LRAS James Tatum Demo – 12th October 2021

Another exuberant and very entertaining artist for our third Demo, but something different and this time the medium was acrylics. 

James began his Demo by telling us how he prepared for a painting.  He felt it was important to get to know your subject thoroughly – he does many sketches en plein air, starting off small and gradually increasing the size. Once this has been completed he goes into his studio, does a charcoal study of his composition – now he feels he knows the subject and can put aside his sketches.

He began by doing some very, very speedy outlines in pencil of where he wanted to place hills, fields and the sea. Next he literally ‘slapped’ in the sky, some darks to complement each other – these were done with fairly large decorating style brushes. The painting, a view from Haytor on Dartmoor with the Tor behind him – try not to paint the obvious, turn round and look somewhere else was his advice. He proceeded to create the painting by adding a few more colours using the large brushes – as he approached the end of his work he used the paper plate and disposable palettes he had been using to hold his paint, to ‘print’ more texture and colour into the painting.  The horizon was popped in using paint on the edge of a shower scraper! Various twiggy bits went in with the help of chopsticks! In an hour we had gone from a blank sheet of paper to a fantastic, almost living, view of part of Dartmoor.

Demonstration 1 – View with Haytor Behind – James Tatum

After a brief break he was off again into painting number two.  This time we were introduced to a river scene at a section of the river Bovey which he created using the same preparation, back came the shower scraper for the nice straight trees and long grasses, more printing from palettes and a few sharp edges for plant life came from an old credit card – always wondered what to do with those!!

Demonstration 2 – River Bovey – James Tatum

What a thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting afternoon we had – we all went away with the enthusiasm to have a go ourselves.  Our thanks to James who not only dispelled myths – for example, never use black or Paynes Grey, but told us to use whatever works for us, we don’t need to copy anyone else – we are all individuals.

Report by Pat Dench

James runs weekend en plein air / studio courses based on “Power and Emotion in the Landscape” – please see his website for further details.

Visit James’s website at: