I write this from Tofino on a very wet and windy day.
I spent the weekend at Dominik' Modlinski's mark-making and concept development workshop. I have been an admirer of his work and his energy for many years and was pleased to finally be able to spend some time with him. I take workshops for many reasons - in this case it was his colour sense, his unique compositions and to experience his approach to teaching.
The workshop was a small-group workshop conducted at his home studio in Nanaimo. The small number of participants and being in his home studio was another reason I was interested. He and his wife made their home available making it a warm, friendly and relaxed environment - good for learning.
It did not take long to appreciate the degree of Dominik's enthusiasm for art, for teaching art and for the life he has created for himself around art. He was very open and willing to share ..
I was not sure what I was getting into in this "mark making" workshop. But I love challenging myself to see where others ideas can affect my work.
After a discussion on techniques in mark making we began by laying a template of five 5x7 formats on large sheets of news prints. Then using a mix of tools (charcoal, acrylic makers, conte etc) make fast impressionistic designs of shape and value in each of the 5x7s . We hung the sheets on the wall, discussed first impressions and impact of each from our own and the other participants and chose one being strongest from the first 15. Then, based on that concept, built another 10, then chose the most interesting, and then built on that - etc etc - you get this idea - big overview then focus, and focus more etc. This was difficult for me . I could not get landscape and tree shapes out of my concepts. After getting beaten up a few times I finally started to free myself from the influence of my existing work. And on and on. Then finally after a full day of this, which I found very challenging, I was to choose one concept with the plan of translating it in large format and colour the next day.
After an interesting discussion on how he manages colours it became clear how intuitive my approach to colour has become and how my work would benefit from time spent more thoughtfully about planning my colour schemes - as he does.
We spent Sunday developing the selected concept in larger format in colour. I chose to use acrylics. I made three 16x20 - built on a transparent background then back and fourth with transparents and opagues. Not a tree or a landscape/seascape to be seen. Trying to free myself up and just play and develop the original concept.
|Showing us some of his plein air sketches|
|One of my early sheets - trees, trees, trees|