I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Dominik Modlinski Workshop - My Review

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

A much later sheet moving away from trees

My final selection on news print

Dominik with one of his demos

An interesting discussion on colour management

My chosen concept sketched on 16x20 canvas
My three quickie acrylic concept pieces 16x20 - NO TREES
This was an interesting and challenging weekend. No telling if it will affect the work I enjoy doing. I was quite impressed with Dominik - his  knowledge and skill, his enthusiasm to teach and  willingness to share. The concept of the small group in his home studio was good. I am hoping to return to help put more thoughtfulness into my intuitive approach to colour. The workshop  was very good value.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

A Few Weeks of Portrait Play

A few weeks ago I posted that I needed to " get back to basics" for some me time. I said I was going to do colour charts and spend time making impressionistic "portraits".

How did I do? Well, while the colour chats are a great idea they were too laborious - I am too old to be that bored.  I should have done them 10 years ago. Maybe next year.

But the quickie portraits I love doing. Did  a few each day.  Most done in a hour or less. A few a bit more. All done alla prima .. All 6x8 on a variety of surfaces and using a variety of brushes - all part of the play. All using water mixable oils.

Some are family. The rest are copies: a few from Sargent, a few from Fechin , one from Liberace ( from his DVD), one from Ruskin.  Great exercise in drawing, in values and colour mixing.