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.


  1. Like very much the way her but bleeds into the bench
    maybe the foreground could have been a tad warmer?

  2. William, you produced a beautiful painting there. Just captures the feel of the impending storm and the cold white light of the umbrella is perfect!

  3. Ternay, you're a gift to the planet!

    Your Neighbor