Saturday, September 6, 2008

Doug Dawson Workshop - Days 4 & 5

The last two days of the workshop entailed a great deal of painting, interspersed with lunches and dinners filled with "art talk" and ending with critiques. What we learned from Doug would fill a book - and in fact, he is working on a book. (He says he's not quite ready to submit it to a publisher yet, but I think the world is ready. His earlier book, Capturing Light and Color with Pastel, has been out of print for some time.)

Thursday and Friday we stayed on Campobello Island and painted in several choice spots. We made sure to work hard on our value designs first. "I never used to do them," Doug said, "until I started teaching them. Then I found that they really do improve your compositional skill dramatically." In addition, we thought hard about color choices. On overcast days, Doug likes to start with a sheet of paper toned a cool violet-red to give the painting a cool look; on sunny days, he starts with a sheet toned a yellow-orange for warmth. In my oil paintings, some of which I underpainted with oil pastels, I used a similar approach.

"Salt Marsh Overcast" 9x12, oil - contact Michael for purchase

(By the way, I contacted Gamblin Artist Colors about my issue with oil pastels as an underpainting medium for traditional oils. Here's what they say: "Oil pastels are made with pigments bound in wax and a non-drying vegetable oil. If the oil pastel was thinned with OMS to the point where the vegetable oil was dissolved completely, leaving a thin wash of pigment behind, there may not be a problem painting oils on top of this. However, if the oil pastels were used alone, the non-drying oil binder may be trapped underneath the drying oil paint layers. This could cause adhesion problems in the future of the work. " I made sure to use a lot of OMS, so I'm safe!)

"Two Spruces" 9x12, oil - contact Michael for purchase

This was not your typical workshop. In a mentoring workshop such as this, students are expected to work in the field without hand-holding. This frees up time for the mentor to give out lots of information that ordinary workshops don't have time for. Everyone was very satisfied with the experience and said they'd definitely partake in something like this again.

The workshop is now over, and Doug and Sue are working their way west to teach a workshop in New York state. Thanks, Doug and Sue!

"Jackson's Wharf" 9x12, oil - contact Michael for purchase

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