Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dear “Followers” – Moving notice

If you’re visiting this blog I thank you for checking it out.  However, effective July 5, 2011, all new posts will be made on www.cherylquist.blogspot.com.  Previous posts, and all comments, have been moved there.  I hope you’ll drop by this new blog and continue to follow my artistic journey.  If you’re interested in the reasons behind this change, I’ll be blogging about that soon.

Until recently I had no idea how many ways there are to follow a blog!!!  I’ve moved my email subscriber list over to the new blog seamlessly.  Google followers and other droppers-by aren’t quite so simple.  For that reason, I’ll continue to monitor comments made here for some time. 

In keeping with the theme of this notice, and just for fun, I’m reposting a painting I did last month. In the case of Elbow River Jam, the water moves very quickly indeed! 

IMG_0328 See you later at www.cherylquist.blogspot.com.  Cheers!

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Paint Small and Often [Carol Marine workshop]

Last Tuesday afternoon was one of the most difficult workshop experiences for me – but I learned a lot.  We selected one item, I picked a kiwi sliced in half.  We painted this item small, 3”x3” squares in my case, over and over.  We had 10 minutes to draw and paint each of these little beasts.  We whined A LOT, and we sweated in that hot, still room. 

Carol was in constant motion making the rounds.  She encouraged me to leave my white paint out of the mix until the very end of this kiwi project – it wasn’t necessary except for the highlights and was causing a dull result.  I was getting it by the 4th and 5th effort [row 1 #4, row 2 #1]…  but I have no idea what happened on the sixth – apparently I unlearned everything!  Carol even did a little demo for the class of my half kiwi before the sixth sketch but the law of diminishing returns was setting in for me health-wise.  When somebody begged to be allowed a new item for the 7th timed sketch, I jumped at the chance to paint this yellow pepper and get out of kiwi-ville.  It turned out okay for a 10 minute sketch but if you squint at the photo of the pepper you will see how dark my subject was on the unlit side.  My sketch should have considered that pretty early on.  Again, value is KEY to painting. 

 10 minute sketches [3x3]

yellow pepper pntg yellow pepper

I learned an awful lot from my Tuesday efforts.  Outlining them in this blog helps to drive home the points again. 

  1. Paint as often as possible. Many small and quick sketches teaches more than one large painting
  2. Use LESS white for many subjects. 
  3. Bring a fan to workshops [wink]
  4. Ten minutes is long enough to consider lights and darks.  Slow down to speed up. 
  5. Painting is SO MUCH FUN [oops! I already knew that didn’t I]


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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tuesday’s Cherries [6”x8”, oil on panel]

tuesdays cherriesI really benefited from the exercises we did on value at the Carol Marine workshop last week.  The two smaller photos below were taken after one such exercise last Tuesday.  In short, we were to arrange a still life and paint it in monochromatic tones quickly [30 minutes for this one I think].  I had some yummy cherries all ready to go [left photo] and the resulting monochromatic painting is the really dull one on the left.  If you SQUINT at them both you should see a similar pattern of lights and darks. 


Today I took the dull, monochromatic result of that exercise and layered the colors overtop. I loved doing this – the dark values come through from the first layer and carry the value pattern.  I used the grey study in a similar fashion to the old masters’ technique known as grisaille [grizz-eye].   The resulting painting is the larger photo at the top of this post.  I wish I had a few of these yummy cherries right now – they’d make short work of my munchies.  Cheers!

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Workshop Monday [Carol Marine, Benalto, Alberta]

As I mentioned last Monday, the first day of the Carol Marine workshop we began with introductions.  What a talented bunch of ladies!  I’ve added the bloggers among them to my list of “Blogs I Follow” on the right side of my blog…  http://cherylsdailyblog.blogspot.com/ in case you are interested.

Here’s a photo of 4 apples Carol set up for her painting demo…  and a thumbnail of her complete painting.  This took her about an hour, what with all our demanding questions [lol].  She’s fast and so fun to watch!  It was interesting to see an intentional tangent [the apples are just touching each other] in this composition and how well Carol pulled it off. 

apple setup apple painting

I want to highlight some of the things that I found helpful from each day of the workshop.  First of all, each artist comes to a workshop with particular needs and talents so what resonated with me might have been “old hat” for other participants or vice versa.  I’ll stick to my experience of the workshop rather than the content – after all, that’s Carol’s content.  If you’re thinking of taking this workshop sign up immediately because it is well worth it!

  • Fear… we all have it.  Painting daily helps to relax this performance anxiety.  We reviewed the wonderful benefits of painting small and daily vs big and infrequently…  I’ve experience many that she mentioned – reduced fear of failure, more playful, increased confidence, less emotional involvement.  Try it – really!!!
  • Materials – lots of great points from Carol and tips from the other artists including:
    • Carol’s medium mix – 2 parts linseed oil, 1 part stand oil, 1 part mineral spirits.  I’ll be trying this out after I’ve used up my current supply of Maimeri’s ecoblend
    • lots of the artists were using burnt umber [a color I don’t currently own].  I need some!
    • brushes – Carol doesn’t use very many because she cleans as she goes.  Nice – way less mess at the end!
    • brush cleaning – she rarely does more than clean with mineral spirits at the end of the day.  She uses Murphy Oil every couple of weeks to clean them.  I LOVE this idea – brush cleaning is time consuming.
    • brush storage tool – PVC pipe and cap makes a good seal and then brushes don’t dry out.  That makes cleaning with soap and water less necessary :-)
  • Painting methods:
    • There is no “right” way to paint.  It’s still amazing to me that every artist I observe in a demo has a very unique painting method and style.  I’m getting more comfortable with my own style and finding out more and more how I want to paint – that feels good.
    • Carol doesn’t get hung up on painting inside the lines of her drawing, cutting in and/or overlapping the background in places creates some beautiful effects.
    • I’m getting the feel for the weight of my strokes.  This is critical with oil painting “alla prima” [in one go] because the under layers are still wet.  Digging around in those layers with a new layer is a great recipe for mud. 
    • Squint, squint, squint…  in fact we stopped on Friday morning and took a photo of the class watching Carol’s demo SQUINTING.  We had a great laugh over that – it won’t be easy to forget!

Interesting values [light versus dark] are essential to painting.  Carol gave us 30 minutes to set up and paint a little still life that had a dark, medium and light monochromatic pattern in dominant, secondary, and “smidge” values.  The dominant value in my still life set up  [the cup below] was “mid” [takes over half the painting], my secondary value was “dark” [takes up most of the remaining area], and there was just a smidge of “light”. First I wrote down my pattern, then I painted the cup in a neutral color to match the pattern I had noted in my subject.  You can read all about this on Carol’s Daily Paintworks Challenge from May 21st.  It’s a good exercise in SEEING.

value is essentialAll week, Carol amazed me with her ability to SEE in every way possible – the value, color, intensity, shape, etc. of both her subject and the painting she was making. More tomorrow!

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Beginning with the ending…


I’ve just arrived home from a week long Carol Marine workshop and, although my lodgings were superb [ty Conrad & Teresa], I can truly say I am happy to be home, sweet home!  I’ve neglected my blogging this week due to shortage of time & energy but I’ve painted lots, and I’ve learned even more! 

Tomorrow I’ll begin a day by day recap of the workshop highlights with photos of my work, but today I want to share what happens at the end of Carol’s workshops.  Over the course of the week, Carol painted five 6”x6” paintings during “demos”.  These are made available to student to purchase for a modest price if you’re lucky.  This morning we had a draw to see which students would be selecting a painting to buy, and in which order.  My name was drawn second.  I really wanted Carol’s painting of orange slices, a knife and a little bowl of mine [as yet unnamed].  But, another student’s name was drawn first and she selected this one.  Later, she had a change of heart and we traded – thanks Margreet! 

I love everything about this little painting – the oranges just glow against that blue background and the brush strokes are lively & free.  I find Carol’s style engages me in a way that hyper-realism doesn’t.  As a viewer, I have a role in this painting…  a connection. My eye moves around in the painting noticing the colors and shapes, confirming the story.  The connection is also stronger because I enjoyed watching her paint it!  Throughout the week Carol came by to help me with my painting and every project she commented that the highlights needed to be smaller…  I’ll remember that every time I look at this painting – the dark shape says “knife” with just those small lights on the handle!  Carol with me and my painting!!!

Two very, very tired ladies today… and now to bed!  Cheers!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Carol Marine Workshop

Today I began a 5 day workshop with Carol Marine.  We are meeting at the Benalto community hall near Red Deer.  I'm fortunate to have a lovely place to stay here at my brother and sister-in-laws' place about 40 minutes from the workshop.  This morning we got things going with introductions and some general discussion around the daily painting movement.  Carol's story is such an inspiration and I am thouroughly enjoying this workshop so far.  This afternoon we were given 2 hours to set up and paint a little still life. 

I found these fun little key limes at the grocery yesterday and I set them up on my kiddie blocks with my new little mixing bowl.  I'm hoping to get some help with making the limes read a bit better tomorrow.  They aren't the usual shape of a lime but are round little guys.  Anyway, it was a lot of fun and we're just getting warmed up!

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Elbow Falls gets a new home

Elbow FallsYesterday I was privileged to attend the wedding of Kelsey Quist and Brandon Somerville.  I certainly hope they like this painting of Elbow Falls I did in acrylic last year. This is a viewpoint that most Calgarians, and many around the world, are familiar with.  Usually the sky isn’t orangey like this but hey, this is art folks!  The beauty of this spot on the Elbow River puts me in mind of a marriage – beautiful, risky, but WORTH THE DRIVE!  May your marriage prove this to be the case as you continue your journey under the cross.  Uncle Ron captured this photo yesterday and I LOVE it!  Blessings on you both in your joint venture as man and wife! 

kelsey and brandon under the cross

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