Two weekends, a lot of painting, a lot of learning, process not product, sigh!

It was a wonderful workshop over two weekends, 4 days, 6 hours each day, spent in the lovely Arnold Arboretum in Boston.

My goal – sharpen my direct representational oil painting techniques, working on my color mixing and using a palette knife – working boldly and quickly – Plein Air technique, not about sustained studio painting – not saying one is preferable to the other, just working on my skill set for Plein Air.

Each day I remained at the same spot completing 2 paintings from each view; over 6 hours light changes and I felt there was more to be learned this way. I was also working on breaking myself of poor color mixing habits – like using a dirty brush rather than a clean palette knife.

Time to confess – I was reluctant about the palette knife, too connected to cheesy TV artists making formula art, but it IS just a tool! (Tell myself that repeatedly) Several of these paintings are totally done in palette knife, and I think I successful incorporated it in the sixth piece (at the bottom follow the link if necessary cause this post is long) – which is rather dramatic at 36 x 18 inches. Ever start one painting with a specific vision in mind and wind up with an utterly different painting? I really expected the final painting to be similar to Before It’s Gone.  Surprise! The abstract expressionist painter that was me 30 years ago escaped!

My favorite piece is a work on paper, the preliminary sketch for that final painting. Go figure. Its the second to last painting with the burnt sienna washed background, gesso on watercolor paper.


 

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What’s on the nightstand?

The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels. Tao Te Ching translated by Stephen Mitchell
July 2008
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