Friday, October 2, 2009

Vermont Workshop, Day 1 - Shapes

We're now in Burke, deep in the heart of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. You never know how your "leaf peeping" plans will go, since peak foliage color can sometimes fall a week earlier or later than you expect. This year, however, we hit it right on. I'd say we're pretty close to peak here. On this 115-acre family compound that we've rented for the workshop, many of the sugar maples are bedecked with crimson and gold.

Although it's uncommon to have temperatures so low that they are just nudging 40, that's what happened today. A cold front whipped through last night, even leaving a dusting of snow atop Burke Mountain. Our students braved the cold to paint the foliage, fortified by coffee and tea and a pot of steaming corn chowder Trina cooked up for lunch. I didn't think I'd need my down parka, but I'm glad I brought it!

Today we talked about simplifying the scene into big shapes, and painting the scene by adjusting shape relationships. By shape relationships, I mean whether a shape is lighter or darker, cooler or warmer, or a slightly different hue than another. By adjusting value, color and temperature relationships, the painting nearly paints itself. (Of course, you have to get the shapes of the shapes right, too!)

Here are two demonstrations I did, both in oil. The first (9x12) shows Burke Mountain and the second (7x5), a little pond by our lodge.

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