Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tom Fong Workshop: More Fast, Loose, and Wet

"Fjord Country"
20" x 15"

Tom Fong's Painting of
Yosemite and the Merced River

As a member of the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society's Workshop Committee, I book and coordinate workshops by some of the best watermedia artists in the USA. One of our attendees who belongs to several art associations in the Bay Area says we have absolutely the best workshops. This week I assisted Jeanne de Campos Rousseau with a 3-day workshop taught by Tom Fong. Check out their websites. I love working with Jeannie; I will be showing my work on the Santa Cruz Wharf in October and November with Jeanne and another local artist.

Tom is a spontaneous and direct painter. Most of the time he attacks the paper without drawing his subject, working intuitively, wet on wet. Yesterday, on the second day of the workshop, he showed us how he might occasionally draw a few lines with his brush before he begins. I dutifully tried that method and sank into a deep hole -- Tom said I was being too careful. Seems that the minute I get some lines, I am suddenly cautious. So I threw the piece aside, grabbed another half sheet of Arches and did the painting of the fjords in Norway where I visited in late June. This time I wet the paper and painted with abandon with lots of paint and little water. By critique time at 3 p.m. I was close to completion. Tom blessed the painting as quite successful and suggested the weeds in the front, to connect foreground and middle ground, and the trees on the steep ridge for variety. I will never know if I would have thought of those design elements if I had contemplated how to finish on my own. One criticism -- next time vary the size of the trees (Momma, Papa, Baby). I like this painting and had nice comments from Kay Duffy, a fellow attendee who teaches watercolor classes at Hakone Gardens.

Tom's demo painting was done this afternoon in about 25 minutes. He makes good use of straight edge razor blades. He got the texture in the cliffs by dragging the razor over dry paper before he wet it and began painting. he also dragged the razor horizontally beneath the cliffs to recapture the whites. Notice Tom's use of contrast -- lights and darks, warm and cool colors, smooth and rough textures.

We completed the workshop today. Tomorrow I will write a bit more about the experience.


Peggy Stermer-Cox said...

Hi Mary, Wow! I like your painting of the fjord! What a wonderful experience you're having. Your write up is interesting and gives me something to think about. Thanks!

AutumnLeaves said...

Love your painting, Mary, and Tom's isn't too bad either! LOL I could just see me with a razor blade on a piece. I'd surely end up with smaller pieces of watercolor paper, not fit to hold anything but to be held by the bin! LOLOL Still, fun to read and see and imagine the abandon!

hwfarber said...

First, I love your Seascape from the previous post.

"Fjord Country" is quite beautiful and interesting; I can see why it was blessed by the teacher.

And I think you would have come up with design elements to finish on your own. You've done it before. I enjoy following your workshops--I'll check out the websites.

Mary Paquet said...

Peggy, those fjords can provide endless subjects.

Sherri, you are so humorous. I have to admit that I was a bit perplexed about how to get a slim tree with a standard razor blade, but managed to swipe something -- perhaps that is why all three trees are the same size.

Hallie, I hope you are right that I would have come up with the design elements to finish on my own.

Margaret Bednar said...

I LOVE your Fjord painting. Thank you for the "classroom insights". I can use all the help I can get.