A Natural Approach to Realism

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Paula Henchell - International Artist Magazine

Paula is one of our premier instructors and her artistic feats keep adding up. She is one of the reasons Swinton's has become such a great place in which to learn and create.


If you get a chance to pick up the June/July 2013 issue of International Artist Magazine, you will learn about her process in detail. See the step-by-step stages of working from a reference photograph on a toned canvas, how she builds her layers and uses glazing to get the beautiful subtle colours, all the way to the final painting. She reveals her palette and the kinds of brushes she uses to achieve her soft backgrounds and hard edge details of realism.


Here is an excerpt from the article:


I would call my style of painting "natural realism", sometimes boardering on contemporary realism. By that I mean that i approach my subject based on abstract design. I especially like painting flowers in oil... The human eye can only see the nearest flower in detail and the background becomes out of focus. I really like both soft and hard edges in my paintings, so i developed a "blended" look for my backgrounds and a more crisp, hard-edge look for my flowers to make them stand out.

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