Monday, May 31, 2010

Painting Workshop: Day 1: Thumbnails

Today was the first day of a week-long plein air workshop taught by Karen and Jack Winslow (Cambridge, Vermont). I took my first oil painting workshop with them almost one year ago and have been attending a weekly still life class taught by Karen Winslow for about 8 months. They are fantastic instructors and I highly recommend that everybody should take a workshop with them.

The method that they teach is massing of the shapes/values. No detail. This was, as far as I understand, the technique taught to them from Frank Mason at the Art Students League about 30 years ago or so.

Since the weather was incredibly beautiful today and, tomorrow, Vermont is expecting rain, the order was switched up so that we could go outside and take advantage of the nice weather. First order of business: thumbnails. In this case, I took an 8 x 10 canvas panel and divided it into 4 different scenes. The purpose of the thumbnail was so that the painting was too small for detail, but enough to get the feel of atmospheric effects on the values of the scene.

I will talk about each one, in turn. The massing exercise helped to define composition and let me decide what was important to the scene and what could be left out.

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