Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Hampshire Workshop, Day 1

This week I'm in Goffstown, New Hampshire, teaching a four-day workshop for New Hampshire Plein Air. This is a dynamic group of painters that has invited me down for my third year. The last two workshops were springtime ones; this year, we're getting to see a bit of fall color peaking through the greens.

Yesterday, we went to a nearby farm that is always a joy to paint. This farm has barns, donkeys, sheep, tractors - you name it. I chose to do a 9x12 pastel demonstration of the main barn. You won't see any animals in it, because they were a bit shy, staying in the cool shade beneath the barn and out of sight. (Later, some of the students chose to paint on the other side of the barn, where Guy lives. Guy, an outspoken critic, didn't hold any punches when critiquing their works-in-progress. Guy's a donkey.)

The approach I'm focussing on for this workshop is making a painting by starting with a few, big, simple shapes and adjusting the relationships of these shapes. I adjust value, color, intensity and temperature and constantly compare one shape with another. You'd be surprised at how much "implied detail" and realism can come into play with this approach. I've included two shots of the demo below, along with a photo of one of the students (Eileen Robert) painting from the comfortable seat of a tractor.

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