Sunday, March 30, 2014

Working from Photographs

On my trip to New Mexico last year I took two cameras with me. I didn't want to risk having one camera conk out. I took hundreds of photos, not wanting to miss anything. When I am in the mood to 'paint New Mexico', the hardest problem is deciding what image to use. I can spend hours going through the photos, happily drifting back into time.

Although I usually work from photos as a reference, at some point the painterly muse takes over. Below are samples of my paintings, with the reference image on the left and the finished piece on the right.

 "Colours of Santa Fe", 8 x 8"

The photo was taken on Canyon Road, known for its hundreds of galleries. The streets are lined with warm colours, turquoise painted windows and doors and mucho big potted flowers.

"Taos Pueblo Traditions", 8 x 8"

A tour of the Taos Pueblos was, for me, one of the highlights of the trip. I was drawn to the simplicity of the lines of this design. In the end, I felt it needed a bit more colour, thus I added some strokes of grass in the foreground plus a design in the window curtain.

"Santa Fe Gallery", 8 x 8"

The curves and colours of the adobe buildings was so inviting, and what I would call the real New Mexico. One could imagine walking through the door and finding a lovely garden studio gallery.

Dreaming of New Mexico ....

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why I Love Workshops

I never tire of organizing and attending workshops. This past weekend was no exception.

Almost two years in the planning, it was our pleasure to host David Langevin for a painting workshop; his first on Vancouver Island.

Three days may sound like a long enough time, but the days just flew by. Friday we worked mostly on theory; properties of paint, etc. It's a good idea to have a clear understanding of your materials. Notes were made, great questions were asked and answered and many laughs made for a fun and informative day. We had time in the afternoon to practice glazes and veils.

Day two we worked on a painting using glazes and veils, as the old master Caravaggio painted. David says "Now take the glaze and brush it across the entire surface. Understand? Now you try."

Day 3 we tackled a grisaille painting; a method using different shades of grey. Once you have a strong value painting, you then add the colour.

We all enjoyed David's 'magic' as he went through his process of working on a painting. It  brought on great discussions, conversations and lots of laughter.

Starting with a detailed drawing on the canvas, he puts a warm glaze over the entire surface.
More glazes, more colour, more discussion - the painting quickly came to life.

Looking good now! Asked if it is finished, David says "Nope, not yet."

David is a master of the old masters. As David says "Only David Langevin and Caravaggio paint this way".

I love to organize workshops and bring in wonderful artists to learn from. We keep the class size limited to 12, which makes for an intimate and comfortable group. It's fun to spend the weekend with like-minded artists, a chance to meet new people and to sharpen one's painting skills.

Plus, if the mood moves me, I often make fresh cookies for our morning break.

Check out our website for upcoming workshops. See you at the next one.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...