Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More Info on Sadie Valeri's Workshop

I was extremely pleased to read and see Sadie's blog after she arrived back in San Fransisco.  There is more information showing her step by step process.  Take a look and you will see where we painted and images of her painting.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Final Wrap-up for Sadie Valeri's WS

I'm back home and have had time for all the information to simmer and let the lessons rise like steam.  Processing so much information in such a short amount of time often makes me want to curl up in a fetal position.  Now that I have had some quiet time to reflect and to look at my pictures, I will try to share briefly some of the highlights.

First of all I have to applaud Maggie Kruger and M Gallery for their outstanding way they treated each and every participant.  Food was always available so that we didn't have to leave for lunch and breakfast was waiting for us when we arrived.  This photo shows the picnic table we all gathered around at lunchtime to get acquainted with each other.  The setting was "old Florida" at it's best.

Sadie broke up each stage of the multi-level process each day with a demonstration, as well, as discussing any questions we had about procedures or materials.

Between each layer of thin paint, we wet sanded the surface with a 1500 grit sandpaper to remove any dust or ridges.  This prepared the surface for the next layer.  Frustration in the drying process occurred  because of the humidity of our Florida climate that Sadie was not use to in San Fransisco.

Here is Sadie's early stage of painting the wax paper with a small silver  pitcher.  The minute brush strokes were amazing as we watched the metamorphosis transform into a work of art.

I'm never pleased with my results in a workshop environment but I will show you one image.  There was no way anyone could finish this process in five days but at the end, we all had a much better understanding of her unique process.

Check out the workshops on the M Gallery's website.  You will be surprised at the high quality of painters who regularly travel down to Sarasota.  Just this last week, David Kassan and Sue Lyon were here. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 4 of Sadie Valeri's Workshop

Most of my underpainting was dry upon arriving this morning but there was a small area of white that was still tacky.  In a perfect world/workshop, all of the paint should be completely dry before proceeding but one must move on.  The next step was to lay down a "couch."  Translated that means a mixture of two parts linseed oil to one part stand oil.  Remember, we are working lean to fat.  After brushing on a thin layer of this mixture, we used the 1500 grit sandpaper to sand down any bumps and to take off any particles of dust.  The finish was beautiful.

Next we mixed strings of the local color that we would be working with.  Everybody else was painting the wax paper which meant some variation of a warm or cool gray.  Not me!  I jumped right into painting the orange tangerine.  What was I thinking.  But with some trial and error and a little help from my instructor, I was painting with very little difficulty.  After the tangerine, I went on to the warm toned white stone pot.  That's as far as I got today and I'm hoping to finish this layer by tomorrow.

This way of working requires a lot of patience and a steady hand.  Although I don't think I will totally change my style of working to this method, I will most certainly use some of this new found knowledge.  Besides learning this method of working, the sidebar lessons were very informative and ones that I had never learned before.  I'm a happy camper!

Review of Day 3 of Sadie Valeri's workshop

Wednesday was continual painting.  I can't believe that a canvas 5"x 7" would take this long to cover in a closed grasaille.  Why would it you ask?  This method requires a lot of LOOK and a few strokes of PUT.  Couple this with trying as hard as you can to match values in relationship to the values around it and the total environment of the still life.  Sadie's latest work is a series called Wax Paper Series.  Almost all of the participants in the workshop set up their still life using wax paper surrounding an object.  For them, the challenge was greater than mine.  When you see my image you will understand.  I choose something simple because of wanted to focus more on learning the concepts with the simpler forms (tangerine with ceramic pot). It was still a challenge.  At the end of the day the entire surface was covered.  Today we introduce color.

Last night our sponsoring host ,M Gallery of Fine Art  and Maggie Kruger, the owner, opened her lovely home on Long Boat Key.  If you have an opportunity to take a workshop from M Gallery, you are in for a real treat and excellent instruction.  I highly recommend it.  Check out their list of upcoming workshops.
People are coming in so I will close for now.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 2-Sadie Valeri"s Workshop

Tuesday was a full day of learning.  Sadie's classical training comes through in every aspect of her teaching.  I am now a firm believer in beginning my drawings with straight lines instead of the innocuous curved lines.  Judging angles and distances are so much easier and the objects have a solidity that is not there otherwise.  Yesterday was a short lecture on the nature of organic forms--life and energy.  We all use symbolic words to describe organic forms, i.e., arm, finger, hand.  In life the following is true.  All shapes in nature are tapered, not parallel.  Shapes are spiral including arms, tree trunks, bones.  All forms interlock with each other and continue through to the other form.  And last, and probably the most aha for me, all forms are convex not concave.  For example, a waist looks like it goes "in" (concaved) but in reality, a series of curves that push out.   

After the lecture, she demonstrated the second layer (closed grisaille) using raw umber, ultramarine blue, and white.  Previously the white of the canvas was left white which is an open grisaille.  Wednesday we will finish this stage and proceed with color on Thursday.  Picture coming on Saturday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Workshop with Sadie Valeri

My workshop with Sadie Valeri--oil painter from San Fransisco--began today.  After a three plus hour drive, I arrived in a remote area of Bradenton, Fl near I75.  Our host is Sue Foster and her studio is to die for.  I will post pictures Saturday after I arrive back home.  Today we watched a three hour demo and then it was our turn.  Using her method, we drew a simple still life on mylar with straight lines and no attempt to capture value.  Upon completion, we transferred the image onto a gessoed board that was prepared by Sadie using her "cooked" gesso on Art Board.  It is the end of this day and the image has been sealed with a mixture of turpentine and Damar varnish.  Tomorrow it will be dry and I believe we will be attempting to lay in a tonal underpainting.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New paints

I am always looking at new materials and trying new paints.  Last fall at the Weekend with the Masters, Gamblin Paints gave the participants a sample of a new product they were soon to be marketing.  In our bag was a tube of Transparent Earth Red alkyd oil paint.  I was excited since earth red (transparent earth oxide red) is a color I frequently use in my underpaintings.  Thinking I could buy their alkyd line of paints now, I found out that they were still in the "testing" stage.  Upon calling, they asked if I would like to be a tester.  Well Monday a box of three colors arrived-transparent earth red, ultramarine blue, and titanium white.  They dry within 18 to 24 hours which means I can begin painting over my underpainting the next day.  Yesterday I laid in my underpainting using these three colors plus transparent yellow ochre and so far I am thrill with the results.  The product is called FASTMATTE and I hope they will be on sale soon.

Also, this Sunday, I will be leaving to attend Sadie Valeri's workshop in Brandenton, Florida.  If you haven't visited her blog, you must.  There is so much information available, you could be on it for days just learning new and interesting information.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Garlic and Vinegar

My strength is almost back to normal so I'm back at the easel.  I thought I would try the Painting A Day ritual to see if I can get back into the groove again.  I have large pieces that I need to begin soon but this is a great way to "warm up" like stretching before exercising.    


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Portrait of Lauren

Stopping at a local sidewalk cafe during the Halifax Art Show, I was served by this very captivating server and knew I just had to have here sit for me.  Her skin was like porcelain and her high cheek bones and blue eyes made me think of the northern European girls of Sweden.  I can't wait to have her come back for more posing. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oil Painters of America

February has been brutal.  Without going into details, I had surgery and after three weeks, am up and painting again.  The great thing about it all is that now I can walk without pain after about five years of suffering.  Now for the really good news.  My painting "Sew Many Memories" was accepted into the 19th National Juried Exhibition by Oil Painters of America.  If you have never been to one of their exhibitions, you are missing a real treat.  Every painting is superb.  This year it will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Legacy Gallery.
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