Day 5, Trees and Conclusions

This was the last day of Albert's workshop and the fatigue was beginning to hit a few artists. I too, was even more quiet than my usual gregarious self. It was all starting to sink in, all the info, all his wisdom, all the colors! My eyes began to open more and became sensitized to shape, form, value, and colors all around me. Everything I looked at, I looked at with an observant eye. Saddened that my sensitivity will dull a bit, unless I continue to paint every day. It seems like a daunting task at times with a family to raise.

Albert's demonstration was on painting trees. It was a two part demonstration. The first was focusing on the drawing aspect of the art of trees, and the second half was on the local color of trees.

The shape of the tree was important and how it's drawn. He talked about the calligraphic lines and how they are lighter where the source of light is coming from and darker on the shaded area, defining the volume of the trees by marking the curve with lines. Then by using his arm to show how a tree twists, he showed us the foreshortening of the tree (arm) and using his hand as the roots as they grip into the ground.
We were to imagine how the bark on a tree would twist too. We are to indicate the twist of a tree by the direction of the bark. Trees are characters, they are like people with twisted bodies and branches reaching for the sun above. Albert also discussed the cast shadows on the branches that are behind another branch, always keeping in mind what direction the sun is coming from. He stressed that drawing each day makes for better paintings.

here is his drawing on the twisted tree. Albert shared with us that when he came upon this tree, he thought it was hilarious.

After the sketch portion, he began on the local color portion of the demo. He shared many thoughts about how local color is more important than shadows and lights. You know it's a gray trunk, but it has mauves, grays and greens in it too. He first established the shadows...remember, darks first then lights thereafter? Yessiree! Albert prefers NuPastels for his grays and used a variety of pinks for the lights. He also shared that the grays marry as the color slips around the tree.

Foliage is a different texture than bark. It has volume and different shapes and angles. He paints the under part, or base of the foliage first, with darks as well as the back side of the foliage. Trying not to indicate each and every leaf but softly indicate the dense masses first, staying with two greens and modifying them later. Then adding the lighter areas to the branches and leaves, he modified the colors with purples. Remember, too, that the cast shadow of the tree will be rougher on the surface it falls onto.

Another beauty!

So, after the demonstration we were to go out and paint at a new location from the workshop. Loaded with all this fresh information, I set out to paint a tree. And a large, beautiful old oak it was! Here is my underpainting with a touch of blocking in on top...

I was really happy with my start, thinking all the while of todays lesson.
It was fresh and my thoughts were running strong. I felt strong. Soon afterwards, Albert came around to conclude with a farewell at my easel and told me my painting looks great. "You're getting it!" He warmly shook my hand and told me to keep on working and great things will happen. Thanking him for the great instruction I asked if he'd return back to Portland again. There's always the possibility. Maybe his mentoring program will be next on my wish list.

Here is my finished piece. I still have to resolve the foreground a bit.

Tidbits from the day:
There is no money in drawing, only value.
Always be knowing where the direction of the sun is coming from.
Trees are very proud of their color.
Foliage is a different texture than the bark.
It takes two people to paint a picture; the artist and the viewer.


Blogger Donna T said...

Incredible tree painting, Brenda! The information you shared here is priceless - thanks again! Now get some rest!

8/8/10, 5:23 AM  
Blogger Nika said...

Very relevant, thank you for taking your time to post about your experience. And I can see the progress you've made in these five days!

8/8/10, 1:33 PM  
Blogger loriann signori said...

Hi Brenda! Thanks for taking so much time to post all the valuable information you shared about your workshop with Albert. I can't wait to see how you process the information in your work back home. Happy painting!

8/10/10, 1:06 PM  
Blogger Brenda Boylan said...

I'm glad my journaling info was helpful. I'm slowly getting back the rest I so missed and a little exercise too. :)

Thanks for dropping by. I've yet to get out and paint, I've got it on the schedule for tomorrow when my kids are out with friends. :)

Loriann, Thanks for dropping by too! I loved your blogging too about Richard McKinley and thought it a great way to remember what I learned after the end of each day. It was exhausting, but so worth it!

8/10/10, 5:22 PM  
Blogger Jo Castillo said...

Thank you for this workshop review. It was like I was in your pocket! Good job and it looks like you had a good time.

8/14/10, 8:12 PM  
Blogger Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Your top tree painting is truly beautiful, Brenda. Another great post about your workshop with Albert Handell. More drawing. More painting. More observing. There's a lot to do!

8/16/10, 5:01 PM  
Blogger Brenda Boylan said...

Thanks for dropping by, SKIZO. Always a nice treat for me to see another new name pop up on my blog!

Jo, I think you might have possibly been sharing my pocket with a few others! Thanks for stopping by!

Katherine, Yes there is a LOT to do, I can see how it's so overwhelming for beginner plein air artists to take in! Will you consider painting out at he NPS paint out in the Gorge this coming September?

8/16/10, 8:14 PM  

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