ARTIST Richard Kitson travelled from Barnsley to give Keighley Art Club a demonstration of a portrait in oils.

One of his recent claims to fame is his appearance on Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 on Sky TV. His first international solo exhibition took place in Germany this year.

Trained in fine art at the University of Leeds, Richard’s gallery is in Barnsley and he has changed his teaching job to a part-time basis to concentrate on his personal art, which is drawing, painting and etching.

In November and December, Richard has workshops covering autumn landscapes, winter landscapes and skies.

His profile is on the Internet. Book by calling 07939 657631 or visiting

Richard allowed prefers to paint from life and not photos, as the interaction with the sitter or the conditions can affect the mood of the creative process and the end result.

The brushes he uses are hog bristle, with a sable brush for fine the work. Primed paper is used to demos, but canvas and board are used for other paintings.

At the Art Club, Richard used a limited palette of six colours from which he made his own black and secondary colours.

As for oil paints, he applied dried “true” and did not alter this, as acrylics dry darker and watercolours dry lighter. Richard’s first outline was roughly made in oil paint to avoid smudging, in simple strokes without a pre-painted background.

At the same time, Richard showed the extent of the eye line, then the nose line halfway from that, with the lower face being split into thirds.

Ears were marked between the eyes and nose, then the eyebrows, under the mouth, under the neck and cheekbones, before adding shadows and moving on to the background, clothing and hair, all in casual ‘stage one’ interpretation mode.

In part two, detail was added to a dry pre-prepared draft. Richard pointed out that he would now slow down the process. It could take two hours or two years before he was happy with the work.

Shadows were then calmed down by adding highlights or adjusting tones. Reds and yellows often feature at this stage.

The mouth is strengthened and shaped as it shows the sitter’s character. Adding stubble to the male portrait was captured in a greenish shade, and in strokes rather than stippling.

The evening’s painting was donated to Keighley Art Club, which planned to use it the following week, then offer. It as a prize for the club’s Christmas evening raffle.

The demonstration was at Keighley Healthy Living in Scott Street, where we meet on Wednesday evenings.

In April 2020 Keighley Art Club and Silsden Group will support Colin Neville’s art show which is being held in aid of Silsden Town Hall.