I last left off with a marathon day looming on Thursday, coming home and hitting the hay at 12:30 each night. I'm trying to digest all that went on and so hopefully I can journal with some sort of semblance.
Thursday actually began with an Oil demo. He painted on linen mounted onto masonite board that is sturdy. He began with a very light mapping of the image in charcoal, a gesture of sorts, and followed with a beautiful thin wash of oils (burnt sienna and others) on the canvas...
He stressed that this technique (for the pastel students) could be done with pastel and washed with alcohol or turpenoid to get the same "look". Next, he began working on the center of interest, working outwardly, like a camera focuses on it's subject and the outer areas get blurrier. He used a palette knife for the entire painting process. Showing lost and found edges...it was magical!
What was really cool was the skyhole...he stressed that he uses the same high key as in the water, but with color, and then covered it softly with the trees in the most distant area. It just pushed back ever so nicely. He shared that he worries more about the energy of the skyhole and not it's shape. In the highlights on the water, he used pure white. (Not sure what white it was) but it just sparkled.
After his demo, as with all the others, he always tells the students that the piece is available at his gallery or off the easel. He also shared that he will return to his studio and put the finishing touches on it prior it's conclusion. He transports a wet oil in a neat folder of gator board.
After the demo, we broke for lunch and were out for independent study. My painting buddy and I returned back to the walnut grove and painted away for 2 hours or so. Here is my underpainting but unfortunately, I can't find my finished piece in my messy studio! Yes, it's already messy again! Augh!
We gathered around 6:30 with 8 or so pieces of our work. It could have been all from the workshop, or a selection of our work in the past. His goal was to find a "strong vein" in our work and share with each student his/her strengths. This was great because it gave me something to bite onto!
I shared these pieces and here was his comments:
"Too monochromatic, looks like it's from a photo"... (funny, this one is in the IAPS show!)
"Nice study, make it larger, but too much black in it"...
"Nice, looks wet, liked the waterlilies on top, nice, very nice"...
He liked this one very much, said I need to change the color where the ripples are, because they are like vertical planes.
His recommendation: My stronger work is the plein air work and should work on location more. He said he has a funny feeling that I work better with compositions that are uprights...vertical formats. "Focus on working upright until I get nausea" ....yes, nausea! Then he asks if I have any questions? I asked him which ones look ready for frames, and he pointed out the the last 5 posted.
I was thrilled with the critique and went down to my car and pulled out a desert wine that I'd been saving for my painting buddy and I to enjoy when we got through with the evening. Whew!
He wrapped up the night with a 60 slide show of his work. It was fascinating to see the body of work together. He showed us examples of where he has lost and found edges, and several other aspects that related to what he has been teaching throughout the week. We admired it all.
Tidbits from the day:
The focal point has the most details, crisp and clear, fussy on the edges.
Focus on the energy of the skyhole, not the shape.
Light rich colors obscures the upper background.
Modify colors to calm them down.
When you have a great painting, measure every other painting next to it. If it is less than great, then get rid of it.
Dont' give excuses for poor or incomplete work.