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Sunday, October 26, 2008

En Plein Air (outside) Alla Prima (one session)

My LEAST favorite thing...because it is tough! Haul gear...tripod, paint box of some sort, paper towels, trash bags, brushes, pigments, stand in the sun for a couple hours and hope it all comes together! However, when it turns out, it can be my MOST favorite thing!

Started classes with Timothy C. Tyler (Tim) the week after Charles and Judy left. Have to get up on Saturday am and leave the house at 8:15 or so (another of my least fav things) has been so COLD we have had an hour of discussion/lecture inside, waiting fot the temp to warm up a bit.

Tim's yard is ablaze with maples that are changing every day. You only have about 2 hours, max on each 'start'...then the light changes. One of these paintings was started one week, and then finished the next during the same time of day.

In my absolute panic, Tim helped me 'find the painting'. Since my first experience in oil was with Ann Templeton's pigments (colors) I started with those (hoping I didn't put Tim off). This was the morning session...we went to lunch, came back and the light had so totally changed we only got 30 minutes more, then put this 'start' off until the following week.

Moved to a new location. Picked up the tripod with the box, the French market basket loaded with stuff, water bottle, blah, blah, and walked it all at least a mile (it seemed) to the other side of his house to a DEAD tree. He showed me 'the painting' again. Looks easy when it is pointed out to you.

about 20 minutes into the painting...and you can see how the light has changed the shadow of that limb in the front. that is why he advised to paint that first, and not chase it as it changes. He also recommends that if you are painting a subject in the sun, make sure your canvas is also in the sun. Says you can't properly evaluate your colors if you are in the shade and your subject is in the sun. Makes for a great suntan on that side of your face! I guess if your subject is in the shadow, you can be in the shadow. Hmmm...choose your subject wisely, otherwise you might break a sweat (oops. feel the heat in southern lady speak).

Two hours. On a slick gessoed panel, NO TURP or medium. Tim shared that the pigment is the best it will ever be straight out of the tube. When an artist starts thinning it with turp or a medium, you mess with the chemistry of the pigment and don't really know what it will do when the xtra stuff evaporates. After a week to dry, the colors were still vibrant. He says they will stay that way. Also used the term that you 'sculpt' the paint. This one is thick and juicy in, fun!

Week Two: hour and a half, then lunch. This one was done! Then we went to lunch, talk more art and come back for a finish on the underpainting from last week for another completion about an hour later. Tim is showing me how to capture the light quickly before it changes, and then to 'key' the other parts of the painting off that.

Week 2: finish this one. Tim did make a few (?) strokes, but the drawing and composition were mine. The tree changed this much in a week.
Is this fun or what? Worth getting out of bed for early on a saturday. Loose, juicy, no mediums...just a ton of pigment all mooshed together. 
We are in Denver, meeting our new Grandboy, Liam. Left Saturday after class (6pm by the time we got packed), drove to a miserable spot in Kansas in a room that 'if walls could talk'. However, Randy, me and the 3 hairy kids don't really care if the room smells good, and the linens are clean. For 5 hours, who cares? then up and off this am, to arrive in Denver around 5pm. Showered in the nice hotel room, then went to B&K's. wonderful neighborhood in downtown Denver, old houses, big huge colorful trees, parks everywhere...and baby Liam at 6 weeks old has colic really bad. So we ate fresh grilled salmon, Randy's concoction of a pecan/orange sauce and took turns trying to get Liam to fart.
Life in the fast lane! with the Ross's!
More later, when I figure out how to get the photos off the (new) camera. I'm slowly catching up. 
We plan to drive back all day Wednesday, and if we are still kicking, get up on thursday to join Tim for a paint-out day in Eureka springs...with him 'off the clock' painting for himself 'alla prima'. Be hard not to watch him, but just fun to be invited! Let's see, drive 13 hours (time difference), get up and leave the house on thurs am at 8 to 'catch the light' in Eureka around 9. works for me!

Friday, October 24, 2008

This blog is for Kippy

Watercolor/pastel/oil...landscape/figurative/still life.
PICK ONE FROM EACH GROUP! I've been hearing this for several years now...and still haven't done it. When I am painting with Charles Reid, I luv watercolor. When I study with Les DeMille and Kippy, pastels are the greatest thing going. And it is Ann Templeton's fault that I started with oil. Not sure I am good enough at any of them to choose a favorite. 
Charles gave us a tip on becoming better watercolorists...take a Sargent book to bed and read it before you go to sleep. So, I did. And I have to say I just don't 'get' the fuss about Sargent's watercolors. Bolts of lightning coming down on me! Horrors! Did she really say that...
SO, except for Charles' watercolors, which are fabulous, I can't 'see' the value in mine.

This is the painting Charles did Friday morning. Just happened to be the one I started on Thursday.
Here are my better efforts from the Charles start on thursday, and my finish from last week.
My critique group said my mountains are not as subtle as his, and my indians look pasted on. Just trying to be different from Charles...and in the B&W  photo, there was nothing in the background.

On Friday, everyone was pooped and I just didn't even think I could paint. Flopped in a chair and started a painting of HIS painting, the bouquet and his chair. His comment was that he might not have put the green behind the was a curtain. The green was staining. SO, I just made it more prominent which I felt pretty good about, since that made it more obvious that his painting was a piece of paper.

At least I didn't try to paint the stack of chairs. And Randy and Charles kept moving his red/white chair on me. AND those are my excuses, and I'm stickin' to 'em.

Oh well. The challenges of Watercolor! And then my pizza resistance (sp)...or best of the week, according to Charles and my world famous blunt critique group. And, again, I don't see it! A visiting college art professor even said my style is expressionism. I had to write that down and come home and look it up (didn't have that course in the school of business). And, it looks nothing like Naomi...and watercolor is the devil to photograph. The pose for the watercolor is first...

Pastel, is much more forgiving. Even though my source photo was from the first day Naomi modeled, and she had on a green shirt the first day...AND the light was different from my live painting...I could change all those things in pastel, but not with watercolor. What you see is pretty much what you end up with.
Below is my painting of her after one hour...I didn't get much painting time, and when I was, as workshop organizer for both and not in 'student' or 'painting' mode. Just glad I had the right number of features in sorta the right place. I spent another hour or so on her painting when I was home, and was amazed to see how little work it took to 'pull it out'.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 5 with Charles Reid Watercolors in Rogers...boohoo...

Well, I left off on the last blog with the teaser about the floral. Everyone was waiting patiently, in hopes he wouldn't change his mind. I know he was tired after all the demos, fishing in our backyard, going out to eat, travel, etc.

Finish. Viola. 

So pooped. 2:30. sat down and tried to think creative...Randy and Charles kept packing up his chair...

My effort for one hour. Charles' painting, chair, the bouquet and the curtain. Yup, those would be my converse as I shot another bad photo for the  blog. Not too bad an idea, but florals are NOT as easy as he makes you think they are. Might have a do-over on this one since I have a good source photo. (aren't those CUTE shoes...b&w with pink butterflies, high-tops...Randy picked them out and brought them home to me)
Next, is Erika with the painting Charles did of her on Tuesday, and then Susan with her painting of the floral. They each got first right of refusal to purchase their paintings...there were 4 and 5 names on each painting, and Judy draws numbers for those. Quite a privilege, to have an original Charles Reid in your house!

Erika, Judy and Charles

Charles, Susan and Judy
sorry guys, not the best photo, 'cept of Susan who was grinning like the cheshire cat over her acquisition!
So long, Charles and Judy. Until next time, in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, in (the metropolitan) area of Rogers, Arkansas! 

Charles Reid Watercolors in Rogers days 4and5

I'm slowly getting caught up on my fun stuff. The group so enjoyed painting outdoors (many for the first time) that when offered a chance to vote inside or was a struggle. Charles was the tie-breaker. When Susan Sharpe asked him which would teach us the most, Charles said inside.

Turned out to be a great idea...Charles had brought some of his favorite OLD black and white photography, and proceeded to show us exactly how to make up our own colors. We each picked our favorite for the afternoon paint on our own (?) session.

Charles  beginning his drawing of Winslow Homer and his dad...and the dog.

beginning the painting.

mostly finished

finished, I think. 
None of these photos are color corrected...I'm movin' too fast for that! Amazing, isn't it? And you can paint it as many times as you want, and will get different colors every time. Paint a cityscape behind instead of ocean...change the color of their could entertain yourself for days! 
SO, I chose the Indian on the horse, and his walking friend...old running buddies of Geronimo...sure didn't want to choose the one Charles did!
Off to a good start. Spent 2 hours on the drawing, then started.

Was going so well I scared me into quitting. Then sweet Charles came up and said that that was war paint on the Indian's face and it was white. I popped off that in my tribe, it was yellow. Quit before I could butcher the horse. Relatively pleased, though, for 3 hours work. On hot press paper.
Fast forward past the class dinner on Thursday night, a logo design after getting home, and back again on Friday.
Guess which photo Charles picked for his 'last' demo? Sheeit! The Geronimo pals! 

Knew I was in trouble when he did his horse. I had to ask what that was hanging down between the horse's legs...bad me!

Here it is close to finish. One of the most popular when he put a price on it for sale. Then Susan had asked me if he would do a flower...just a little one...pretty if I had any control at all! She had brought in a beautiful bouquet of flowers, just in case.

A bit of suggestion, and after lunch, Charles graced us with a fabulous floral. I think he has done flowers so long that they don't challenge him much...

Tune in for pics of the last day! Gotta make this last!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Toad ya it was purdy in Arkansas for Charles Reid!

Two local newspapers happened to catch Charles at work. One even gave him a new name 'Randy Reid'. I'm sure Randy will enjoy that more than Charles will :)!

Yup, we even have color newsprint here! Just kiddin', I'm a local so I can make jokes...
PERFECT fall day! Was so nice, I just wanted to sit and enjoy watching my fellow artists. I finally set up across the street and attempted to paint them, painting. I had a real hard time settling down. Randy had a great painting. He obviously was finished before I took up residence under that tree on the right side of his painting.
Randy just sits down and does it. No stress, no whining (want some cheese with that whine?) just gets to it. However, Charles taught him from Randy's first day of ever watercolor painting...and I don't think Randy has had any other instructor confuse him. So there. That's MY excuse and I'm stickin' to it!
Here is my feeble attempt. I got all settled and took my source photos, when  an SUV pulled into the parking spot blocking my view. Guess the look of disappointment was so obvious, they offered to move. I took my big straw French market bag and an easel and blocked the space. So, settle down again. About that time, Mom arrived and I got up to introduce her to everyone. In the meantime, a little old man pulled in the parking spot, couldn't see my bag and easel. Fortunately he stopped just before ruining it all. Randy packed me up and put my stuff away. Just as well, I was having too much fun to focus on painting. And that's my excuse, how'd ya like that justification for the next photo?
Yikes. Would have been much better to choose one artist and one umbrella. This was WAY over my skill level, and probably damn near impossible with everyone moving around.
A slideshow of my photos from the day are next!

ENJOY! I still have 2 days to go...nice to have new material!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Charles Reid Watercolors in Rogers days 1 and 2

Can't believe I have been untethered from my computer for the last 10 days! What a whirlwind 2 weeks...getting ready for the arrival of Charles, mentioned in the same breath with Homer Winslow and John Singer Sargeant (except Charles is breathing and they're not). No, seriously, he is considered the modern master of watercolor!

Again, the joy I receive while watching the faces of these 20 students watch a master is beyond compare. I truly get a kick from organizing workshops. Several on the horizon for 2009.

The hotel, Marriot Residence Inn, hit a home run with everyone from outside the area. Charles and Judy said this is one of the better accommodations they have ever been offered. The management enjoyed our artists (after all, most business meetings are stuffy and demanding)...they even let us overflow out into the main dining room from our meeting room and enjoyed watching the paintings develop.

We had rain the first 2 days, then on Wednesday the Ozarks performed one of its miraculous weather tricks. Perfect blue skies, a cool morning, and peak temperature around 70. We set up in historic downtown Rogers, complete with antique Frisco Railroad caboose, and 100 year old buildings.

Here are a few photos from the first 2 days.

Charles drawing Lisa, our model for the day as he explained seeing shadow shapes.


First painting on the left is a monotone showing the shapes,
middle drawing with a bit of color, and softened edges,
and #3 in progress full color

the afternoon painting session

Day 2 model, my favorite China Doll, Erika
One of Charles favorite things to paint, a double pose with a profile and a full face

before he added the sky and beach

I got plenty of painting time because these artists brought minimal gear, and knew how to set up, move around, and adjust. Painting mobile is such good practice for artists. You learn how little you really need to do good work. I even painted sitting down, with a chair for an easel. By the last day, I was trimmed down (well, my gear was) to a cute lime green jelly briefcase that Erika gave me...just perfect for mobile painting!
More to come! We made some great new friends, saw some old great new friends (not old, just knew them already), and got to spend some time with some of our great local friends. A fabulous week, with artists who were thrilled to be in the same room with Charles.
Haven't strayed too far from my chair today...ain't laptops wonderful?