Friday, 12 July 2013

Painting With Energy

Silver Birch, The Wharfe below, watercolour 22x15in. ©Paul Talbot-Greaves 2013

This painting is typical of one of my energetic paintings. Painting with energy is not about 
randomly beating a brush across a piece of paper (even though that may be what it looks like). It is a very controlled and channeled force where the individual 'zones' into full concentration, allowing the painting to flow. Here are some tips for painting with energy:

1 First, be comfortable with your painting approach. You cannot 'zone in' if you are asking yourself questions such as 'which colour should i use?' or 'How do I paint that tree?' Pick a subject with which you are confident!

2 Work big so that you can let expression flow.

3 Allow the excitement of the scene to generate fast flowing energetic brush marks. The energy can be likened to that of a child running with excitement at the seaside. Just let yourself go!

4 Stand up to paint. Use full flow of the arm to sweep brush marks into the work.

5 Keep the painting flowing. Work it up as a whole rather than concentrating on one area at a time. Allow some areas to dry whilst others can be wet, creating surprises and happy accidents!

6 Spatter paint or water at your washes

7 When you 'zone in' the painting will flow like magic as you make multiple rapid decisions. Nothing should disturb the deep concentration of painting in the zone, which is why painting at night can be a good idea.


Paul Talbot-Greaves

Well it seems like summer is here at last and the landscape is really glowing at the moment. So what do you paint in high summer? Well colour is certainly predominant, so look out for impact or contrast, such as the lavender fields of East Yorkshire, or the tulip fields of Lincolnshire. I recently saw some poppy fields off the A57 in South Yorkshire and they just halted me in my tracks. The campion growing along the Eastern coastal edges of Yorkshire has been stunning this year, likewise the oil seed rape fields. At this time of year the sun is high and intense and this bleaches out values if you are not careful. Look towards the shadows for your subjects or go out early morning or later in the evening.
It has been a busy year so far with lots still to come. I have over 40 demonstrations this year from Pickering in the East, Lancaster in the West, Gosforth in the North and Bedfordshire in the South, 16 workshops and 60 course dates along with an exhibition in November. Sometimes I wonder how I fit it all in.
Holmfirth Artweek
For the last 15-18 years I have shown work at Holmfirth Artweek, which is held every year around Holmfirth near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. The main exhibition is one of the largest open art exhibitions in the country, featuring work by over 400 professional and amateur artists. It is a fundraising event with over £724 000 donated to Macmillan cancer support since it began. This year is very special to me as I am very proud to announce that I have received the Pennine Wealth Management award for ‘Best in Show’ with one of my paintings 'against the light'. I am totally amazed.

'Against the light'

Winner of the Pennine Wealth Management Award for 'Best in show' at Holmfirth Artweek 2013.
Sunday Times Watercolour Competition
Continuing with the good news theme, I have also had my work accepted into the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2013 in London. This is absolutely amazing. The Sunday Times competition is considered the largest and most prestigious watercolour competition in the UK. This year’s judges are: Julia Farrer Artist, Danny Markey Artist, Dr Susan Owens Curator of Painting, Victoria & Albert Museum, Hugh Pearman Critic & Writer, The Sunday Times, Desmond Shawe-Taylor CVO Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures. The exhibition will be shown at the Mall Galleries from 16-21 September after which it tours around the UK. More details from the Sunday Times watercolour competition website.

'A last look at Ingleborough before the sun goes down'

Watercolour & gouache, selected through a two stage judging process to be part of the Sunday Times Watercolour competition 2013
Painting Course availability
Weekend in Slaidburn
There are just two places available for the Slaidburn painting weekend on the 14 & 15 September. Slaidburn is a beautiful village in the Forest of Bowland and as ever, promises to be an enjoyable event full of inspiration, tips, techniques and demonstrations.
Acrylic workshop
A few places are available on the Weathered buildings in acrylic workshop on the 2nd November. If you paint in acrylic or are thinking of trying it, this workshop will provide you will all the tips and techniques that you need to produce a competent acrylic painting.
Ten-week Courses
There are just a few spaces left for the ten week Wednesday afternoon classes and Thursday evening classes at Coley.
If you would like to book on any of these courses just go to or email me at

The Artist Magazine
For those of you who paint, I am now working exclusively with The Artist magazine. I currently have a six part series based on watercolour with a further article about painting still life in acrylic due for November. There are many more pieces organised for next year so if you fancy a little inspiration, and not just from myself, then try it out. It is a great mag.


See how this painting was constructed in the November issue of The Artist Magazine.
 Exhibition - Harrison Lord Gallery
9th – 30th November 2013
Paul Talbot-Greaves and Catherine McGrath
One of the gallery’s most popular artists Paul Talbot Greaves’ accomplished and vibrant watercolours of the local countryside are the perfect contrast to McGrath’s earthy representation of the industrial landscape. If you enjoy local scenery this one is for you!
Harrison Lord Gallery, 5 Bradford Road, Brighouse, HD6 1RW

Happy painting!

Paul Talbot-Greaves