Saturday, August 7, 2010

Doug Dawson Workshop

Doug Dawson, Master Pastellist, PSA, came to Lubec last week to conduct a five-day plein air workshop. This, his third visit to the area as my guest instructor, was full of sunshine, but we did have a bit of rain and fog to keep us on our toes. At one point, when I was reviewing possible painting locations, I suggested not going to one spot because of the frequent fog. "Are you trying to avoid the fog?" he asked. "Where I come from (Denver), we have so little of it, and I really look forward to painting in it!" I granted him his wish, and let him paint fog for an afternoon.

This was a mentoring workshop. Unlike a typical workshop, in which the teacher first demonstrates and then helps the students at their easels, this one ran on the premise that the students are advanced enough to paint on their own. He once described this workshop as "painting with Doug," in which he let students into his head as he went through the day. We were always welcome to follow him as he selected a location, analyzed the play of light, shadow and color, and built up a painting - and if we did, he gave us a full narration of his process. Some of us treated these periods as demonstrations, while others of us painted on our own and waited for the critiques and "art talk" periods to get our dose of Doug.

Every day was intense - starting after breakfast with a trip into the field, followed by a lunch break, then another painting period and a long critique. On most nights, we also had discussions on composition and color or on taking reference photos at twilight. (Doug is well-known for his paintings of city scenes at dusk.) I imagine the week exhausted everyone, except Doug, who seems to have unlimited stamina for teaching.

Below are a few shots of the week. One is of Doug's pastel setup. Two are my paintings still in the field. Once I've made adjustments in the studio, I'll post them again.

Doug's Pastel Setup

Doug painting at Jackson's Landing

Doug's version of Jackson's Wharf

My version of Jackson's Wharf, in oil

My painting from the Lubec bandstand on a drizzly morning


Jo Castillo said...

Looks like you guys were in the zone. Very nice. I like the way Mr. Dawson handles perspective on buildings, makes it simple.

David Carroll said...

I like your oil version of Jackson's Landing. You captured the value differentials between the underside of the building and the sky.

I like the movement of lines of the roof and the boat.

Brenda Boylan said...

Thanks for posting about Doug's workshop. I heard he is a fabulous instructor. It sounds a lot like Albert Handell's Mentoring program that runs for about a week. Love Doug's work...maybe he'll come out to Portland, OR?

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Thanks, Jo, David and B! B - You should ask Doug, especially if you have a group that is interested.

Joan Breckwoldt said...

I love your paintings, thanks for the great photos of all the action!