News from Colin's studio, art tips etc
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colin joyce fine art
Colin Joyce in his studio

Happy New Year from
Colin's Studio


January 2017

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Hello and welcome to my monthly art newsletter

Let's talk about:
  • You can now follow me on Instagram
  • Latest Paintings
  • Art Tips - How to make your painting look better
  • DVD Review - Peter Brown in France
  • Future offers
  • Moments Exhibition
  • What else is happening
  • Teaching and Events

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The newsletter should reach your inbox on or just after 15th of each month.

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I've recently started posting and growing my presence on Instagram. It's very popular for images.
If you want to follow me on that platform just click the link below

Latest Paintings

Here are three oil paintings which will be included in the 'Moments' exhibition in Edinburgh next month. The largest one measures 36 x 24 inches, whilst the two upright views of Venice are 24 x 12 inches.
At the other end of the scale I've also been working on a series of small watercolour images of the Bass Rock, which sits off the coast near North Berwick in Scotland.  I've completed three so far but have more in the pipeline. 

Each one is postcard size
I'd love to know what you think of my paintings.  Why not chat with me either on the social network links or by emailing me HERE

Art Tips

Each month I present little art tips which may be of help


Removing background clutter makes your paintings look better

There are three main parts to a scenic painting, foreground to lead you into the painting, middle ground where your centre of attention should be (remember this is where your darkest and lightest parts should be for maximum contract) and the background.

The background should not intrude on the painting's subject yet this is a mistake many people make and add all the detail they can see from front to back.  This is very easy to do because wherever you look, especially when paintings outdoors on site, your eye quickly focuses there. The problem isn't helped by today's automated cameras, especially phone cameras. They are set up to get as much of the scene in focus as possible. Great to look at, not so good to paint from.

So, what do you do?

Try squinting at the distant objects to blur them, or take your glasses off if that works for you.  Buildings are a prime example. Someone paints a scene and includes as much detail in the distant buildings as the foreground ones. Result, you lose depth in the painting and it looks, well, just wrong somehow.

Don't look at distant buildings and see, for example, seven or eight houses and proceed to draw out and paint each one. Instead, see just one connected shape and draw/paint it that way. Don't complicate it with detail.  Distant hills are exactly the same. Avoid painting trees miles away or adding bright colours. Just paint a muted shape and leave the detail for your main subject.

Here's a couple of examples:

In this scene, from the Grand Canal in Venice, my main subjects are the gondolas. The background buildings get less and less detail as they recede until they become a shape with a few variations of tone and nothing else.
Still in Venice, my main subjects this time are the people walking along the Strada Nova, the main route through the city when on foot. The background buildings again have very little detail, that's reserved for those nearby.
I do hope this tip will help you plan your future paintings.

Do you have any subjects you'd like me to cover?  If so, I'd love to hear from you so I can include them in future tips.

Watch out for more painting tips in my next newsletter.

DVD Review - Peter Brown

APV films say:
In this film Peter “Pete the Street” Brown takes his oils to southern France. He is happiest painting en plein air, whatever the weather and in Arles he finds plenty of sunshine and some great subjects. In the narrow streets and squares surrounding the Arles amphitheatre, Pete captures the hustle and bustle of street life whilst seizing the stunning light when it is at its best.
The latest art DVD to come out of the stables of APV Films, probably the foremost provider of art films in the UK, is a second featuring Peter Brown. As it was released just before Christmas I arranged for it to be on my 'list' and Santa was listening!

The first by Peter Brown, which I also own, was filmed in the UK.  This time he paints outdoors in France.

Peter gets to paint several subjects, some of which he returns to on a later day to continue and complete the work. He not only informs us but also delights us with his wonderful sense of humour and wit. Watching Peter's brushwork and method of painting can only help improve your own work. However, when he explains how and why he chooses a particular scene the learning process really begins. In one scene, the light changes and he has to decide whether to continue with flat light or adapt to the fact strong light and shadows have transformed the view in front of him. The ease with which he does that is a delight to watch.

Figures almost always appear in his paintings. Peter has mere moments to spot a potential 'model' but he must have a photographic memory, as he continues to place the figure in the scene long after they've walked on by.

The whole DVD lasts around 95 minutes and it's broken down into sections so you can choose what to watch.  I often watch one painting whilst having a break for a cuppa. I've already watched this one through twice.

Over the years I've built up quite a collection of APV films and never tire of watching them, always learning something at every viewing.

You can visit their site at

Future Offers

As work on my website shop nears completion I'll have special offers available to followers of my newsletter.

Last year I had a draw each month where one subscriber was drawn at random to win a print.  Once my shop is complete everyone will have a chance to be a winner in some way.  This will include special discounts, freebies etc so keep watching out for announcements. They may come as a separate email.


Moments Exhibition

I can't believe it's almost time. My next news update will be just 2 days before our exhibition preview.

I should soon have the paintings online probably as a page on my website.  I'll send out an email with the link when it's available.

For those of you closer to Edinburgh we do hope you can come along and say hello. Please also invite any friends, colleagues etc who you think would like to take a look. The more the merrier as they say.

Remember to let me know if you want an invitation to the special Preview Evening on Friday 17th February from 6 to 9pm. Ken is due to post these out soon but I can get one to you via email if you get in touch.

Exhibition continues until Saturday 25th February

So what else?

Leisure Painter magazine should be carrying my article about oil painting outdoors in their March issue due out on 27th January, I've not heard otherwise.  I'm busy writing another article about painting in watercolour, which should be published in time for the summer months.

I am planning to create some videos this year and have just purchased editing software. If all goes well I'll have my own Youtube channel on line in a few months time.

Teaching and Events

Full details will eventually appear on my new website but here’s a list of where you can find me in the coming months.


I currently run a monthly watercolour class at:
Dunfermline Art Club on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 9pm

Check with the club (or me) for actual dates - it’s usually the second week of the month.

Upcoming Events

Dalgety Bay Art Club - Full Day Workshop - Saturday 28th January 2017
Group art show 'Moments', Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh from 17th to 25th February 2017. Ken Young, Roy McGowan and myself
Dalgety Bay Art Club - Painting Demo - Monday 27th February
Bawtry Art Club Full Day Workshop Tuesday 28th March
Watercolour Instructor on Fred Olsen's Braemar (sailing from Dover)1st April 2017 9 nights
French River Cruising M1707
Weekend Watercolour Workshop 12th to 14th May 2017 - Burntisland, Fife.
Thomas Schaller Painting Holiday - 18th to 24th June 2017 - Burntisland, Fife
Victory Painting Group - Oil Painting Demo - 28th June 2017
Patchings Art Festival July 13th to 16th 2017, near Nottingham, England
Art in The Open Plein Air Painting Festival - 30th July to 7th August - Wexford, Ireland

Weekend Watercolour Workshop 22nd to 24th Sept 2017 - Burntisland, Fife.
Watercolour Instructor on Fred Olsen's Black Watch (sailing from Rosyth) 14th October 2017 16 nights
Landscapes of Portugal & the Caneries W1719
I hope you enjoyed this edition of the newsletter. Do please let me know what you thought about it. Thanks to those who took the time to get in touch last month, I really love to hear from you. It means a lot.

There's a contact form on my website or you can email me here

Do you know someone who might like to read this newsletter? 
Don't forget to share or forward using the links below. I really do appreciate it, thank you.
Copyright © 2016 Colin Joyce Fine Art, All rights reserved.

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