• malcolm jarvis

Get 'down and dirty'!

Eleven Dot Colour Line Composition In coloured pencil and watercolour Courtesy of Dean Nimmer

Well, the polls have closed, the result is known and the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over. I'm back into the routine of teaching every Friday and preparing for my first one day workshop of 2020 on February 29th.

I only managed to produce a few paintings during the Christmas break. I started off with the best intentions determined to paint every day, or at least every two days. What's the saying? Something about best laid plans? While still recovering from an operation I had in October, I managed to do some sort of damage to my neck and shoulder muscles so ended up paying regular visits to the chiropractor. Since I paint standing up using the whole of my shoulder, painting was curtailed somewhat. To add insult to injury, I then went down with a chest infection so was confined to the house. Clearly the plans did not materialise.

Now I'm back into the tuition routine, time spent in the studio will be even more precious. If, like me you've been unable to paint as much as you would have liked over Christmas and now want to kick start your art, I have what the Americans would call a 'down and dirty' way of firing up those creative urges that is great fun and gets you playing with paint and creating images in a wonderfully free, loose way. It's called 'Connecting 7 Dots'.

Literally dot your surface seven times and get started connecting them with pattern and texture, colour and any kind of mark that comes out of you. All are welcome.

Because there are so many possible directions to go with this project, I recommend keeping it simple at first by using only one colour or black and white to see how it works. Of course, you can always skip ahead to colour and then you take it anywhere you want from there. Think of the original lines that you make as part of a skeleton that you’ll use to build your composition. There are limitless possibilities for compositions that begin with just seven dots! Or nine! Or even eleven (see the painting above)!

Have fun!





I'm Malcolm, a painter, tutor, lecturer and workshop instructor living in South Norfolk.

My years of painting experience have taught me to loosen-up, let go of fear and paint spontaneously.

My philosophy is ‘less is more’.

  • Fewer brushes for livelier, quicker painting.

  • Fewer paints for easy, straightforward colour mixing.

  • Fewer techniques for optimal results.​

But that doesn’t mean I ignore the basic fundamentals and principles upon which I believe all good painting should be based: shape, value, colour, edges and centre of interest.

​These foundations underpin all my work. If you want to paint portraits, abstracts, still life or landscapes, the same foundations apply; they will give you a solid basis for anything you choose to paint, regardless of subject or medium.

It is my intention to talk about these fundamentals in a straight-forward, no-nonsense, jargon-free way in this blog and to encourage you incorporate them into your work.

Thank you for visiting!

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