Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Don continued his discussion of color and value, noting that all colors have a place on the value scale. Color reads best in the middle value ranges. So we use lots of middle values, and some of light and dark values if we want a colorful painting. I painted Melissa in the morning wearing a lovely scarf and drape. This painting is just partially finished. I have yet one more, but I want to do a bit more work, as it's almost complete, and then I will post it.
In the afternoon, Don did a final demo on color values. You can see that he also sketched Melissa in the morning from a different position. Don probably painted this in less than 20 minutes so it's not one of his finished pieces, but impressive just the same.
I had another lovely lunch hour chatting with two fellow artists and Christina, one of our models. We sat under the tree at the Rosicrucian Museum. I will be keeping in touch with both Pat and Nancy. Nancy and I figured out our connection; she arranges the life drawing at the Los Gatos Art Museum that I attended on Tuesday afternoons in the fall. I hope to get back to doing that.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Now things are beginning to come together for me. Don started the day demoing how to achieve hard, soft, and lost edges. This alone was worth the price of admission! In the afternoon he put it all together with a demo: (1) wet the paper and created colorful lights; (2) add form to the figure with a mid-tone value and create the edges as you go; (3) sandwich the figure with the background, creating interesting shapes. All the while we keep rewetting the sections we are working on.
We got to do two paintings today, one of each model doing 20-minute poses with 5-minute breaks. The afternoon session was the longest, spanning over two hours. I did Melissa in the afternoon on a full sheet. This snapshot is not the greatest and doesn't show a bit of the left side of the piece. I am fairly happy with it to this point. I need to find more edges by darkening some edges, do more work on the figure, and Don advises me that I should keep the leftmost white shape and get rid of the whites to the right. I had a glorious time doing this piece.
Lunch was also fun. Several of us ate at wrought iron tables under a luscious tree on the grounds of the Rosicrucian Museum. Then three of us walked briefly. The time flies when you are having fun.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Don started off the day having us do backgrounds and discussing color. We did 4 5-minute poses on scrap paper making a quick figure drawing with the brush and trying different backgrounds. After a quick demo, we did a quick painting. In the afternoon Don talked about skin colors and backgrounds, and how we must subordinate the backgrounds to show off the focal point on the figure. When I paint in a workshop, I always seem to be one lesson behind. "Christinaa" is my afternoon piece. I love to fill the page with the figure, thinking I could put some shapes in the background, but Don told me that the figure would need to be smaller to do that, so I should leave the background as is. Somehow I missed the size element in the demo. No doubt tomorrow Don will be discussing something more, and I will finally begin to get how to do shapes in the background. Meanwhile, I followed Don's advice to deepen the throw fabric and lose some edges there so the cloth does not compete with the face and top of the figure. On the next painting, I want to think about losing more edges on the figure on the shadow side. I do like how the hair drifts off into green. Don is an amazing instructor.
I had a great time and have made a new friend, Pat. We had our bag lunch in the gardens of the amazing Rosicrucian Museum and then walked in the neighborhoods during our hour-long lunch break. Turns out she has similar interests in the dancing and is taking Argentine Tango and Salsa dance lessons.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
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!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I attended the free demo by Don Andrews, compliments of the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. Anyone can attend the demos, including non-members. The workshop has been booked for months, but several people have dropped out at the last minute. I did not plan to attend as I have been so busy with travel and cycling education. However, I couldn't resist this opportunity, so I decided tonight to attend the workshop..
Don is charming and humorous, and I love his work. Like other amazing artists, he just dives in with lots of water and color. I was fascinated by his development process. You can check out his work here:
I'm sure I will learn a lot from the master.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
While in Italy for an art workshop in Tuscany with my pal Joan, we visited Portovenere, a port town just south of the Cinque Terre area. I took a snapshop of two women considering a seaside restaurant menu in the warm noonday sun. At home I painted the scene on a full sheet of Yupo, a surface I don't use often. I do enjoy the results, a very painterly look. I really had to work at getting the paint onto the surface.
We've been busy all week teaching cycling and attending a cycling conference. Tomorrow, though, I get to see a Don Andrew's demo at the watercolor society. Can't wait!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
You will see that I added the award in the right frame, along with my seven favorite things related to art. Now I am passing the award along to seven artists that I admire (some who, like some winners of Oscars, might already have received this award from others):
Nancy Eaton Dunnelon
"Flirtatious Peonies" was the first piece I started in Annelein Beukenkamp's workshop. It was done from one of her photos and I spent about 45 minutes in class. I went back yesterday and today to complete the piece. The title comes from a poem written by one of the artists in attendance who read it to us. The poem created an image of peonies as the flirts of the flower world. I wish I could recall the artist's name as she could paint with words and watercolors -- very multi-talented. This piece is much more highly saturated color than "Glamorous Peonies," thus I think the title fits it well. I find myself more fond of the supporting actor in the right corner than the star at center.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
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.
Monday, June 1, 2009
We are off to New England and New York City to visit family and attend my college reunion. No posting for a bit.