Thursday, August 26, 2010

Philly to Maine and now Provence.

I really don't know how my "Painting A Day" colleagues do it!
I've been at our cabin, in Maine, for the past two weeks, painting
in the mornings, working on the cabin and grounds during the day,
and of course, hanging out with my kids at all times, eating fresh seafoods,
and usually ending the day at the "Lily Pond," for a good swim and a jump off the rope swing.
And this evening, I fly to Provence, for a week of teaching in a painting workshop.
Am I crazy, or what? Here's a taste of the art done, while in Maine.
A bientot  

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sunset Cruise on the Maurice River.

One of the really serene highlights of our workshop week is the sunset cruise on the Maurice River.
Once again our River Guide was Captain Dave, a longtime "Friend of the Barn Studio." He obviously
enjoys sharing his vast  knowledge of the history of the river, and its' inhabitants, starting with the
Lenni-Lenape people, and early Colonists of the Delaware Bay area. 

For Pat Witt, the Maurice River and its' tributaries and marshlands and ditches and wildlife and
earthy wet smells have forever formed, and informed, her life as an artist and teacher.

 I have the daily pleasure of owning and living with four of Pat's beautiful and elegant paintings.

We had hardly pushed off from the dock, before Pat had her sketchbook out, making rapid sketches
of her impressions of the passing wetlands and sometimes steep banks of the river.

 And because of a few days of stormy skies, Mother Nature gave us a wonderful show.

 Mostly, we sat and simply looked at the beauty of it all. We knew we were so very fortunate to
have this week, to paint along the river.

Rounding a bend, yet another view of the Burcham Farm.

At one point, as I stood with Pat and Kandice, at the bow of the boat...

 We recieved this gift from the Art Spirit.

A wonderful way to end this year's cruise on the Maurice River.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day Three, Maurice River Plein Air Workshop; Marie Natalie

I had never had the pleasure of meeting Marie Natale, the instructor for the third day of our workshop.
But I'd seen her beautiful, lush, loose and luminous water colors, at Pat's Barn Studio. As I suspected,
she was a "kindred spirit", obviously in love with the medium, and enjoying the opportunity to share her knowledge with  students.

Like her paintings, Marie's personality was overflowing and her humor and obvious love of the medium, infectious. After everyone was set up in the shelter of an open shed...once again, storms had been predicted, Marie did a small demo, just to discuss and show the immediacy of her approach to painting in water color. Note that she prefers to work vertically, which guarantees wet washes will be influenced by gravity, big time. Not for the faint of heart!

But Marie encouraged everyone to be brave, and assured us the medium can be controlled, if one proceeds
in a logical way. Rule # one: Only work into washes two ways. When they are wet, and then after they are once again dry.

She showed her palette, and discussed why she loves mixing colors on the paper, and not on the palette
first. She encouraged using a "triad" of reds, blues, and yellows, whenever possible.

And she emphasized the importance of using the loaded SIDE of the brush to apply color, using the
tip only for details. Why wear out the tip of very, very, expensive Sable brushes?

Marie then chose a nearby outbuilding as a subject for her more elaborate painting demo. Students
saw how she applied the various techniques, discussed earlier, in a painting.

After a break for lunch, students ventured out to a variety of vantage points, to paint the river and the distant marshlands, and as it turned out, the approaching storms, coming from the southwest. Marie went from student to student, giving her input. Since I love water color so much, I decided to live dangerously and do a painting, myself.

I was fascinated by the image of the one student with the umbrella, set up along the shoreline.
Her pile of "shapes," in juxtaposition with all that wonderful "nature stuff" going on, was just waiting
to be painted. Note the subtle texture in my sky, the result of getting caught twice in sudden downpours.
After the painting dried, I decided Mother Nature had done my painting and me a favor. I liked it.
As did one of my students, who ended up trading with me for one of her paintings, which
I'll show you in an upcoming post.

 Around four P.M., Marie gathered everyone together, and proceeded to give a very thoughtful and
insightful crit of each student's paintings. Many of the students had never used water colors before this
class. As I said earlier, Marie's enthusiasm for water color was infectious, and everyone came away
from this day knowing so much more about this elegant, gutsy, and not really so mysterious, medium,
thanks to Marie's instruction.