Thursday, July 21, 2011

Park Rapids, MN workshop...good folks, good time!

The first day of our workshop was a pretty good cooker of temperatures...and we met at a horse ranch outside Park Rapids, MN.  What caught my eye was the very intriguing stables, buildings the ranch offered...but our first painting was dealing with emphasis on essentials and fundamentals, the importance of values for depth illusion and variation/intrigue in the work to stand alone as a fine painting.  Thus, choosing a simpler subject for everyone and to be near enough to help organize palettes for one...and teach.  

Once everyone was working...I used a values driven palette that I was going to be emphasizing and thought it would be instrumental that folks understood that though it was a limited would not suffer for lack of color and punch as they, after all...were executing a monochromatic first study from the same palette.  Thus...after setting up my palette and seeing Steve Beaubien off and running on his own painting, I did this quick 12"x 9" work above.  Painted on what I call a pumice panel...(2-3 tablespoons of #FFFF pumice added to one cup gesso, and a bit of black acrylic to have a neutral darker ground).

Second day proved a challenge, especially for those new to painting plein air, as thunderstorms were predicted all day in the area.  My observations of the struggles some folks were having (Steve is a veteran to this though...) just organizing the palettes (from cool to warm colors, setting up darks to lights and having them assigned a spot for easy access...and a decent amount of paint put out to work with) thought we could accomplish just as much if not more working indoors...from life, and thus used a room adjacent to the Blank Canvas gallery (which hosted this workshop).  Setting up a bottle of wine, couple glasses and bread.  With essentials understood...we would be better prepared for the next day to paint outdoors.

Stressed not just painting everything as is...but to move things around on the canvas/support to make an ideal composition...and this time using color with values, dark...mid, light and white.  Here was my demo of the same...9" x 12" on pumice panel-

Next day, more rain...winds up to 70mph were in the forecast, so we decided to find a pavillion where we could set up...and did so in the town of Osage...and, as it would turn out we had rain, stormy clouds, breaks in the clouds, sun...back to cloudy and the artists experienced nature's mood change about 8 or 9 different times.  It was a good lesson on why one needs to have basic things like an organized palette paint quickly and efficiently.

Here you see a number of the artists set up and working...

One problem facing workshops in providing assurance of nearby facilities, keeping everyone together and some other conveniences is that, weather can be challenging...and the selection of locations to work from such as this pavilion may guarantee comforts, but not necessarily an ideal view of paintable ideal subject content.  

I seized that reality thinking it would be useful for the artists to demonstrate how to go about getting something from nothing...or extracting the possibility of a good painting from the subject with the mantra-  "paintings work for reasons paintings work"...and this last demo example was my result, and pleased that one of the workshop artists decided they wished to buy this one...also, 9"x 12" oil on pumice panel...

Overall...a productive and fine workshop and am looking forward to being invited back.  I also found myself fond of one of Steve Beaubien's work in their gallery...and just had to have it!

As on the images to bring up a larger image view...

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