Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Wonderful Workshop

"Glamorous Peonies"
15" x 20"

Still life source

I have a bit of art to show for my trip to Vermont. I attended a lovely one-day workshop given by Annelein Beukenkamp at an old church in Burlington, Vermont. Annelein had hoped to paint plein air in the church gardens among a profusion of peonies, but nature did not cooperate. Annelein provided many photos and bouquets of peonies from which to paint. In the afternoon, I took many photos in the garden for future reference. Eleven artists attended the workshop from as far away as Montreal and Southern Vermont.

First Annelein did a 45-minute demo of the way she approaches florals. She begins with a very quick contour sketch, so she will not be tempted by a detailed sketch to do a coloring book approach. She loads her Number 12 round brush with lots of water and pigment and pushes it loosely over her image. She varies the paint saturation and pigments, and she smushes, slaps, dribbles, and encourages blooms, unlike many artists trying to achieve the perfect wash. She preserves whites by avoiding those sections. Then Annelein begins the fun part, negative painting, carving out the shapes suggested by the vigorous application of paint. She continues to layer negatively, and sometime positively until she has filled her support with lovely shapes and colors. To see Annelein's beautiful demo piece, go here:

Then it was our turn. In the morning she asked us to do a quick (about 45-minute) sketch and painting on a half sheet from photos she provided. I didn't quite finish, but will do that today and post tomorrow. Annelein emphasized that we were painting from her photograph, so this was an experiment only. In retrospect, I liked my first painting better because I went for deeply saturated color and very large shapes. After lunch, I selected a bouquet of pink and white peonies and got to work. Annelein came around checking our progress and making suggestions, and I found her teaching technique to be very helpful.

In the final half hour, Annelein posted all our work on the wall for critique. She had an interesting approach, asking us to critique our own work, and then she added comments. I especially like how I was able to suggest the white peonies with little detail. I left the workshop very satisfied that I had learned a lot about painting with gusto and the power of negative painting. The following afternoon I sat out in sunshine in my son's flower gardens painting white irises. I will also complete that piece and post it here.

I received my first blog award while away! I am just catching up and will post more on that tomorrow.


David Patterson said...

Lovely, lovely work Mary...don't you just love going to workshops?! I wish I could afford to go to more of them. :)


Nancy said...

Oh Mary, I'm so jealous! One, for being able to attend a workshop with Annelein, and two, to be able to see, touch and smell peonies -- and to be able to paint them! Since I moved to Florida from the midwest, I've missed peonies more than I can stand! And your painting is wonderful, by the way!

Barbra joan said...

Mary, oh how lucky to be able to take a workshop from Annelein, I have followed her for awhile now. and OMG. if I could just paint like that !!! Your piece came out absolutley lovely and I've heard that peonies are one of the hardest to paint... oh, sure I try them... of course we here in the "Sunshine state " have to rely on photos. Same thing with my poppies. Welcome back and thanks for your comments ... I'm always happy to see them.. I really admire you for all you do. People like you keep me inspired .

Mary Paquet said...

Friends, you are all so encouraging.

David, I agree -- I love workshops. This one worked out especially well being scheduled during the time I was in the area.

Nancy, You are right. I was so lucky to attend a workshop with Annelein. She just makes her beautiful art look so easy. I must say she has a real talent for coaxing all of us through any inhibitions we had. Peonies in California also seem somewhat rare, though I find them in my Western Gardening book for certain zones. I will have to use my garden snapshots if I choose to do more. Annelein told us she uses the photo or the still life arrangement as a jumping off point. She prefers to put them away after she gets into the painting and take her cues from the work itself. Those wonderful water blooms suggest where to develop hard edges.

Barbra, thanks for keeping in touch. I enjoy your work and it's a real pleasure to check out each new post. Like you, I find my art blog community very inspiring.

simoart said...

This is a great painting, beautiful work. I am glad you enjoy the seminar. I am glad you are back with us.

Mary Paquet said...

Thanks,Simoart, for your encouragement. Good to be back among friends.