Tuesday, September 26, 2017

T.W. Wood Gallery Pastel Workshop in Vermont

Demonstration:  Bay View, 12x14 pastel by Michael Chesley Johnson

I always like to teach a workshop or two while Trina and I are making our cross-country trek.  Not only does it break up the trip, but I get to make some new friends and to help them on their way to becoming better painters.  This week, I taught a two-day pastel-only workshop in Montpelier, Vermont, at the T.W. Wood Gallery.  The weather in New England had turned hot—I think it hit 88 or 89 the second day—so we were all thankful it was a studio-only workshop, and that the studio had an air-conditioner.

Vermont's Capital City, Montpelier

T.W. Wood Gallery

Most of the participants were members of the Vermont Pastel Society, and none of them were beginners.   This let us break into some advanced material, such as my “extreme limited pastel palette,” and to dive deep into color theory.   I enjoyed fielding some very good questions from them and demonstrating my answers.

How cool is it in the shade?
12x9 pastel demonstration
Barre Street

Although this was advertised as studio-only, I did a plein air demonstration right outside the gallery on Barre Street the first morning.  A couple of students chose to work outdoors in what shade they could find.  Although there's not much natural landscape in Montpelier, the town is very old and offers a bounty of beautiful, old homes and scenic streets.  Maybe next time, when I'm sure it will be much cooler, I will hold a “painting architecture” workshop.

The Mystery Plein Air Man
One evening, while we were waiting to join students for dinner at Sarducci's, we toured State Street and happened across a plein air painter.  He was painting happily from a platform mounted on his pickup truck.  I rather admired his braveness, painting in the middle of Vermont's capital city on a Saturday evening, but then I realized nobody was going to bother him—he occupied a plane far removed from earth-bound tourists.  At the most, he received curious looks, but no inquiries, so far as I could see.

Now we are in Saint Louis, half-way through our trip.  Although Saturday was the first day of Autumn, we have had 90+ degree weather ever since we left Vermont.  It was 93 degrees in Buffalo, 91 in Cleveland, and it has been bouncing between 93 and 95 degrees since then.  We're expecting rain tomorrow when we reach Oklahoma.  What a blessing that will be!

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