Carole Massey: Dancers in Mixed Media

Carole lives in Suffolk and has been a professional artist all her working life. After managing her own successful
graphic design partnership for over 20 years she returned to her first love of painting. This currently involves a
combination of tutoring, demonstrations, private commissions, exhibitions, TV appearances and filming for
a leading online website ArtTutor.com. One of her most acclaimed portrait commissions was for the Bank of
England of Sir Charles Bean, the then deputy governor. She is a contributor to The Leisure Painter magazine,
and has written various teaching Art books published by the award winning publisher Search Press with international
sales exceeding 200,000. Her Latest book ‘Drawing for the Absolute Beginner’ will be published early in 2018.


Carole has exhibited at The Mall Galleries in London and her work is in a number of private collections in the Uk and abroad.
For our evening demonstration she produced an homage to Degas of three ballet dancers in mixed media of acrylic
 and pastel on semi rough watercolour paper. Her paper was stretched while wet onto a board and taped down with
 gum tape. Once dry , if any cockling does occur despite this preparation she suggests sponging the reverse of
the paper and taping down again to remove most of the wrinkles.


She began by ‘tracing down’ her image of three dancers using carbon copy type paper. This allows her to use a sketch
on layout paper several times which saves time. She ( always) outlines over her initial lines to strengthen them and
applies a thin wash of acrylic paint , an underpainting, to block out areas of paper . She prefers to use a stay wet
palette with a lid, blotting sheets or kitchen towel and Daler Rowney tubes of acrylic. This keeps her paints wet and
useable for up to 3 weeks. She enjoys the versatility of using acrylic paints thinly or thickly and always keeps her acrylic
(hog and synthetic) and watercolour brushes separate so as not to clog up and ruin the later.


Her preferred pastels are artists quality Senelier as they have good pigment and are nice to use.
She happily uses her fingers to blend though some purists prefer to use tools such as silicon shapers, torchons,
cotton buds to avoid grease and sweat etc taking away the” bloom”. Rice,couscous or sand in tubs can be
used to clean the pastels. She estimates that 4 or 5 layers of pastel are possible before the paper loses it’s grip but
a brush off can restore it if you want to continue working on an area. Carole worked quickly giving lots of good advice
and showing her materials well. She was keen to emphasis white highlights and darkening areas at the end to enliven
work and emphasis light direction. She had bought along several other finished works to show the
audience who all seemed to enjoy her presentation.