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Demonstration by Chris Forsey in Acrylics – Boats and Water

16th September 2023



The first demonstration of the Winter Series was given by Chris Forsey in Acrylics. His subject was Boats and Water.




Chris is an artist from Dorking Surrey and exhibits his work all over the South of England. He began his art career as an illustrator in a publishers studio after studying Graphics in Bristol.

He describes himself as a a self taught painter in watercolour, acrylics and mixed-media who is constantly trying to extend and add to his skills in all water-based painting media.



Chris is an elected member of The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours (RI) and The Society of Graphic Fine Artists (SGFA).



Bayard'sCove, Dartmouth.  Harbour buildings, water and boats under a dark sky.
Image courtesy of Simon Cobb, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The subject was the quay at Bayard's Cove on the River Dart. Chris' reference images had the sun coming from the left hand corner of the painting the time around mid afternoon so shadows were going to be important.



Chris used an Acrylic board as a support covered firstly with a coat of Gesso to give the surface more texture. Once dry he had then applied a coat of yellow ochre to give a warm base tone to the painting, and which he was happy to let show through to parts of the finished painting.



He had also completed a rough sketch of the subject.




Chris started by mixing acrylic medium with Prussian and cobalt blue for the water and a slightly darker mix for the sky, later adding in some cerulean blue for added brightness. His intention was to ensure that there was a good contrast between the sky and the buildings.


For the main parts of the painting, Chris used a 1" chisel / flat synthetic brush bought from Rosemary & Co, a general purpose brush which he likes because of their versatility, longevity and the variety of marks they can produce. He also uses them for watercolour!





Chris did some negative painting on the sea around the boat shapes and painted the buildings on the quay, picking out the windows and some other details. He then mixed purple & a very small amount of yellow and painted in the shadows on the buildings, remembering where the sun is shining from.



Next to get painted were the boats in the foreground, painted with the chisel brush; then the distant boats again painted with the chisel brush by using the brush at a different angle.



He painted some more detail using a smaller flat brush and then switched to applying black acrylic ink with a palette knife. He demonstrated how this is a great way the draw lines such as details on buildings and boats and the curved lines of mooring ropes.


He then mixed white acrylic ink and white paint and used to do highlights, masts on distant boats and building details. These he added with a piece of cardboard edge.





The audience thoroughly enjoyed the demonstration which was extremely professional and was projected onto a screen by a professional cameraman, the sound was good as well. All in all a very good demonstration to kick off the new season.



Chris is holding a solo exhibition in May 2024 in Cranleigh, Surrey from May 14th to 27th and is also holding an exhibition in Dartmouth.


Find out more about Chris and his work at his website chrisforsey.com.




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