Rain drove us indoors on our workshop's third day. This gave us an opportunity to work on a variety of projects. At the Moultonborough Historical Society, which is our backup studio, I set up a simple still life with the assistance of students. Although in the past I've had students paint from photos on rainy days, lately I've been encouraging them to paint from the still life. Even though this is a landscape workshop, I feel it's more important to paint from life - even if it's apples and bananas rather than trees and ponds. Still, I don't force this on anyone. Some painted from photos or "tweaked" work done earlier in the week.
The day before, I demonstrated how I paint quick (30-minute) 5x7 studies to capture the essence of the scene. With the following sketch of two boats at Squam Lake, I pointed out how more important it is to capture light and color in this kind of sketch. Details, such as the precise angle of mast to hull or the position of one boat in relation to the other, are something I would rather capture in a drawing without color. My goal isn't to create a finished painting with these, but to observe and record.
On our rainy day, I continued with another of these quick sketches, this time with the still life:
Both of these were done on Belgian Mist Wallis Sanded Paper with Polychromos pastels. I used no underpainting or wash but went right in with the pastel.
On the fourth day, we went to the Remick Museum in Tamworth. Even though we had drizzle, mist and spotty rain, we were able to find shelter when necessary. The Museum has some beautiful old barns and outbuildings to paint, along with pigs, cows and goats. I demonstrated under an attached shed that had a pair of barn swallows flitting in and out as they tried to build a nest beneath the roof. We painted to the bleating of kids that were being weaned off their mothers.
Seven Minute Silhouettes
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