Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don Andrews Workshop

Day 1 pose, charcoal on newsprint - 10 minutes
Day 2 pose, charcoal on newsprint - 5 minutes
Day 1 pose with shadow and background on drawing paper

Brief post to keep you update on the Don Andrews workshop. Don is a wonderful teacher, very kind and encouraging. I like the way he breaks up the day. Everyday we have 2 models for the 16 or so artists who are divided into two groups with easels on tables around the model. The models switch between the two groups, and today we also had one different model than yesterday.

Don teaches in stages. Each day we do fast warmups on newsprint. I chose to use vine charcoal as I am very used to sketching with it and it erases easily. We indicate shadow shapes. Don has short demos morning and afternoon. First he focused on light and shadow, indicated on our rough sketches. Next he showed us how he adds the mid-tone - shadow in watercolor and background also in mid-tone value to set off the lights. Up to this point, which you see here, I thought I did pretty well. The piece on low quality paper looks like a 2-dimensional form. Then he showed us how to add color to the lights before he added the shadow forms. He wets his paper thoroughly and dives in with color. We are all amazed at how much paint and color there is, yet later they turn out to be very light, luminous forms. The page is sopping wet when we start. This is where it gets tougher for me. Looks so easy when Don does it, but I'm struggling with some new techniques.

Today Don showed us how he adds granulation, his term for mixing colors on the page. He gives an amazing demonstration of how one can easily change watercolor, AS LONG AS IT IS WET. He painted green. Don't like it, throw rose over it. Too cool, paint over with orange. He did this to one patch for a dozen colors with lovely results each time. Went too dark, wipe it off and start again. I struggled onward. Some parts look good. Don keeps telling us we are unlikely to produce masterpieces this week -- he is right. This afternoon Don showed us how he sometimes starts with a lovely grey and mixes warmer colors into it on the page. Beautiful results, at least for Don! Again, some of my painting came out well.

Though painting like this does not come easy for me, the class is really worthwhile. Check out Don's work here:
I can't wait for tomorrow when I get to try again!


Anonymous said...

I think you did pretty well. Nice work. The class sounds really interesting. I need to do some classes. I'm going through a painter's block right now.

Claire M said...

So cool to hear about your class adventures. Thanks for posting a description here along with your work. Great job!

Megha Chhatbar said...

Very nice work..I like to do it one day..:) Gr8 effort!

Dave King said...

I love the second drawing, it shows real insight and sensitivity. The account of your class is fascinating. It brings back memories... very ancient ones, unfortunately.

Mary Paquet said...

Friends, thanks for all the comments. I do find that clsses keep me pushing through my comfort zone and I always enhance my personal style.

Claire, my dear friend from work days, it was great seeing you at the demo. Thanks for joining the group.

I will be posting some of my workshop pieces. Stay tuned!