Thursday, February 12, 2015

Albert Handell Mentoring Program: Day 4, And More Rocks!

Wednesday morning, we headed once again to Indian Canyons where Albert launched into painting a large pastel piece. He started with a transparent watercolor underpainting this time, using Payne's Grey as a base, modified with a warmer or cooler color as demanded by the scene. He worked with a large mop brush and let the watercolor flow freely.

When the painting was dry, he applied pastel selectively, keeping the shadows deep, intense and simple. In the light areas, he added suggestions of detail with value and color variations. When he was done, much of the underpainting still showed through, especially in the lower areas where he desired to leave a more abstract feeling. The subject was the same "Lion King" rock he'd painted the day before.

After his demonstration, we still had time to paint before lunch, so I went to a rim-lighted scene I had discovered earlier in the week.

Warm, Reflected Light 9x12 pastel
This is the one I worked on later in the day in a different place from where I painted it

I worked in pastel again because I had some mounted paper I wanted to use up. I didn't finish this painting in one session, but ended up doing a little more work on it while at a different location in the afternoon. It was a case of not needing to have the subject in front of me; the painting itself required certain changes to make it work better. (All suggested by Albert during the critique session.)

Albert and his two paintings
At lunchtime, Albert brought out and compared his two paintings of the "Lion King" rock. One was the transparent watercolor underpainting from earlier in the day; the other, the pure pastel piece from the day before. It was fascinating to see these two different interpretations side-by-side. In the mixed-media piece, he was responding to the Payne's Grey underpainting; in the pure pastel one, to the buff tone of the raw paper. Because of the underpainting (or lack thereof), each demanded a different color solution to the scene - even though both were painted at the same time of day under the same lighting conditions.

I asked him which one he liked better. "I like them both!" he said, grinning.

Lunchtime critiques

In the afternoon, we headed up to the Palm Canyon area were we could walk down to a stream. This is a broad area, carpeted with lush, green grass and filled with warm light and pockets of cool shadows. Boulders provide stepping stones across the stream and places to sit. I'd longed to paint in this beautiful oasis since the day Albert took me on our photography hike. Unfortunately, clouds had moved in (along with some wind), and the glittering moments of spectacular lighting were gone. At the end of the day, the pastel I made seemed so dull compared to the light-filled scenes we'd been looking at all week. I am putting it aside for further review before showing it here.

At dinnertime, we missed Albert and Jeanine. Albert had been fighting a cold all week, and he stayed home to rest up for the next day.

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