Friday, August 05, 2016

Art Demonstration

A few days ago, I gave a presentation and demonstration on my plein-air techniques to the Asheville Urban Landscape Project.  the AULP is a group of artists in the Asheville area that get together periodically to make some paintings.  During most of the year, they do landscapes outdoors and, in the winter months, they'll do figure sessions.  They also bring in accomplished local artists to do demonstrations of their painting styles.  I was honored to be asked this year.  Previous artists have included Richard Oversmith and Mark Harmon, so I was in some very accomplished territory.

I chose to do the demo at the Asheville Botanical Gardens.  This is a beautiful park-like area adjacent to UNC Asheville that shows the great biodiversity in western North Carolina.  About 25-30 people showed up.  I set up my French easel, gave a talk about the equipment and materials I use, and then started on a small painting of the gazebo.  I'd paint a few minutes, then talk a bit about what I was seeing, deciding, and doing, and answer questions whenever they popped up.  Some of the topics that we covered:
- using a neutral gray palette rather than a white one
- selecting and using a limited number of colors (one red, one blue, one yellow, along with burnt umber and yellow ochre)
- toning a canvas with a color before painting
- deciding on a composition: where the focus will be, the major light/dark areas, and areas of strongest color
- blocking in the composition with burnt umber
- building on the block-in with muted colors
- accentuating the focus areas with stronger colors
- reacting to changing light that can completely change the focus of the painting
- recovering from mistakes (actually, the whole process is one long recovery period, isn't it?)
- deciding when enough is enough before it becomes too much

The crowd was very engaged and asked lots of questions, which is always a good thing for me.  We had a good back-and-forth.  Here are some photos from the session:

A working artist is quite the fashionista.  Here's my sloppy self talking about the really exciting topic of the advantages of using a gray palette to lay out your paints.

Doing the initial block-in.  I was setting the horizon line in the upper third of the panel and the gazebo at the left third.

 Here's what I was looking at.  A little while later, the sun broke through the clouds and lit up the grass in front of the gazebo.  Changed everything.

And here's how it turned out ...

1 comment:

  1. I love watching your paintings come together - it's like magic!