01 September 2013
A Week of Painting ~ Part 2
For Day 4 of the painting workshop, we headed up to Brainard Lake. What a treat, as it is probably my very favorite place in Colorado! The morning was pristine and beautiful! These mountains are called the Indian Peaks and I have so many wonderful memories up here. I've hiked to the top of Mt. Audubon (the tall rounded peak on the right) many times, though not recently. My Dad climbed every one of these peaks and led climbs up many of them. When my children were small, we used to come up in June, when the road was still closed due to snow. We'd scramble over the enormous banks of snow and hike the road up to the lake. I also learned to cross country ski and snowshoe up here! Lovely memories!
Our instructions on this morning were simply to paint, using what we'd been learning. The reflections in the lake of the bright green grasses was what caught my attention, so that's where I started. I should have worked larger than 5"x7"! I think it would have been easier! Could have used more contrast on this.
In the afternoon, I switched to an 8"x10" canvas and was able to put so much more in. I've never painted with a palette knife before, but found that was what I wanted to use to put the mountains in. I'd like to go back and paint this again using what I've learned since!
At the end of the day, Marc painted the peaks beyond the lake. In watching him, all of a sudden I understood what he'd been trying to tell me all day!
We all loved his work and were so grateful to have the opportunity to watch a master at work! Here, I must add that there were several professional artists in our group! No matter our level of expertise, we were able to learn and Marc was able to teach us at our own levels. Truly a gifted instructor!
On the drive down the mountain, I had to stop and take a photo of the layers of peaks looking out to the plains of eastern Colorado.
Friday morning, the last day of the workshop ~ goodness, this week went by SO quickly! We met at the Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art to peruse the paintings of some of the West's best artists.
I loved this one by Martin Greele. His brushwork is not dissimilar from mine and I could see my paintings heading in this direction if I work really hard at it. Love the light!
The paintings of James Reynolds were fabulous and perfect examples of much of what Marc spent the week teaching us.
Another painting by James Reynolds. They look so detailed and yet when observed up close, the brush strokes are very simple! But the color and placement are so precise that they give the illusion of detail! Loved this one! As I looked at all this amazing art, I realized that I loved the ones that weren't pure landscapes. When a figure or an animal was added as part of the scene, it suddenly had more interest for me. This will be a challenge in my own work as doing figures has always been my weakest area!
From the museum, we headed north to the Agricultural Heritage Center in Longmont. For this exercise, we had to choose a scene to paint and paint it twice. The first painting we turned our easels away from the scene, then turned to simply observe the scene for 5 minutes. Then we turned away and painted for 10 minutes without looking back at it. We repeated this 3 more times. My first painting is on the left. For the second painting, we turned our easels around to face the scene and spent an hour painting while able to observe the scene. It was an interesting exercise. While many of the participants did better paintings from the memory exercise, I think I did better from direct observation ~ except for that barn opening, which I like much better in the first painting!
Our week ended with a retrospective look at our work. I loved seeing everyone's "memory" exercises lined up together! What fabulous work!
To end our time together, Marc showed us some of his work. Here he is showing us his Gouche sketchbook, which was a wonder to behold! Each page was a little gem of a painting!
Then we got a look at a selection of his oil paintings!
What a wonderful week! I learned so much from Marc as well as from the other artists that attended. As someone who never had a formal oil painting class before, who learned mostly from reading books and from the Plein Air and Oil Painting forums on WetCanvas, it was truly an amazing experience to be able to do something and immediately have suggestions made. I felt a little "dense" at times in translating what I was learning and being able to put it to use, but already, I can tell the difference in my thought process.
So what did I learn this week?
* I need to paint larger than 5"x7"!
* I need to keep my paint thinner (more medium so it flows better rather than getting too pasty and thick)
* I need to simplify my paint strokes and not get so "brushy"
* I LOVE painting! (I knew this already, but being able to paint all day long for 5 days in a row... what a treat!)
* I need to get out and paint so much more!
* sometimes it's the supplies as much as the process ~ don't you just love that tray of pastels and the gorgeous colors?!