11" x 14"
Calligraphic marks in watercolor was the painting approach of the day. I will probably use this approach rarely, but I have used it before on sketches. Here is Frank's demo. He first did wet-in-wet washes, leaving his white area alone. Of course the paint diffuses and mixes quickly, so he used a hair dryer to stop the flow and dry the paper for the next step. Using various flats and rounds he applied the calligraphic marks. He says it's important to leave open areas and not close off structures entirely. His finished painting is playful.
I met with Frank and showed him the sketch I did from our room in Chicago looking down on a small section of the elevated train amidst the buildings in the area of the Loop. He liked the painting, made some suggestions on the design for varying the shapes and marks. I wasn't too happy with this painting. I felt I put in too many marks, and Frank suggested that fewer on the buildings would be better. He also noted that my design had more variation in the size of the buildings; my painting has buildings of similar widths.
I had about 40 minutes until until critique and I wasn't happy with my cityscape, so I grabbed a black and white printout of a street in Portovenere, Italy. Of course, after 5 days of learning how important design is, I skipped that step because painting is more fun, and besides everyone was going to see whatever I painted during critique. The upshot is I went oh oh, I almost forgot to preserve some whites and of course, the best place would have been on the awnings. Frank loved the calligraphic marks, but noted that my white "felony" could be reduced to the lesser degree of a misdemeanor by shading a bit of the right corner. Also, surrounding the right canopy with greenery (which it was in the photo) is bad design. I should have left a break in the greenery. Of course, nature doesn't make good designs, artists do.
I intend to make myself a little checklist for reviewing my designs -- variation and overlapping shapes are especially important for me to remember.
Also, I made notes of many art quotes that Frank gave us throughout the five days.
"Art is man-made order."
"We restore the disunity of nature to unity."
"Art is pleasure objectified." (George Santiano)
"We are shape improvers."
"Beauty is the quality that emerges from the deliberate relationship of the parts to the whole."
He shared much more wisdom with us that I didn't capture even though I am a prolific note-taker, as you can tell. I learn through writing, even if I never look at my notes again.
Frank again commented that this was the best organized workshop he has ever done. The Society has many years of workshop experience and those of us who worked on this one have inherited the wisdom and processes.