Thursday, November 20, 2014

Simplifying with William Wray

Oil on Linen panel
 Not exactly in line with our exercise, but one I loved because of the truck:-)

3-day Workshop with William Wray
 What I learned in William Wray's workshop is that 
doing 3-value - Simple-shape exercises can be a really liberating way to look at how to strengthen and unify the impact of my work!

Here's William's first quick Demo on Friday where he showed us what we were to aim for that day:  
Do a simple draw in
Block in 3 values and 
Simplify your Shapes (Strive for - Big, medium, small)
Doing it this way helps in evaluating the strength of the abstract shapes and whether they will make for a strong enough subject/scene to paint.    And simplifying to this degree means not worrying too much about accurately including and getting everything in there.

 It was hard...!!!   

I think I only heard the first part about the values, not the 3 shapes?!  So, I was pretty proud of myself and how much I had simplified these first four scenes into values:-)   Here's my first 4 attempts:

As you can tell I was pretty seduced by the number of values and shapes I saw, the lights and darks, and the complication and detail of those shapes:-)  To make it into just 3 values, decisions had to be made about mid-values.  Some going either lighter or darker to lump them with another value.  And it also became clear that the process of picking a subject to paint could either help or hinder me in my efforts.

Here's how William took two of my thumbnails and simplified them to where they really needed to go for this exercise:

My 2nd attempt on day 1:
and here are William's improvements and simplifications of the 2 on the bottom:

So valuable for me to see how far he took it!

Here's William's demo piece from Sunday with more added detail:
 I love how well it reads and the wonderful light!  One other thing that stands out from what he mentioned is that sometimes you need to let go of painting it right, to capture


  1. Love your blog. Sounds like Bill Wray's workshop was great!! Somehow I never heard about it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Marion! I signed up when he posted it on FB and I had it in my newsletter as well:-) Hopefully he'll do it again! It's given me a breakthrough re:massing things together and simplifying...looking at my own work in a different way now:-)

  2. Yes, have done this exercise and what a challenge. Sounds like you have been liberated! Nice outcomes!


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