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.