At the Roger Dale Brown workshop we learned how to stand in front of the view and make decisions about what to include and what to leave out. It was overwhelming to study the subject matter and boil it down to a few elements and then try to capture not only the objects, but also the feeling of the place...the old rusty barn roof looking blue in the sunlight; the stillness, but not stagnant, creek all yellow-green and silent; the profusion of foliage just starting to turn fall colors. So you stand there and put paint on the canvas, push it around and maybe sigh... a lot.
But then you get to take what you started back into the studio with a few reference photos and work on correcting the problems, switching up colors and values, brightening the hues and it gets a little closer to what you had in mind in the first place. Still a few problems...funny how they show up in a photograph of the painting when you hadn't really noticed them before. I am so hungry for the day that all the mental work that goes into creating a truly beautiful painting becomes second nature for me. In the meantime, I'm going to keep a little "cheat sheet" taped to my easel reminding me of what to not forget!
So my two unnamed paintings from the workshop: a Leipers Fork barn on the left and a little silver tree on the right. Let me know what you think, my friends :)
What a beautiful weekend for a fantastic plein air workshop this past weekend was! I mean, it was hot. Hot and sunny enough for sunblock and sunglasses. Hot and sunny enough to seek out a shady spot for painting. Our instructor was Roger Dale Brown, who is currently winning national awards and getting articles written about him in international art magazines. He is an amazing artist, wonderful instructor and all around great person. His wife, Beverly Ford Evans, was there as well, helping with all the details. She, too, is a fantastic artist. It was all around a tremendous learning experience of both theory and practice in plein air oil painting. As usual, I began with an epic fail when my paint wouldn't adhere to the fancy, but very slick, panel board I brought. (lesson #1...don't use unfamiliar materials for the first time at an art workshop.) Fortunately, the silver lining was that I could only get better and it got the humiliation out of the way early and also illustrated lesson #2: (...always stay humble in whatever you are trying to excel at because when failure happens, and it will, it's not such a long fall)
The second day, Saturday, went much more smoothly and I was able to put into practice the information Roger was teaching us...that is, to simplify the scene, reduce it to abstract shapes and then work the values in each of those shapes to develop the painting. In other words, I was not painting a field, a creek and a barn...I was painting a squarish shape, a rectanglish shape and a squiggle. Much easier, right!
Aaaanyway...it is safe to say that I did not produce any great masterpieces during the workshop, but I did learn a great deal and look forward to the lessons permeating my subconscious artist.
Roger laying in the shapes and values...
...about an hour later. Amazing. Just amazing.
On Sunday, a creekside scene, Roger getting the shapes and basic values....
...and...about an hour later....
The man is winning national awards. I know why. And he is as
nice a person as you could ever hope to meet. He has worked
hard to learn his art and inspired us all to keep at it, keep
thinking and growing, keep practicing and setting goals.
OK, will do!
Hello! My name is Wendy and I am passionate about oil painting! Whether in the studio or out in Mother Nature, I get lost in the experience of capturing on canvas the moment and the feel of what I am painting. I pour my love and energy into every single piece of artwork and I hope it shows! This blog is a place where I can use words to talk about art, painting, life, faith, things that make me laugh, and things that inspire. I love every response, so don't be shy about leaving a comment...