Saturday, May 10, 2014

Road Trip, West to East - Toledo, Ohio, and the Toledo Artists Club

Tulips in  Toledo

Toledo has alway been a place we've just passed by on our cross-country journeys.  But we were surprised and pleased to find it's a thriving art town with beautiful parks.  My two-day workshop for the Toledo Artists' Club was centered at the Toledo Botanical Garden, which includes 60 acres of gardens plus manicured lawns and Crosby Lake.  The tulips were in full bloom for our workshop, along with a number of fragrant, flowering trees.

This workshop had painters in oil, pastel and even watercolor.  Although I don't "do" watercolor professionally, I paint in that medium for my own pleasure.  I enjoyed working with the watercolorists and offering them some suggestions based on my experiences.  (Tip:  To avoid paint drying too fast, work in small patches and avoid big washes.  Also, even though one typically works light-to-dark with watercolor, I like to place my shadows - lightly, of course - before they change.)

Toledo Park Bench, 9x12 oil sketch

For our first day, we had excellent if somewhat warm weather.  I demonstrated in oil, focusing on the temperature contrast of light and shadow.  For the second day, we had intermittent rain, which forced us indoors after my morning pastel demonstration, which I did manage to do out in the field.  In the afternoon, since we were working from photos, I showed them how to take a photo and make a painting from it that had that "plein air" feeling.  (More tips:  Keep the shadows lighter than they appear in the photo, and also push the color temperature contrast.)

Garden Path, 9x12 pastel sketch

We stayed with a wonderful Latvian family for our time in Toledo.  Liga is a fine watercolorist, and for our last morning, she made us a special treat - Latvian pancakes with bacon, sour cream and maple syrup.

Now we are in Blue Ash, a suburb of Cincinnati.  Tomorrow I'll meet with my editor from, and we'll go scouting locations for the plein air video; Monday we'll start the real work of shooting video.  As much as I'm looking forward to taping my three videos, I'm a little nervous - I won't have any students to ask me thought-provoking questions!

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