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More Techniques 5
- Glass

Trompe L'Oeil

Trompe L'oeil, translated from French, means "to fool, mislead, or trick the eye". You can learn more about its origins in the history section of this website.

Trompe L'oeil is about deceiving the eye into believing something 3-dimensional exists, when it does not. This deception has fascinated people for centuries and moved into various other illusions. Click on the links below to see examples:

Trompe L'oeil

Street Art

Forced Perspective

Other illusions

Light Sculpture

Light art is a form of visual art where the main medium of expression is light. Light has been used for architectural effect throughout human history. However, the modern concept of light art emerged with the development of artificial light sources and experimentation by modern art. One of the first to use this technique was László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946).

"I went to an exhibition of László Moholy-Nagy's work at the ICA in London in 1980. The thing that impressed me was the wide range of his interest. I thought: "He's just like me... I'm not alone after all."" - Richard Gentle

Click here to see some of Richard's light work

The Violin door in Chatsworth House
Painting Techniques

Contemporary artist, Mike Laxton, works with paint and stained glass. The paintings in his current exhibition in Wales show examples of how using a palette knife technique can convey the harsher qualities of the natural environment. (see more...)

The transparency of watercolour

Watercolour Discovery


Irish Sea - Mike Laxton

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Gesso - can be used to prepare your canvas for painting. You can buy gesso ready made (I saw some pots in 'The Works' shop recently) or make your own with baby powder, titanium white, water and glue. Gesso is very similar to white acrylic paint, only thinner. It dries hard, making the surface stiffer. Gesso prepares (or "primes") the surface for painting, making the surface slightly textured and ready to accept acrylic paint. Without gesso, the paint would soak into the weave of the canvas. In Art Colleges, many simply use white emulsion paint. (More...)

Watercolour - is a painting method in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble vehicle. The term "watercolour" refers to both the medium and the resulting artwork.

Oil - is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the dried oil paint film. Oil paints have been used in Europe since the 12th century for simple decoration, but were not widely adopted as an artistic medium until the early 15th century.

Gouache - also spelled guache, is a type of paint consisting of pigment, a binding agent (usually gum arabic), and sometimes added inert material, designed to be used in an opaque method. It also refers to paintings that use this opaque method. The name derives from the Italian guazzo.

Acrylic - is a fast-drying paint containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are water soluble, but become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted with water or modified with acrylic gels, media, or pastes, the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor or an oil painting, or have its own unique characteristics not attainable with other media.


Pencils - come in various forms, thicknesses and hardness - grey to coloured, soft to hard. Most pencils are used dry, but Caran d'Ache pencils are water-soluble and enable marks to be brushed with water, offering more versatility and effects.

Charcoal - Artists' charcoal is a form of dry (usually black) art medium, commonly made of finely ground organic materials that are held together by a gum or wax binder. Charcoal can be used like a pencil, but also dragged across surfaces on its side, and easily smudged in different ways using a dry cloth, sponge, or fingers, to create a variety of effects.

Pastel - is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all colored art media, including oil paints; the binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation. The color effect of pastels is closer to the natural dry pigments than that of any other process. Dry pastels are chalk-like and oil pastels have a soft, buttery consistency and intense colors.

Pastels have been used by artists since the Renaissance, and gained considerable popularity in the 18th century, when a number of notable artists made pastel their primary medium.


Methods & Practices


Chiaroscuro - (Italian for light-dark) in art is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition - often a monochrome picture made by using several different shades of the same colour. It is also a technical term used by artists and art historians for the use of contrasts of light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects and figures. (read more...) Session Tue 28 April 2015 | Session Tue 05 May 2015


Collage (from the French: coller, French pronunciation: is a technique primarily used in the visual arts, where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.

A collage may sometimes include magazine and newspaper clippings, ribbons, paint, bits of coloured or handmade papers, portions of other artwork or texts, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century as an art form of novelty.

The term collage was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art.


Découpage is the art of decorating an object by gluing coloured paper cut-outs onto it in combination with special paint effects, gold leaf and so on. Commonly an object like a small box or an item of furniture is covered by cut-outs from magazines or from purpose-manufactured papers. Each layer is sealed with varnishes (often multiple coats) until the "stuck on" appearance disappears and the result looks like painting or inlay work. The traditional technique used 30 to 40 layers of varnish which were then sanded to a polished finish.



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Tiny Artworks

Some tiny artworks by Lorraine Loots (shown on facebook)


Learn to draw everything
- with Alphonso Dunn

Alphonso Dunn has produced several YouTube videos about the artist's technique. View some here.

More Techniques

Creating texture in drawings