Thursday, July 31, 2008
On Wednesday, day three of the Richard McKinley workshop, we drove north to Smith Rock State Park, Oregon. The place was awe inspiring wherever you looked. Painting rocks had me really excited because I love to paint rocks. This place just about did me in. There was so much to chose from. Talk about a pastel artist in the Dakota warehouse! (Dakota Pastels is an online pastel artist's mecca located in northwestern Washington.) I had a really hard time, so set up in the shade near the parking lot and decided to attempt this view. First, I had to do my thumbnail sketches. Before too long, I got totally lost. Never a good sign. However, I persevered, and came up with a plan. Once I got the small sketch done, I put in on the larger paper. Everything was fine up to that point.
One of the techniques Richard teaches is using an underpainting. I have talked about this before, and have had good results before. I figured it would work out fine. That is until all my carefully placed sketch disappeared. I realized I had only done underpaintings on pieces that did not require detailed sketches. I should have gone with my first instinct to just start the painting. But, I was a good little student and did the wash. I nearly cried when I realized what I had done. Then, I decided to try and paint the painting anyway. Such a disaster. One of the first things Richard said was to expect to paint my worst paintings in the workshop because it was a learning experience. Well, this was my worst painting ever. Fortunately, we stopped for lunch and to watch a painting demonstration.
By the time I got back to the easel, I decided to wipe out what I had, and start all over. Pastel is such a forgiving medium. My paper ended up with interesting tones upon which I redid my sketch. Of course, it wasn't as good or as fresh as my original, but I made it work. As I started to build up the colors, I started having fun, finally. I still struggled, and as you will see, I have much work to do, I think this painting now has potential. I will carry it with me until I get back into my studio in seven week.s and I will work it some more. Here it is, warts and all.Monkey Face
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Today we met on location at Green Lakes Trailhead about 27 miles west of Bend, up in the mountains. It was incredibly beautiful. There were three mountains nearby. There was a full stream and wonderful meadows. During Richards demonstration, we were visited by a beautiful little doe. Fortunately, the weather was much cooler, so we all had more energy for painting. There were not so many bugs in the cooler, overcast weather.
Today, Richard talked about aerial, or atmospheric perspective. This is where the artist takes into account knowledge about light waves, refraction, and distance. Here in the northwest, we have quite a bit of moisture in the air, so things that are in the distance become lighter and more blue. The artist has to take that into account to help the viewer see those distances. I am still struggling with that, but I understand it better now.
There were so many views to choose from to paint. Several of the group painted Broken Top mountain. Several chose the meandering stream. A few of us chose the wonderful meadows filled with wildflowers. I worked very hard on my painting, trying to put all my new knowledge to use. I am still struggling with the wall of trees in the distance. I think they detract from the overall painting. Unfortunately, the photo of this painting is really not good. As all artists know, the camera does lie, especially about values. My meadow has many more values than this photo shows.
Tomorrow, we are going to a place called Smith Rocks State Park. I do love painting rocks. Maybe I will have less of a struggle tomorrow. Moving from the studio to pleine air is much tougher than I expected.