8/4/10

Day 3, Confetti, Underpainting & Walnut Grove

I forgot to post this photo on my first day, and I felt it was important, so this is a little out of order.

Have you ever wondered how Albert Handell's pochade box is arranged? We waited with baited breath to see what he'd unveil and to our amazement, it was all arranged like confetti! I thought there would be a method to it all, neat as a pickle, but to Albert's defense he says when it's chaos, he doesn't get bored...and it is more interesting to just seek and find the right color/value. Very interesting, and surprising!

OK, now on to the day's work...

Today, Albert demonstrated his watercolor under painting method and told us we could do either watercolor or use pastel and wash with alcohol effectively while out in the field.


He began with a drawing in pencil on UART paper. He was thoughtful where he wanted the trees to go, taking great patience with their placement. He then implied darks, and with such intention he threaded the cast shadows of the branches.


Then he took Paynes Gray, Sap Green and a few other watercolors to create a very soft and wet underpainting. Again, his process took as long as the drawing. He then shared that the edges should be hard and soft from left to right, and top to bottom. Midway through his painting process, he said "feels good". Yeah, I'd like to say that too! Each phase of the painting took the same amount of time, 2 hours total.

Another beautiful piece!

We then went out to a magical Walnut Grove that had some really incredible trees and lighting. The shadows moved very fast because we were closer into the subject matter as opposed to a great expansive area.

Here is my pastel with alcohol underpainting. The alcohol dried so fast, that it didn't drip and wash over like fluid. Kinda blocky, but I didn't want to fuss with is so to get on with the party!

My resolve of the Walnut Grove.

Afterwards we met back at the studio for today's critique. In my piece, the lower portion is weak and the values in this area need to be darkened. Also, the sun spots need to be brighter and possibly more orange to show the filtered light dappled on the ground. The upper portion is "strong".

Tidbits from todays workshop:

Take your strong points and strengthen them.
Compare edges by top to bottom, left to right...one edge should be sharp, the other soft.
When in doubt (with an area of your painting), do nothing.
Use the negative space to shape trees with soft and hard edges.
When the sun comes through the trees, it goes through a prism and gets warmer. ( I gotta use this tidbit on today's painting!)
Simplify!

Tomorrow, will be a really long one, starting with a demo on trees, eat lunch, then each and every one of us are to bring in 6 pieces, (either from this workshop of from past work) and he will critique till 9:00. By this time the sun will be down, and then we will have a slide show of his work and a lecture. So I don't think I'll be in any shape to post tomorrow. :(

6 comments:

Donna T said...

Thanks again very much, Brenda! What an awesome workshop this is. Your painting turned out really well and you deserve to be proud of working under pressure like that. My watercolor underpaintings always look weak and wimpy when they dry so I'll try the pastel/alcohol method and see if it helps. The thoughts about edges are really helpful. Thanks again and enjoy your time with the master!

B Boylan said...

Thanks Donna.
The workshop HAS been incredible! I've been running on adrenaline and I'm not sleeping at night because I'm digesting that day's work. I'm looking forward to his slideshow tonight with discussion on what he has been teaching. It will be a marathon for sure!

Casey Klahn said...

I have lost sleep at night at workshops, too!

Take care and I appreciate these blogs!

Robert Sloan said...

Thanks again for sharing your experience, Albert's paintings, yours and so many interesting tips. Some of them are new to me, but I'll be applying them the next time I do trees. Which may be very soon.

Carrie H. said...

OK, if I did pastels, I would have a messy box like that. I could keep that organization up just with a shake.
Did he have any good plein air stories?

B Boylan said...

Robert,
Thanks for commenting on this series. I'm glad you found some interesting tips, it makes reading through a blog all the worthwhile!

Carrie,
Just a shake!? I don't know if you'd like to shake up a pastel box, for you'd just have have grey dust! :) Albert didn't have any really juicy plein air stories, none like we do! See you in the hood.