Here are two pics from my three hour workshop at the Islip Museum of Art. I took more photos but these were the only ones that came out. It was thirty eager students crammed into a room sitting side by side at Pennsylvania smorgasbord style seating. Thanks to Carol, who works for the museum, for helping me to make it work.The event was sponsored by Grumbacher/Chartpak with the idea of introducing the students to Grumbacher's Max line of oil miscible paints. We worked from an enlarged photo of some daisies in a metal vase. Normally I don't work from photos or teach with photos but with a three hour time frame in the space provided it seemed like a good idea. As I explained to the group my goal was to give them a workable plan for constructing a painting, not neccessarily that they would complete a painting in three hours (although most of them did). We started by drawing on the canvas with vine charcoal where I talked about the envelope, straight line drawing, drawing through forms, and setting up the block-in. I explained that they needed to switch their brains into abstract thinking mode and see the photo as an acumulation of 2d shapes. Then we did a rub-in using raw umber.( I explained that water miscible does not mean water mixable so a rub-in would work better than a wash in). We talked about the importance of keeping the worlds of light and darkness clearly separate. Next we began to lay in the tones in a broad tiling manner working out of a dark base. The students seemed quite surprised to be painting without any medium whatsoever and getting good results. Somehow it's been pounded into our heads that you have to paint with medium. I told them to add something when you need it. If you're painting without medium and it's working, then don't add it just because you think you should. Anyways, the group kept up right along with me and even though they were using paper plates for palettes and painting on table tops instead of easels, they did not complain once and completed some pretty awesome paintings. As this was my first workshop, I guess I'm lucky that things went so well and now that I know what to expect I'll try to make the next one even better.
I have been hired by Grumbacher/Chartpak as a workshop artist instructor and demonstrator. I have already given a few demos at Michaels Arts and Crafts in Massapequa, N.Y. on using their Academy line of acrylics to paint landscapes and still lifes. The next one is going to be a bit different. It's Feb. 19 1-4p.m. at the Islip Museum of Art. This workshop will focus on using Grumbacher's Max line of water miscible oil paints with a focus on still life. They sent me a batch to try out and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I put the paint through some tests and it held up well. Water miscible does not mean water mixable. You can't thin the paint down like you would with mineral spirits. I tried underpainting using a rub-in technique and that worked great and is actually a sounder practice than breaking down the paint with mineral spirits. Anyway the workshop is apparently sold out with thirty students so I'm very excited.
These shots show a couple of the stages that a painting might go through, from the drawing, to the poster study to the underpainting. The poster is a little sunken in, I did it yesterday, but it helped me to get a handle on the skin tones and modulations. Andre is pretty dark skinned but he doesn't have an ounce of fat so he gets these really cool purple lights that react with his warmer body tones. My instructor at GCA gave me some tips on what colors to use and after that I was able to nail it. I spent this morning tubing up my colors so next session I'll be ready to go. I had meant to do the ebauche from life but the poster took up most of my time so the instructor suggested I do a simplified version at home using the study as a guide.
The still life drawing is for another 16"x20". It's just about ready for transfer. I'm including a peek of an interior in the background. I got the idea from looking at the paintings of Gerome where he sometimes shows a courtyard that unexpectedly opens up into a little slice of a vista.