent just like Colin’s but then Bob finished them through ill health, but I do still keep in touch with him. Now I joined the community last year, this is our pastel pencil community and I've always been a fan of Colin’s art and his willingness to help others, the bottom-line is that I was 80 years old last month and I thought, what I want to do with my birthday? I know, I’ll sign up for a year with Colin Bradley art.

Colin Bradley: wise man.

Stephen Bradley: well there is plenty to get your teeth into with our membership but now that was…I thought that was a really nice email.

Colin Bradley: nice again yes, it's nice when these come up from the past and suddenly yes I remember, I don't always remember people but obviously I remember the locations.

Stephen Bradley: yeah, well you did a lot of workshops all out of the country.

Colin Bradley: I did, hundreds…

Stephen Bradley: did you go…you went to Edinburgh one point, didn’t you?

Colin Bradley: I did I went to…

Stephen Bradley: you drove to Edinburgh, didn’t you?

Colin Bradley: I did it and that’s 2 years on the trot successive years and he wanted me to go back to the third year but that happened to be when I was retiring and it was a long drive, I drove up there.

Stephen Bradley: it took you like?

Colin Bradley: it took me…oh I can't remember.

Stephen Bradley: you did it over 2 days, didn’t you? Because you stayed over.

Colin Bradley: I did, when I went up there but I came back in one go.

Stephen Bradley: did you?

Colin Bradley: It was a long way to come back yeah.

Stephen Bradley: You must've had to fill up with petrol, didn't you?

Colin Bradley: oh yes, I had to…

Stephen Bradley: you can’t get there on 1 tank.

Colin Bradley: it was a long way to go…no, it wasn’t. It wasn’t Edinburgh, it was way up past Edinburgh.

Stephen Bradley: was it?

Colin Bradley: was right up to…what’s the name of it? Right up to top of Scotland.

Stephen Bradley: not John o Groats or anything.

Colin Bradley: no, no, no.

Stephen Bradley: that’s like the top, isn’t it?

Colin Bradley: No it was right up there, on the top ledge. If you look at Scotland they got the top ledge.

Stephen Bradley: so you drove the entire length of the country…because we are down in the southeast.

Colin Bradley: Yeah

Stephen Bradley: pretty much the length of the country.

Colin Bradley: yep

Stephen Bradley: bloody hell

Colin Bradley: it was for a week, a week’s workshop so I stayed there…Scottish castle, interestingly enough this castle just by the way as we came out the dining room I saw…it was made obviously stone and there was a lot of cut marks on the stone and when I inquired about it “oh that's where they used to sharpen the swords before they went out.”

Stephen Bradley: really? Wow

Colin Bradley: The Scottish Highlander used to…

Stephen Bradley: sharpen their swords on the…

Colin Bradley: sharpen their swords

Stephen Bradley: on the walls

Colin Bradley: some of the wall, just a by the way

Stephen Bradley: that’s amazing

Colin Bradley: I had to throw that in.

Stephen Bradley: that’s really cool

Colin Bradley: I had a lot of fun.

Stephen Bradley: It sounds like…it sounds like yeah. Worth it, worth a long drive but yeah I remember when you retired from doing those, it just took a lot of you though…that was a lot of driving, a lot of travelling, a lot of packing up the car with all of the stuff that you needed to take because people didn't need anything, did they? You had the pencils for them.

Colin Bradley: I had all the pencils, all the paper.

Stephen Bradley: yeah, they had everything, didn't they?

Colin Bradley: that's why they kept coming back. It was so easy.

Stephen Bradley: okay, thanks Bill. Thanks for getting in touch. Okay, the last one here is from Neil, hi Collin I've been watching your video on the Constable's Cornfield that you put on the website, you mention that you didn't know the exact size of the original painting, well I can tell you it measures 143 x 122 centimetres.

Colin Bradley: that’s a pretty big painting.

Stephen Bradley: that is big painting.

Colin Bradley: and I did A4 size.

Stephen Bradley: yeah, that’s big.

Colin Bradley: it was big, bigger than that.

Stephen Bradley: I just was looking at the “Polperro Harbour” behind us where we were recording this and that’s…

Colin Bradley: kitchen table

Stephen Bradley: yeah.

Colin Bradley: yeah that table 70 centimetres long, so what was that? 113 centimetres?

Stephen Bradley: wow

Colin Bradley: so can you imagine how large that picture is?

Stephen Bradley: that’s pretty big, isn’t it?

Colin Bradley: it is big picture.

Stephen Bradley: wow okay, we haven’t got a big enough camera for that, a wide enough lens. Neil says your finished drawing is absolutely superb along with the contents of the videos, being a novice to drawing I'm finding your teaching methods very easy to follow and once mastered produce excellent results and Neil asked if I email some work I've done could I get some critique.

Colin Bradley: absolutely

Stephen Bradley: of course you can Neil.

Colin Bradley: that's what we're here for

Stephen Bradley: as a member you get critique and feedback on your work so yeah, that's great. So thanks everyone for all of your emails and all of your kind comments and feedback and your questions, this is what this podcast is for.

Colin Bradley: it keeps me going Steve, all of that - food.

Stephen Bradley: yes it feeds you

Colin Bradley: that’s it, feeds me

Stephen Bradley: thanks everyone, well keep sending it because we need to feed him…that’s to keep dad going and enjoying this all. But no, I mean, I know you see a lot of stuff that we…all the emails and the YouTube comments and stuff and we obviously we pick stuff for this podcast that we feel will add value to what people are consuming, so keep them coming in, keep all your comments and questions in and such coming in and then we'll keep doing this podcast sharing it.

Colin Bradley: lovely

Stephen Bradley: lovely okay, thanks dad.

Colin Bradley: That's all right my pleasure

Stephen Bradley: and we’ll talk next time thanks everyone for listening, I'm Stephen Bradley

Colin Bradley: and I'm Colin Bradley

Enjoy your week! [Both saying in unison]

May 30, 2018 04:01 AM PDT

Announcing a brand new section to Colin Bradley Art: Demonstrations

Back when I would travel the country doing demonstrations at shows and art groups, I would show off just how good the pastel pencils can be. I loved this part of the job because of the audience reaction. The “oohs” and “aahs” were actually audible in the crowd, they were seeing magic.

When we choose projects for our students, we have to think about how the subject material will translate to a lesson. Would it make a good lesson and would the student be able to do it?

Well, with Demonstrations I am truly showing what the Pastel Pencils can do and more importantly, how far you can take them.

In truth, I have surprised myself with the work I have produced. I didn’t intend for people to follow them as a project as they are very difficult. It’s more to show you advanced techniques and the results you can achieve with the pencils.

If you have read my art story then you will know I am an avid fan of John Constable’s work. In this first demonstration I will show you how I did his picture of “The Cornfield” with pastel pencils.

If you would like to hear behind the scenes of why I chose Constable, the materials I used and what’s to come. Here is a transcription of the episode if you want to read the show

Stephen Bradley: Hello and welcome to Colin Bradley Art Cast, I’m Stephen Bradley

Colin Bradley: and I’m Colin Bradley

Stephen Bradley: this is a very special show, people don’t realise what’s coming up but this is something that we’ve been planning for a long time and it’s really exciting to be able to talk about it finally and reveal it.

Colin Bradley: I’ve been chomping at the bit as you know with the last podcast we’ve been doing.

Stephen Bradley: and we have been teasing…

Colin Bradley: hold back Colin

Stephen Bradley: we’ve been teasing people a little bit as well, haven’t we?

Colin Bradley: yeah

Stephen Bradley: throughout talking about PastelMat, talking about this and that, well finally we can reveal what it’s all about and what’s to come. So, we’re launching…we will talk about it in a moment throughout this podcast but in a brief summary we’re introducing a new section on the website for ALL IN members only called “demonstrations”, and these pictures are in one word stunning, it’s unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. No holding back, this is incredible to watch. So, let’s start because the first picture which people would have hopefully seen by now, it would be on the website, it will be on the Facebook page, you can check it out while you’re listening to this. We’re going to talk about the first demonstration which is “Constable’s -”, what’s the actual?

Colin Bradley: The Cornfield

Stephen Bradley: So why constable? Why did you choose this demonstration of the Cornfield from Constable and why him?

Colin Bradley: Well, first of all why constable, well as people would know if they’re regulars and have known me a while I’m a great Constable Fan and I started off in the National Gallery as people know from the art story, I saw his work there and was bowled by it and I remember thinking of myself at the time one day I would love to do that, not realising I was practical not realising I would never would be able to, but one day. So, it’s really come full circle…why Constable? he’s a great artist and there’s nothing about his work that you can look at and think yeah well that’s okay but, his skies were great, his trees were phenomenal, his characterisations were out of this world and one of the things I remember looking at his pictures in the National Gallery, I got as close as I possibly could to the picture and I didn’t understand how he can create a character with just splashes of a paintbrush, that’s all it was, twist here, twist there and he had a character. But I realised that that’s where the mastery is, that’s where the true artist comes from, it’s something that you having inside you that you can see and understand exactly how you want that character to present themselves to be alive.

Difficult to explain, you’ve got to see it. So this is really why Constable…his animals were great, a lot of his work was impressionistic in terms of it didn’t put every blade of grass in, he didn’t put every leaf in but it looked like he did. That’s the difference between him and a lot of the other impressionistic pictures who didn’t worry about so much Monet particularly didn’t have…worry about that, but still they were still great artists in their own right, so that’s why Constable fitted me like a glove.

Stephen Bradley: and you can really see the influence in his style in your work.

Colin Bradley: you can.

Stephen Bradley: it’s very much you’re the John Constable of pastel pencils.

Colin Bradley: I think you’re probably right there, well I wouldn’t have certainly wouldn’t have been presumptuous or enough to say that, but now you said it yes probably right. I have been influenced even was being influenced since from the beginning and still am. A lot of the work, but I never even dreamed the pastel pencils could produce the kind of results that people would have seen in this picture.

Stephen Bradley: that leads on really nicely to the next question. So with this demonstration which materials did you use and why is it so different from your other work?

Colin Bradley: right, well if I had been sticking with the ingres and restricted to the colours that I have in the Faber range, I probably couldn’t have done it. It’s because when I decided to start a new demonstration section, I thought okay, this is a demonstration only we don’t expect the people to do this picture. However, as you know I’m giving them a line drawing if they want have a go they can, but they’ve got to remember that this is going to be extremely difficult to do, however it’s there as a demonstration to show how good the pastel pencils are if you broaden your range which is what I did, the range I had was the normal Faber range and I introduced some Cretacolor and some Swan Stabilo CarbOthello pencils, they’re the only three makes but people when they look at the picture and they have other makes, they couldn’t put the colours, suitable colours in. It’s just that I wasn’t going to restrict myself, had I done I wouldn’t be able to produce the picture, it’s as simple as that.

So that’s the first thing, so you’ve got to expand the range. I decided having done…well I must have done about a dozen pictures before I tackled this and you’re going to see them all on the website eventually. So that gave me practice.

Stephen Bradley: a dozen pictures on PastelMat

Colin Bradley: on PastelMat

Stephen Bradley: so the key difference with this one and the ingres is the pastel…the difference the PastelMat has made.

Colin Bradley: the PastelMat made yeah. PastelMat, and I found the colour that suited me best was the dark grey for some reason, I used the green and I’d use the blue and I think they worked very well but this particular picture needed the dark grey and armed with that, it was…it worked really well it meant I could lay the colours one after the other on to the PastelMat and create a depth which I probably wouldn’t be able to on a lighter colour, so this is the reason I chose the dark grey and the other reason is that, I used the white tracedown that we have, now with the dark grey you can’t…you can but it doesn’t work if you use the graphite.

Stephen Bradley: you can’t really see a pencil line on it.

Colin Bradley: you can’t see it for one thing, you’ll be lost completely and so the white tracedown work really well but here came another problem, you can imagine how intricate the picture could have been with the Cornfield, is so much detail in there and trying to draw it as you would draw a picture and you’ve seen me do animals and landscapes before where I put a lot of detail in and then erase it slightly so that I can fill it in and not have the graphite affect the…pastel can’t do that with pastel that and the white trace down, what you get is an outline only just the outline, so you have to do a lot of creativity and a lot of thought has to go into each section of the picture you’re doing, you can’t just go round fill in the detail.

Stephen Bradley: Yeah

Colin Bradley: you fill in the lines, so you’ve got a lot of work to do but that was an advantage. So really I was going back to what Constable would have done originally, he would have produced wash on and it would have been a darker wash on his canvas and then he would have used a paint brush I’d expect or charcoal whatever he decided to use to give himself outlines. Now, once you put oil on top of the outlines you can’t see it anymore, it’s gone.

Stephen Bradley: yeah.

Colin Bradley: so you have to be creative within that…

Stephen Bradley: because you can’t do that with pastel pencil

Colin Bradley: no

Stephen Bradley: you can’t just layer it and it’s gone

Colin Bradley: well actually I was doing that. One of the advantages I had by having the dark grey though, if I was doing say a face for instance I could leave traces of the pastel paper or the PastelMat showing through so I could see where my lines were, in other words put the white on then I’ll put a darker colour for the stronger tones, I don’t have to explain it, you can see that later on.

Stephen Bradley: definitely you will see it.

Colin Bradley: when you see the demonstration but this change the way I worked and as soon as I started I realised this was going to be hard for people to pick up because you have to have a lot of experience really to understand it. However one of the other things that I found when you’re doing clouds for instance, I mean, people have seen my clouds, people say wow you can make a good job of clouds but you’ve got a restriction on the ingres. I know I’ve done sunsets and darks and clouds before but the clouds on Constable’s pictures need a lot more intensity and this is where I thought okay, PastelMat will give me that, it did.

Stephen Bradley: why is that? Is because you can put more pastel on?

Colin Bradley: yes you can put more on although you still got a restriction, you still cannot keep putting it over and over and over like oil or acrylic you can do that, it won’t work and you have to put base colours on to…people think oh, you don’t need to do that anymore, you do, you do need the base colour needs to go in and then the colours subsequently on top, so you still work from light to dark.

Stephen Bradley: pastel pencils are still translucent

Colin Bradley: they are

Stephen Bradley: they are still the same medium, doesn’t change the medium.

Stephen Bradley: it just changes the application

Colin Bradley: no, however what happens is the effect that you see almost immediately as soon as you start putting it together you see immediately something different about it. Now if you’ve got the experience then you can manipulate, that’s the best word I can go, you can manipulate the pastel pencil to work like oil and when you see a close up… when I’m doing the trees or the foliage and the branches and all the other bits and pieces you’ll see it looks like oil actually when I finished it. So, you’re getting the same kind of effect but it has to, if you want to produce the Cornfield like Constable does you’ve got to make it look like oil which it does and that’s only because we have the combination of those three things. We have the pastel pencil range which is extensive. You’ve got the PastelMat paper the dark colour and you’ve got the white tracedown which gives you the three ingredients really that go to make it up, the only thing that we can’t give you is the skill.

Stephen Bradley: that then nicely brings on to the next question, so these demonstrations are designed for (if you’re going to follow them) for a certain skill level. What was your reasoning behind doing these demonstrations originally because demonstrations that you’ve done in the past out on the road, in the art groups and such, it has been a demonstration they have not followed you, they’ve just been watching what you can do.

Colin Bradley: absolutely

Stephen Bradley: and feel inspired

Colin Bradley: that’s right

Stephen Bradley: is that the focus that you are coming out with this?

Colin Bradley: exactly, that’s exactly it. The idea is that I wanted to show how good the pastel pencils were, when I used to do my demonstrations at the shows and the art shows and all over, I was there to sell the idea of the pastel pencil and this is what I’m doing again. I want people to be inspired to see how good they are, they’re not just throwaway medium, well yeah they’re only a pencil, no longer they are not, now they are a force to be reckoned with and I really don’t think there is another medium that could other than oil that could have produced it, okay you say well yeah but if I got oil paints, will I be able to do it? No, you won’t. To do oil painting to the level that we have in Constable I couldn’t do it, I really couldn’t do it. If you said to me they are Colin, all the oil paints, here is your brushes now go and produce a Constable like the Cornfield I couldn’t do it. I would have to have lots and lots and lots of practice, even then I don’t think I could have done it, the sort of colour mixing for one thing which you got to master before you even begin, so no you couldn’t do that, and so I think this is the only medium that could have produced a Cornfield like I did.

Stephen Bradley: now, when people are…say if people just want to watch this, the techniques that they’ll be able to watch you use and the effects that you’re able to produce are really going to be something different to what they’ve seen before.

Colin Bradley: I would say not so much different but a different way of utilising the same thing, it’s like someone cooking a really fantastic meal with a set of ingredients and if you are a master chef that is going to taste fantastic, if you’re someone who is just started it’s not going to taste fantastic at all. So what you’ve got basically is all those ingredients I have put together but you have to have a certain understanding of how that’s put together, but I would say that if you’re inspired by this you could use some of the techniques that I’m using, you could use them on your PastelMat paper even on your ingres. I don’t think it’s going to be wasted, the idea though is to inspire, you used the word inspire and this is what I want to do, to inspire people to say gosh one day like I did many years ago, one day I’d love to be able to do that. Because you know I started from nothing, I did no experience at all and my first efforts were very poor. Now I’m producing pictures to the standard that I am. It’s only because I’ve worked at it and I love the work that I do and I love doing these pictures because for what… for the first time really I’ve been let off the leash.

Stephen Bradley: Yeah, that’s lovely. So let’s talk about the pictures that are going to be coming up, let’s whet people’s appetites with revealing the Constable, people will be able to see that demonstration, where did it go from there?

Colin Bradley: well, although we had the good idea of doing this, I didn’t really at that time when I did the Cornfield I didn’t realise just how much enthusiasm I would have to continue with it. I thought this is in fact when I looked at it today my first thought was I don’t know, I don’t know and I looked at it… I don’t know, shall I and then I thought well why not, let’s have a go with it. Because it was quite an undertaking. As soon as I started I knew that I was going to finish it because I was loving every minute I was doing it, I really enjoyed it, now having got that far and seeing the end results I showed to people, friends and family and everybody was just bowled over but there was no explanation and I remember your sister’s partner, he looked at it and he was just absolutely lost for words…I can’t believe he said, and he’s seen my work before.

And this kind of reaction is what I would expect people to see and say goodness you didn’t do that with pastel pencil, no way. So, that inspired me to think right if I can do a John Constable Cornfield that people know and love and can go to the National Gallery because it’s hanging in London in the National Gallery and see for themselves, can I do it with others? Then we talked about the idea of doing this…extending it, not just as a one off demonstration but as a series and from then onwards the next one I did was the Gainsborough, “Mr. and Mrs. Andrews” if anybody knows about it. I did that because I wanted to do a portrait but I wanted to do a portrait in the landscape. The portraits were…although I’m not knocking Gainsborough at all, I wouldn’t dream of that but some of his pictures weren’t that great and really wouldn’t be inspirational for people to do, but “Mr. or Mrs. Andrews” was, it had everything in it, that lovely sky it had the landscaping, it had the two characters- central characters and had a dog and it had some sheep, what more do you want?

So that inspired me while I was looking for was pictures that inspired me if and I want to do them, so that’s where we moved on and then we moved on from there to the Renoir. I love Renoir people know that, we’ve done a couple haven’t we already and I think they’ve gone down very well so I wanted to do one a little different, completely different in fact from Constable & Gainsborough. So it was very impressionistic and that came out really well, very colourful. And then after that we did the Monet the poppy field, well people know that, everybody knows that it’s a picture that I was going to do another Monet a less popular one that people may have seen or may not have seen, but I thought no, let’s do one that people know just like the Cornfield, they know this picture and that came out well, didn’t it? And I’m doing another one which is Vittorio…

Stephen Bradley: Reggiani

Colin Bradley: and I did a picture, people may remember actually years ago I did a picture and showed it on the website, on the member site of lace makers, remember? And I did…there is still a demonstration on the website showing the…

Stephen Bradley: lace

Colin Bradley: …satin, the lace yes or the satin dress. So I want to do a bigger one and I’m a quarter of the way through that and it is absolutely stunning. If I were to whet your appetite these three ladies are in the foreground, beautiful dresses obviously they’re beautiful women, he wouldn’t paint anybody who wasn’t…and I’m following his picture quite closely but I’m still putting my take on it as I have done with the others, but on the back cloth there’s a marble pillar, right, and even I was stunned when I finished it, I looking back and I thought…you haven’t seen it yet Steve but I’ll just show you later. How can that possibly be it looks like a marble pillar, so there you are.

I think I have whetted your appetite enough

Stephen Bradley: there’s so much to be looking forward to everyone and, I mean, we can’t wait to start showing these and showing how far you can take the pastel pencil medium, it’s very exciting and we really hope that you enjoy watching them and as always, let us know your feedback of how you found it and what you think of the demonstrations, but we’ve got some really as you’ve heard some really exciting pictures to come.

Colin Bradley: And also Steve can I butt in and say that if anybody’s got any particular favourite, we’re talking about masters now, we are talking about not some obscure artist, it’s got to be someone who is recognised and well known and if you have a particular favourite artist or you have a particular favourite picture that could be universally accepted let us know.

Stephen Bradley: yeah do, absolutely. Well, if you’re an ALL IN member then you can start watching that demonstration if it’s not already out by the time this podcast comes out, they will be out very soon after, so check back on the website and we can’t wait to see what you think, so thanks everyone for listening I’m Stephen Bradley.

Colin Bradley: and I’m Colin Bradley

Enjoy your week! [Both saying in unison]

If you want to learn about our membership and how you can get ALL IN Membership click here: https://www.colinbradleyart.com/home/sign-up

For those that are already members we hope you enjoy the Demonstration and look forward to more subjects coming soon.

May 21, 2018 02:48 AM PDT

In this episode Colin answers your questions including "when do you call yourself an artist?"

Listen to his advice as we discuss this and other points including laying enough pastel to cover the paper and the 2 Ballet Dancers picture.

May 04, 2018 04:17 AM PDT

In this episode we talk about how Colin achieves a "harmony" throughout his pictures, using the Two Pretty Birds picture as an example. We also discuss how the colour of the paper can influence your pictures and Colin explains why dark grey PastelMat is becoming one of his favourite papers to use.

Other topics for this week include drawing tree leaves, Tiziano Ingres and off-white papers.

April 07, 2018 07:40 AM PDT

In this episode we answer your questions and talk about Colin's recent pictures in PastelMat. Questions we cover include:

- Copyrighting your Pastel Paintings
- Erasing and Blending on PastelMat
- Drawing the Northern Lights
- Correcting Over Application with Fixing

If you enjoy our podcast we'd love it you could leave us a review over on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/colin-bradley-art-cast/id591646841

March 12, 2018 08:20 AM PDT

In this episode Colin begins talking about his process of choosing pictures and challenging himself. We also recount some key turning points in his career and inspirations.

We also talk about impressionism, the new picture Hopalong Cassidy and which base colours to use on darker paper.

March 01, 2018 10:35 AM PST

In this episode we cover a number of your emails and questions. We discuss:

> Laying down too much base colour
> How much pressure to use with Pastel Pencils
> Differences between using warm and cool tones
> Building base colours

Items mentioned on the show:

> Harry's YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqp5eHE8m8UlviPD20Ra52w
> Harry's Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel Video Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ev3uJVqoEm0&feature=youtu.be
> Harry's Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel Written Review: http://www.theartgearguide.com/home/faber-castell-pitt-pastel-pencils
> The Art Gear Guide Website: http://www.theartgearguide.com/

> Faber-Castell Colour Chart: www.colinbradleyart.co.uk/home/new-faber-castell-colour-chart/

> Link to Feedback Show #43: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6GFf-UkAgQ

February 06, 2018 03:10 AM PST

In this podcast Colin shares his experience of teaching in person classes. We also answer your questions including:

- Drawing Black & White Portraits
- Storing Pictures
- Drawing your own pictures
- Drawing white hairs over a background
- Filling Paper with enough Pastel
- Painting animals with watercolour

December 16, 2017 01:55 AM PST


We cover a lot of topics in this last show before the New Year:

> Crushing the paper and how many base colours to lay
> How to make animals more realistic by interpreting what you see
> Choosing colours for portraits
> Which graphite pencils to use for a graphite project
> Drawing Bricks and Buildings
> Using Sand Paper for Pastel Pencils

We end the show with a couple of success stories which we hope will inspire others to see what they can achieve.

Merry Christmas and have Happy New Year! Here's to all the stunning projects coming out in 2018!

November 24, 2017 06:28 AM PST

We answer a number of questions on this week's podcast. Topics include scanning your artwork, drawing flamingos, upcoming calendar of projects and combining using polychromos and soft pastel on ingres and pastelmat papers.

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