Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 5 of Ted Nutall Workshop

"The Egg Lady"
11" x 14" Watercolor on Arches 300 lb. coldpress paper

The first layers of "Thoughtful"

Ted Nuttal, Artist and Musician

Our final workshop day was very special. Not only did we learn more, paint a bit, and have a critique session, but Ted also sang and played his guitar for us as we painted. Two for the price of one!

I loved some of the quotes that Ted provided in his slide shows. I especially relate to these:
Lucien Freud: "My work is purely autobiographical -- it is about myself and my surroundings."
Harold Osborne: "The real subject of every work of art is the artist himself."
Charles Reid: "Spontaneity is an illusion."

"The Egg Lady" at a farmer's market in the Perigord region in the Dordogne, France is from a photo I took of an elderly woman selling eggs and chickens in a farmer's market in 2007. I asked if I could photograph her -- somehow I am not a very good stealth photographer. She was lovely, said yes, and did not get stiff and pose. I added a few more layers to this painting, especially in the dress and the background. I want to work a bit more on the background, keeping it high key. I did that instinctively and Ted thought it suited the subject. I will also likely paint her again with greater patience and care.

The second piece has a first layer of paint and requires much more work. This is Photoshopped from a snapshot I took of Jamie and her mom sitting on my patio in July when they visited us from Vermont. There is even the clothesline with the wash we had hung out on a gorgeous sunny day.

The final photo shows Ted playing his guitar. It's fun though not real clear.

My takeaways for creating a transparent and glowing watercolor, especially suited for painting people:
Exercise patience
Create a strong design by cropping and removing some elements
Take time to make an accurate drawing
Stay transparent and use lots of water
Build the values in layers
Let the layers dry before painting over them
Develop very small areas and soften the edges
Use unexpected color
Develop the whole painting
Paint the skin into the hair
Pull the paint into the background
Pull the background into the shadow side of the hair


Christiane Kingsley said...

You lucky lady, Mary! Seems to have been a great workshop. Thank you for sharing your "take away" list with us - excellent advice.

AutumnLeaves said...

I think the Egg Lady is my favorite of them all! She is beautiful, Mary! And the note on the background paint...for some reason that one really resonates, implying the creation of depth and dimension into a piece.

hw (hallie) farber said...

I've enjoyed your workshop and your list is great--so is the Egg Lady.

Anonymous said...

Wow Mary! What a workshop and I'm so impressed with all the work you did in it.
I have to agree that the Egg Lady is a stand out. You knew you had a great subject when you took her photo and now you have this lovely painting.
I look forward to seeing how your second painting progresses- it looks great so far.
Your list is comprehensive and useful. Another great post!

Barbra Joan said...

ok Mary the first one is the best !!! oh yes,, BJ

Adriana said...

Hello Mary, I am glad I "stumbled" upon your blog. Do you have days 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Ted Nuttal Workshop ?

Mary Paquet said...

Thanks to all my friends. I've been very busy getting ready for our bike tour, so art is taking a bit of a back seat.

Adriana, I hope I understand your question. I represent the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society and contract with artists to do workshops. Ted did a single full week workshop for us and is not scheduled to return until 2014. Check Ted's website for his workshop schedule ( Good luck. His workshop was wonderful.

Shelley Whiting said...

I love those portraits. They're very lively and full of heart. The Egg Lady is my favorite. She is such a character. Beautiful work.