Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Marc Hanson Workshop

I promised I would show the work I did in the Marc Hanson workshop in August. This workshop was in conjunction with the Southeastern Pastel Society Members' Show. Here is a photo showing the workshop setting -- crowded!
The easel on the left is mine with a watercolor underpainting of my second painting. Marc asked us to bring rather large paper or panels. This was taken on the second day of the workshop. I'll show the painting later.

Marc started out with a power point presentation of some of his work and discussed various elements of composing paintings. He works most times from a field study to compose his studio work. He discussed creating a value study, telling us "the color no longer gets in the way" of the concept, which is most important.

Here are some of his jewels and qutoes:
"weight the composition towards a dominant value ... work to a specific point of view."
"work in themes. Set an assignment, exploring a subject. Create interest for the viewer."
"Orchestrate, move and rearrange things if needed."
"If you don't have to put everything in, then don't! Keep the major shapes, indicate a few shapes somewhere, and this will inform the viewer."
"Only say enough! Say so much with so little!"
"Create from your experiences -- people sense your excitement without even knowing why."

Before the "Fix"
Here is the first painting -- on an 18"x24" Ampersand Pastelbord. Two views, one before I fixed some things, and then after changing some small things.

I changed the two little blue bushes so they were not so much alike. I took the larger darker bush and made it smaller by just brushing out the lower portion of it. There was a rather strong diagonal coming toward the bottom of the large bush, and by taking that bottom out, I made the diagonal stop. I also softened some of the marks at the top of the painting which makes it recede.

After the "Fix"
There might be a few other small corrections, but at this point, I have not done anything more to the painting. There are a few things I am thinking of doing near the bottom, but they won't be anything major.

I started the second painting around the middle of our second day in class -- which is what you see in the photo at the top of the page with just the watercolor underpainting. Here is a closer look at that underpainting.
This painting was done from a plein air pastel I did in the "Art In The Open" Festival in Wexford, Ireland just a couple of weeks before the workshop. My plein air piece is an 11x14 and this larger version is 18x24.

Here is the painting as it looks now -- and I might do a little more to the left side where it comes down the wall -- which is just a little too straight for me!

I did two more paintings -- started one on Sunday morning, and then had about an hour left during the afternoon, so I did a smaller one from the first one and a photo taken from the same location. I really think all these paintings are relatively successful.

One more quote: "Edges - are the most sensitive, and gives it the most emotion. Soft focus creates motion and helps the eye move in and over the edges. It doesn't just stop there. It allows the eye to move back in space. Take a color and just break that edge. Here is where you get to be artistic. Sensitivity! Personality, a little more of your own voice."

It was a wonderful workshop ... and I am sure I learned much from his presentation, his demo and the many times he came around the room and made just one or two comments each time. Marc also discussed with me what it is I need to be doing in my art at this point in my career. We shall see if I can do what is needed! The words were very thought provoking. He said to figure out and paint the one thing that I am most inspired by ... guess what ... could that be trees? Figure out what it is that could make mine  .... mine! Be known for that. Yep, that's what I need to do. Make them mine!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Two Ireland Paintings and Changes

Yesterday I started two paintings from my photos from Ireland. Today I have been working on them to make them better. It involved quite significant changes -- such as brushing off some of the pastel so I could place a completely different value and composition in the place of what I had done yesterday. These are both 9x12 paintings on Ampersand Pastelbord ... and take a load of abuse!

Here is one before the change, and then after the change. Below that are greyscales of each of them.
Notice the rocks in the foreground and the little flowers. This is how I left it yesterday afternoon when I closed up the studio. I thought is was coming along nicely though I worried about the rock wall creating a barrier to a person moving into the painting. And, it looks nothing like the photo I was using. I'll post that also.

Here is the photo:

Now here is the second painting, showing you first the way I left it yesterday afternoon, and then what I did with it today. Below those are two photos that I combined to create the scene and the greyscale of each day's work.

I thought there needed to be a harmonizing color and value along the bottom of the painting. I usually put cool temperature colors at the bottom to help a person "jump" over those cool colors and enter the painting.

Tomorrow, I will come down again -- or when I come to the studio again -- I will take another look and see if I still like the changes I made. I will ask myself this question, "Is there any change I would do that would make these paintings significantly better?" If the answer is no, then this is how they will stay. And, I will move on to the next Ireland paintings. Sometimes, you need to just go on to the next painting to implement what you learned on the most recent work!