Don Andrews demo Meeting recap – At our last member meeting on February 9, Don Andrews, AWS, flew in to teach our annual workshop, jury our show, and present a demo for our members meeting. There were 61 members in attendance!
Don is a nationally known artist, author and workshop instructor. He is known for his glowing landscapes and figures. His website is; please go check it out. His granular washes, vibrant colors mixed on paper, and positioning of lights and darks truly makes his paintings stand out. Right off the bat, he started the demo with a different set up: Don is a lefty; he paints standing up, and he paints at a roughly 35 degree (my rough estimate) slant. It was a truly pleasurable demo from my perfect viewpoint directly behind him, on the floor…some of us in the front row had to watch out for splashes of juicy paint now and then.
Our demo artist is a consummate pro; he came prepared with a pre-drawn landscape. He uses a Robert E. Wood palette, because he studied under Bob as his protege…he learned to mix colors, using mostly primaries; one set of warm (lemon yellow, cerulean blue, and scarlet lake) and one set of cool (ultramarine blue, burnt Sienna [warm yellow in this case] and Permanent Magenta [a true red]). With the addition of his namesake Cheap Joes American Journey Turquoise, and opera, his paintings glow with color and life.
Starting with his background wet into wet, using a 2” flat, he created his light value wash. Paint was mixed with water at around a 50-50. He taught us that most students usually have too much water in their brush, and reminded us that the paint will always dry lighter. Don’s brushes of choice are American Journey synthetic sable rounds, 10 and 12, and he paints a lot of his details with his 1” flat Robert Simmons white synthetic sable. This particular Simmons brush is only about 3/4” tall vs. most 1” flats, which are also 1” tall…too tall to hold a strong pigment for granulations.
After he let this initial wash dry, before our very eyes, he began adding more and more dabs of color in stronger values, until this beautiful painting emerged.
He explained how figures can add vibrance and movement to a composition. Providing us with specific directions on how to draw accurate figures will hopefully, lead to many of us including new figures in our paintings! Heads are rounded off rectangles, not “balls” on a stick. Human proportions are all similar: 10% head, 50% torso, and 40% legs will create a believable person.
Another cool thing Don does is keep a waterproof mat on hand so he can constantly check his composition – when a painting is properly matted, that wide band of white really helps to see where one needs to add or blend, soften or texturize, highlight or glaze, etc. Placing the mat on the just completed painting elicited genuine oohs and aahs…all in all, a very satisfying demo!
Thank you again to Don Andrews for so generously and patiently sharing his wisdom with us. Please go to:for his brand-new video series, Designing Nature, where he gives instant, (hilarious) and lifetime access to all of his teachings and demos in 35 tutorials. All for $99!!! I’m getting one as soon as it launches. Stay tuned for an announcement any day now.