8/3/10

Day 2, Work hard, play hard...

Today was a blast! I say this because the laughter... it could be a bit distracting to others, but is most enjoyable for me when a painting session is going well, or even bad, because a bad day painting is better than a good day at the office. I will explain later....

This morning upon our 8:00 arrival, we were to return to the site of our first painting to view it in the different light. It was very different to say the least. From my post yesterday, the site was much cooler, with a high key and fog, soft fog that made any edge blend. The artists were to paint beginning at 8am and be ready for Albert's demo at 11:00. So here is today's first out of the gate...

He has been talking a lot about vignettes and letting the imagination complete the edges. And so I've been trying this myself.

Albert's demonstrations always begin promptly. He was clear that he wanted us to wait till the end to ask questions. As the demo went along his instruction became less frequent and he spoke more quietly, all because of his intense study of the subject and painting. Funny enough, people still blurted out a question here and there, with a short quip they were quieted. I found this interesting and wondered how many times this happens to him at workshops.

As Albert became closer to the "resolve", he didn't speak at all and you could hear a pin drop if there were one! He began with the farthest area first and worked forward, towards the foreground where the "party" is. To tone his paper, he did it by a soft wisp of pastel, then wiped it downward with a paper towel. He did that incrementally as he progressed in the piece. He also modified his colors with another like-valued color to make it "dance". It was magical to watch this process and wish I could explain more, but even he didn't explain it...all I could do was watch with complete enjoyment. It's a language, yes, a visual language that I believe artists can only understand when they are creating. Ok, I digress...

Anyway, here is his finished piece.

Yes, beautiful!

So after the admiration had died down, we all spread out to get down to business. Everyone was feeling more comfortable today after settling in and the work improved as well.

Ok, so about the laughter...
As we began our afternoon work, the sun finally came out, and boy was it sunny! So, like any fair skinned blonde, I sprayed my sunscreen all over me and enjoyed how nice and cool the mist of the spay was. After capping the bottle, realized I just sprayed SpectraFix all over me! Now I'm preserved and ready for framing! We LAUGHED so hard that the other painters nearby wanted to know what was so funny... Anyway, I guess you had to be there.

This was my afternoon piece, looking Southeasterly. Oh, I will have to tell you about the location of this workshop in another post, it's incredible to say the least! More on that later, I promise!

We were to meet again in the studio for our day's critique and we went through everyone's pieces from the day. Albert commented that he has noticed a good amount of improvement in many of the artists. Gladly, I got kudos from Albert on this piece just above. I just need to work a tiny bit on the small Queen Anne's Lace that is in front of the fir tree.

After the crit, my painting buddy and friend Gretha Lindwood and another artist Eileen Holzman went out to a quick dinner and back to the site to do a 45 min study with Amanda Houston. The light and scenery was spectacular! I was so truly impressed, that it nearly took my breath away. Amanda, Gretha and I raced to get that one last mark down before the days' end. I painted the same scene again, because that is where I last left my easel and didn't want to waste any precious time finding a new location and set up. This one looks a bit yellowy on screen.

Tidbits from the day:
(sorry about the underscoring, I can't get rid of it)

Aerial colors look like this as they recede into the distance:
Blue gets lighter in the distance
White and yellow get gray or mauve
Red gets greener.
Even if you can't see it, you can make believe.
When you are painting close in subjects, the light/shapes change quickly than a large expansive area.
Translucent (light coming through trees) light is painted yellow.
Albert refers to pastels as chalk!
Never wear red, orange or yellow while painting. Wear muted colors because the warms will reflect and influence your work.

8 comments:

Donna T said...

Hi Brenda, Thanks for sharing this workshop! You are doing beautiful work. Was there a watercolor underpainting under these (and Albert's)paintings or did the paper towel do all the toning work this time?

Casey Klahn said...

I am reading intently, Brenda. Will comment more later.

B Boylan said...

Hi Donna, and thanks!
There was an underpainting for the 1st two with turpenoid, but the last one posted was painted with such a time restraint, the exercise didn't allow me to underpaint. I didn't have a paper towel with me either, so nope, it has none. The light was dramatic, changing fast over the rolling hills.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

No wonder you laughed! Great story about the sunscreen!
Your workshop paintings are beautiful!! Keep up the good work!

Casey Klahn said...

But I need to know if fixative works to prevent sunburns.

Kidding. You are very funny, Brenda! I'll bet Handell tells a story on you at his next workshop.

Your works are going well. I would be proud to do something like this at such a workshop. I get that AH is working on foregrounds and atmospheric perspectives. Fascinating. I also loved his article in TPJ this month.

Caroline Bray Art said...

Sounds like you've been having a great time! I particularly like the first piece and the vignette dea, it works beautifully here. You should try it again!

B Boylan said...

Katherine, yes, we laughed for about 5 minutes...it was funny! I'm just coming down from the week and am really tired. Hoping to get to work next week after I've had some rest.

Casey, no, it doesn't prevent sunburns, but I did apply a topcoat of sunscreen over the Spectra Fix. I just wanted to make sure I was ready for anything out there!

I feel that some of my pieces from the workshop were dogs, (especially the first day's work) only because I went into it with the idea that I was "learning" and not producing masterpieces. I will work more on my own independently after I get that much needed rest.

Caroline, I like the vignette one too, even if he didn't care for it. After coming home every night to see my work on my walls, I immediately felt like I had already grown, because the completed works seemed like they needed to be repainted altogether! Isn't that the way is goes?

Robert Sloan said...

It takes no explanation that a bad day spent painting is better than a good day at the office! That makes complete sense to me. In fact, that itself may define "talent" - whoever feels that way about painting is talented, whoever'd rather be in the office has a different personality.

Wonderful entry chock full of useful tips. I like the ones you listed at the end. Your paintings look great. I can see why Handell liked the one you did in the afternoon, it's gorgeous! Fascinating to see the same scene at different times of day. That's the sort of thing the Impressionists did and it's always cool. I think I like the brighter one a bit more than the 45 minute last study, but it's got stronger light, so that's a personal taste of mine. The 45 minute study is definitely a good painting, the other one just comes closer to my personal favorite.