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… 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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