Sunday, July 13, 2008

Plein Air Painting Workshop Day 3

Above in descending order: Beck w/ Errol Jacobson, Beck w/ Pablo DeLeon, Scott Tallman Powers @ Beck's easel.

Today I headed back to Bunker Hill woods to finish up the painting workshop I've been involved with this weekend. What a beautiful day! I painted in the woods the entire day. I, actually, was less creeped out by all the spiders, spider webs, spiders crawling on me - and my painting, etc. I think I gained a little on my life span just from being outdoors among green life! I found a tadpole nest - *ew* - I had to climb over it to get behind two mammoth trees I used as cover so I could pee in the woods. Oh, puh lease, I was literally a half mile from a bathroom.

I didn't have a great painting day but worked hard and clunked along. I think of the analogy of muscle building. For those of you who don't know, one builds muscle not during the workout but afterwards, during rest. It's a process of tearing down and rebuilding. So today, painting-wise, I was in the "rebuilding stage". It's the process not the product, right?

I had a great experience, met new artists and tackled some difficult subjects. Seriously folks, it's difficult to paint the woods and a muddy green river. Everything is effing green How do you represent it realistically yet still make it interesting? I found a few excellent subjects but had trouble transferring it to paint. In time.

Two snaps up to Scott who delved into my watercolor to show me a few tips. I'm proud of him for not being an oil painter snob! He totally went to town, mixing my watercolor paint furiously. He made me laugh when he'd wipe the brush on a paper towel. It's an oil painter thing to wipe off your brush (oh and I learned why - cleanliness is key - get ANYTHING in white oil paint and it's no longer white - what a pain in booty).
One of the crazy highlights of the day came when I went to my enormous tree to pee. As I was walking back I heard the voice of my friend and fellow painter, Pam Gibson, from across the river. She said "hey, get out of my composition!" She was kidding of course. So I decided it would be fun to give her some "figure drawing" to contend with. Let's just say, she saw the moon! Errol was working near me again today - and said "you'll embarrass me if you do that". I told him to close his eyes. I think he looked anyway.

Here is documentation of Scott working in watercolor - bet you didn't know that huh? We'll I'm breaking the story here, today. Thanks Scott! :-)

You may want to know what the big deal is between watercolor and oil painters. For starters, the process of painting is different. In watercolor, the painter has to establish and then plan for her brightest and lightest colors. Overall, a good painter chooses their lightest lights, darkest darks and strongest color before painting. So both mediums do the same there. But oils painters reverse the process - they establish darks first and paint that. Light oil paint can be painted atop of dark colors. This is NOT the case in watercolors. Transparent watercolorists don't use white or black paints. There are other ways around it. The white of the paper acts as our whites. If you lose them up the whole project is lost. There are minimal ways to reclaim that white space (sanding, and *gasp* God forbid, white paint). There is a trade off of effects and finishes. Overall I find watercolor waaaaaaay more fun than oils so far. Watercolor is faster, cleaner and brighter. This isn't a hard and fast rule, of course. Both mediums, in the hands of a good painter, will be great. But as a young Mom with kids, I prefer having non toxic watercolors around as opposed to turpenoid and hard to remove oil paints. If you want to disagree with me, get your own blog ;-)

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