Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Camille Przewodek Workshop - day 3

On day 3 we would move on from our block studies and meet in a part of Petaluma with clusters of historical houses in varying stages of disrepair and re-modeling.   Here we would transfer what we learned about how light affects a cube-shape to the slightly more complicated house shape, still using the same principals.    With all the character of these buildings juxtaposed with a ton of blooms there was a vast array of subject matter to tackle.  
Camille started out with a demo of this building below, and even though this was a very gray and dreary day, she transformed the scene and helped me see the absolutely beautiful color of this kind of weather - it was very inspiring!  

 Here is Camille's first lay-in of color
Efficiently working on covering the canvas comparing one color to the one next to it.

And then it was our turn:
I had managed to develop some sort of cold... most likely catching something on the plane after not shutting the vent, so I was feeling pretty miserable in the morning and had a really hard time getting started.   I decided to give myself a break and go easy in the task of finding the perfect subject....is there ever such a thing so I spent the morning walking around?

After lunch, nursing a warm drink and some decongestant I was somewhat ready to paint:-)

We were again using just a palette knife, which turns out to be a great way to limit the amount of noodling and detail you can get into.  Camille made an excellent point by stating that: (I'm loosely paraphrasing) You can't stop noodling and doing detail until you have something to replace it with.
Very true indeed and focusing on colors and using a palette knife definitely helps in that process.

This was painted as the sun was starting to come out and I'm happy with the fact that I was using color in a much bolder way than I usually would to describe the sun's effect.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Camille Przewodek Workshop - day 2

 On day two we graduated to painting some round objects!   Woo hoo!

The weather was still pretty cloudy and go from gray to sunny and back so our solution was to keep two paintings going and switch from one to the other as circumstances in light changed.   It was still a bit mind boggling for me to wrap my mind around the fact that a blue block in light would go towards "mauvy pink", but I was learning to go more extreme to start off just to describe the effect of the sun hitting the objects and then bring it back to the local color later.

These are the exercises done in the morning:
Grey Day version

I had a hard time with that yellow bucket?!...was the side facing me warmer or cooler?...looking at it now it would seem warmer would have been a better choice...for the asphalt behind as well!  I do like the colors on the white block though.

Sunny Day version

In the afternoon we did some more complex studies of rounded objects and blocks.  Here are mine again.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Camille Przewodek Workshop - day 1

I finally got a chance to take Camille Przewodek's workshop in May and I wanted to share a little of what I learned here.

We met on a Monday morning at Camille's studio in Petaluma.   Camille's work was familiar to me and I had known of her fantastic sense of color for many years, but it was only last summer spending time on Cape Cod that her mentor and teacher Henry Hensche and the connection to him became clear to me.  Camille shared with us how studying with him really changed her direction as an artist and ignited her passion for color.   It ultimately led her to move from a career as an illustrator to enjoying this long-standing success as a Plein Air Colorist.  

"I care about the effect of light" she explained and "I'm teaching you how to paint the color of air"

After an introduction to how Camille got to where she is and what she learned from Hensche we moved outside.

There we would continue learning more about  how to exaggerate the effect of light by taking on the colored block exercise.   We watched Camille do a demo using only a palette knife to mix and lay down her color.  She uses mostly gesso board and started with 6 colors; a warm and cool each, of yellow, red and blue.

The trick was to exaggerate how light would affect a color and compare one colored area with the one next to it, making sure to keep each color block different and remembering how warm sunlight makes a color in light.   I was surprised at how freeing this exercise was for me!   A big part of it I feel was due to the fact that I was using the palette knife.   Something I've never quite attempted and I loved the feeling of smearing on the paint as we remembered to work efficiently in laying down the paint.

This was my first attempt.  Three blocks in sun-light, a white, blue and red block.   Looking at this photo the colors seem a little funky, but it's a start and the goal was to show the effect of light, not necessarily the right local color.   The weather kept changing.  We went from sunny to cloudy and back again, so we would have to switch between our sunny and cloudy pieces to be able to paint what we were actually looking at:)

Below is my gray day colored blocks.

The last one is another example of the blocks on a cloudy day and I liked my application with the palette knife better.   It was a challenge to be able to hold the palette knife at just the right angle to get the paint down and I found myself needing to keep my work high enough on my easel when holding the knife vertically .
Some Great Words to Remember:
Black in sunlight is lighter than white in shadow.
Start with one color and then have everything relate to that first color.
Try to keep each color different from the other.
On a gray day, a warm sky makes the light area look cooler.
A Light area is warm in sun.
A Light area is cool on a gray day.
Cover efficiently.

These are Camille's blocks.  The one in sun-light is on the left and the one with cool light is on the right.  It is really clear which one is which!
Great first day and I enjoyed this absolute treat, courtesy my husband and Camille's great exercises.

My Favorite Camille quote:
"It's easy to tame a stallion.....It's hard to bring a dead horse back to life."

Friday, May 3, 2013

Enjoying the Light

Enjoying the Light
Oil on Linen on Panel

Being an artist I'm constantly stopped in my tracks by the beauty around me and this tractor was an example of that!   I was whizzing by with my painting friend Daggi, on our way to paint at the San Antonio Mission De Padua up in Central California earlier this year and I just loved the way the light hit this old tractor left in the field so - I just had to stop.   Luckily Daggi didn't mind.   It speaks of many years of loyal hard work and...maybe it's because I'm aging myself...lol...I appreciate the way the sun celebrated the charm of an aging machine!  It just touched me on many levels:-)
This painting is available for purchase and ready to frame through the link above.