Paint Schoodic

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Friday, August 30, 2019

Two opportunities to hang out with me next Saturday

I have an opening in Tenants Harbor and am teaching a free modeling class in Camden. If you still miss me after that, it’s your own darn fault!
Glade, by Carol L. Douglas, watercolor on Yupo paper
There will be wine

I'm setting up right now for an opening next weekend, September 7, from 5 to 7 PM. This is a duo show with Midge Coleman at the Jackson Memorial Library in Tenants Harbor, ME. I’ll be showing work I did last September at the Joseph Fiore Art Center. These are eight sets of large paintings. One is in watercolor, its mate is in oils, and each pair is of the same subject. They address the question of how working in alternating media, back-to-back, would influence an oil painter. A year later, I have the answer, which I’ll share with you on Saturday evening.

This is the first time they’ll be shown as an integrated set, and the first time I’ve shown watercolors in a serious way. Students are sometimes surprised that I teach watercolor, but it’s a delightful medium that I’ve been painting in since I was very young. Watercolor has the advantage of being very portable and light.

Round Pond, by Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvas
That isn’t true of these paintings. The size was dictated by a watercolor full sheet, so both the oils and watercolors are 24X36” in dimension.

The Jackson Memorial Library is a gem—a perfect place to display artwork. It’s a new building set close to the school so that kids can walk a short distance through the woods for their library classes. It was tailor-made to be a great art space.

Saturday, September 7, 5-7 PM
Jackson Memorial Library
71 Main Street
Tenants Harbor, ME 04860

Michelle reading, by Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvas
You should be in the pictures!

Earlier, I’ll be teaching a free introduction to figure drawing for models and artists, offered by the Knox County Art Society at the Camden Lions Club. If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of being a figure model but are unsure about what it entails, this is for you. Artists get the free benefit of being there to draw along.

I’m an experienced figure teacher, but this is first time I’ve ever taught models how to strut their stuff. I’m working with an experienced figure model. She will demonstrate short, medium, and long poses. Prospective student models don’t have to doff their clothing for this session.

Artists interested in sampling a life drawing session are also invited to attend, to both observe the instruction and to draw.

I’ll be covering the history, practice and protocols of nude modeling; gestural/athletic poses; reclining, crouching, bending, standing poses; changing direction; considerations of negative space; torso twisting; working with the lighting; positioning of limbs; facial expressions; using props; and incorporating fabric folds.
Couple, by Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvas
If they wish, students completing the session will be considered for paid modeling assignments for Camden Life Drawing.

The session runs from 9:30 to noon and is free to all; the suggested donation for artists is $10. Advance registration is requested. Contact David Blanchard, 207-236-6468.

Saturday, September 7, 9:30 AM to noon
Camden Lions Clubhouse
10 Lions Lane
Camden, ME 04843

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Super Easel

My Mabef tripod easel is older than my Prius, which is why I recommend it so often.
Two demos require two easels. Still in the value-study phase here. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnson.
I sometimes demo in watercolor and oils simultaneously, since I always have students in both media. I started as a way to kill time between watercolor layers. We all know how exciting it is to watch paint dry.

But it has another value, too, and that is to play up the intricate ways in which watercolor and oils are similar. We tend to focus on the differences, but we’re still working toward the same end in both media. That’s a composition that impels and compels the viewer.

There are challenges. Foremost is keeping the materials separated. I put the watercolor tools in one place (my chair) and the oil painting tools in another (my wagon) in the hope that I will not swish a watercolor brush through my Turpenoid or vice-versa. So far, it’s worked.
Whoops! That's the first time I've ever done that!
My students tend to watch these demos from chairs, not standing. That requires that I keep my watercolor paper on the vertical. It’s hard to get dark washes to stay where you put them, and sometimes I have to double-coat my darks. That creates an opportunity to talk up test marks.

Mentally, it’s a question of switching off one protocol and switching on the other. It looks reasonably seamless to the student, but I find that, halfway through my three-hour class, I’m pretty tired.

Dave Blanchard calls this a “hat trick,” and pointed out that in fact I’d done a triple demo yesterday, since I’d drawn the original scene in charcoal on newsprint. That was so my ‘thumbnail’ was big enough to be seen by the group. I don’t do that when working on my own.

This hat trick is just a way to expedite demos so as not to waste my students’ time. Out of context, it would just be a stupid party trick. But it had an unexpected consequence yesterday. That was my Mabef easel falling into the water.

David Blanchard rescued my easel while I Instagrammed the experience. I'm useful like that.
I’ve never lost an easel in the ocean before, although I’ve tested the limits—on the deck of a moving boat, for example, or standing in the water in a rising tide.

I stood there looking at it while it floated below me, thankful that it wasn’t my oil-painting easel, which would have sunk like a rock. Fran Scannell ran to check if any dinghy owners had left their oars shipped, while Jennifer Johnson went for my hiking poles. Dennis Pollock found one of those mysterious plastic pipes that are always on fishing piers, and he handed it to Dave, who’d gone down the closest ladder. A moment later, my easel was back on land drying off. As you can see, I’m good in a crisis… for absolutely nothing.
And the easel went right back to work as if nothing had happened, while its dumb chum, my oil setup, stood around. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnson.
This easel is about twenty years old. It’s seen a lot of hard use and travel. It’s cracked in several places and held together with duct tape. The carriage bolt no longer catches, making it hard to set up. But after its salt-water bath, it swelled up and was Supereasel again. It carried us right through the demo, and when I finished, it exhaled and fell over, limp.

“It’s dried out again,” someone noted.

I always recommend Mabef tripod easels as great value for money. They’re lightweight and versatile, able to lie flat for watercolor or stand up for oils. They now come with optional arms, which are a great feature. And now I know that they float patiently by the dock when you inadvertently drop them into the sea.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Monday Morning Art School: how to draw teeth and other anatomical details


Work big shapes to little shapes, and don't perseverate on the details.
Skeleton, by Carol L. Douglas. Most of the time, our teeth are concealed behind our lips.
I’ve been in Buffalo this weekend. My son-in-law—the one who discovered Line-of-Action, the online figure-drawing class—showed me his sketchbook. One page was of human mouths.

“How do you draw teeth?” he asked me. The question points up one of the differences between working from a model and working from photos. People grin into photographs, but when painted from life, their mouths are almost always closed. It’s hard to hold a smile for any length of time. It rapidly degenerates into a rictus of pain.

I have a lot of old figure drawings and paintings on my laptop. I went through them looking for any teeth drawings. The only one I have is of the skeleton above. In fact, the only toothy paintings I can think of are those of Frans Hals, who made a specialty of laughing people. I don’t know his working method, but I assume he spent lots of time sketching people as they got smashed.

Michelle and I talking about polygamy, by Carol L. Douglas. Most of the time, we don't show our teeth. This was a sketch I did while my model and I were chatting; as you can see, her hands are more important than her teeth.
The answer to Aaron’s question is the same for hands, ears, feet and other anatomical parts we generally skip right over: work from big shapes to little shapes. The hands, for example, have four very individual fingers, but they tend to fold and move in unison. You can always draw a rudimentary hand by thinking of it as a large folding shape with an appendage (the thumb) attached. Toes move in even closer coordination. Once you’ve established the big flipper shapes, break them down into smaller ones.

We perceive the human face as flat, because that’s the way it looks when we’re talking to another person. The face, however, isn’t flat, cylindrical, or even round. It’s a complex shape that can only be described by drawing.

Feet, by Carol L. Douglas. As individual as our toes are, they still tend to move in unison.
The front part of our teeth, however, form a cylinder. The visible edge of the biting surface of our teeth, then, is not a straight line, but part of the ellipse that’s made by any round thing in space. In other words, it curves very slightly. Our top teeth close neatly over the bottom ones, making the lower ones essentially unseen.

You could draw each tooth individually, but teeth are very light in value compared to anything else on the human body. Because of this, we don’t pay much attention to their contours. Focus on cast shadows instead, and do not overstate the teeth.

Boy sleeping in church, by Carol L. Douglas. I miss those somnambulant teenagers every Sunday. Fingers fold as a unit, and the ear's all-important.
Ears are far more important. Getting their position right is more than half the battle. The ear is behind the farthest attachment of the jaw. Immediately behind the ear is the mastoid process, where the muscles of your neck attach. The top of the ear lines up (more or less) with the brow, and the bottom with the bottom of the nose.

In fact, our ears are just about centered on the skull, and they’re pivotal, both figuratively and literally. We understand the movement of the head from the position of the ears as much as from anything else. When the model looks up, the ears seem to drop. When the model looks down, the ears are higher.

Friday, August 23, 2019

An ugly chapter in American history


If President Trump wants to buy something, he should buy back Rockwell Kent's paintings from Russia.
Cloverfields, 1939-40, Rockwell Kent, courtesy Mead Art Museum at Amherst College.
In his mid-40s, Rockwell Kent moved to a working Adirondack dairy farm that he called Asgaard. He lived and painted there until his death in 1971. The name came from Nordic mythology. It roughly corresponds to Old Norse for “Garden of the Gods,” and is an apt description of the place. Ringed by the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, with fast-moving rivers and streams, this area has been a draw for outdoorsmen and artists for nearly two hundred years.

Asgaard is located in the small town of Au Sable Forks, New York. "And there, westward and heavenward, to the high ridge of Whiteface northward to the northern limit of the mountains, southward to their highest peaks, was spread the full half-circle panorama of the Adirondacks. It was as if we had never seen the mountains before," wrote Kent.
Au Sable River, Winter: Adirondacks, 1960, Rockwell Kent, courtesy the Hermitage.
In addition to being Kent’s home, Asgaard was also a working dairy farm.  It was acquired by David Brunner and Rhonda Butler in 1988 and brought back into production in 2003. Here in the Northeast, fallow land rapidly reverts to forest, so not only were Brunner and Butler saving an historic farm, they were saving a view.

Rockwell Kent’s reputation as a painter languished in the later 20th century. “Kent, if not a towering talent in American art, was a prolific man who made a good living not only as a painter but also as a commercial artist; muralist; designer of fabric, pottery and jewelry; architect, and Adirondack dairy farmer,” wrote Judith H. Dobrzynski in the New York Times in 1999.

Summer Day, Asgaard, 1950, Rockwell Kent, courtesy the Hermitage.
His politics didn’t help. He was an outspoken socialist and Communist sympathizer. Called to testify before Senator Joseph McCarthy's subcommittee in 1953, Kent stubbornly pleaded the Fifth Amendment. He later said he’d never been a member of the Communist Party, but he’d effectively ruined his career. Suddenly, he was anathema to galleries and museums.

Kent had donated 80 paintings and 800 prints and drawings to the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, ME. They backtracked and rejected the work. Stung, Kent donated the entire collection to the Soviet Union. Many of his works from the Adirondacks were in this gift, which made them unknown to two generations of American art critics.  It took the fall of the Soviet Union and the internet to make them visible again.
Road to Asgaard: Adirondacks, 1960, Rockwell Kent, courtesy the Hermitage.
Kent was out of step artistically, too. He was a stubborn realist in the age when abstract expressionism was all the rage. He was an indefatigable plein air painter, traveling to remote places like Greenland, Tierra del Fuego, Alaska and Maine.  “Go before nature, use your eyes, and then paint what you see,” was his credo.

His work is ultimately spiritual. “His painting is a proclamation of the rights of man, of the dignity of man, of the dignity of creation. It is his belief in God,” wrote Robert Henri.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Stressing out our kids


Art, not drugs, saved me from the horrible trauma of my childhood. So why do we think it’s optional for our kids?
This is my grandson Jake when he was a few months old. He starts kindergarten this year. I really hope he has time to paint and draw in school.
The overall death rate in Britain and America started dropping at the turn of the last century—except for childbirth deaths. They increased, even though women were healthier overall. At odds with every other health marker, rich women were more likely to die in childbirth than poor women. Why?

For most of history, midwives attended laboring women in their homes. It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that women began to be attended by doctors and to deliver infants in hospitals or private nursing homes. Since the medical profession had no understanding of sanitation, doctors inadvertently spread puerperal fever from one patient to the next. That’s when they weren’t intervening with forceps, anesthesia, caesarians, and other frequently-fatal procedures. Rich women were more likely to be on the forefront of medical care, so they suffered disproportionately.

The New Puppy, by Carol L. Douglas. Available through Camden Falls Gallery.
I love math. I’m pretty good at it, and I see it as a description of the beautiful unity of the world’s design. I’m all for teaching math and science.

But to make room for math and science, we’ve cut back on art and music. And every time a public school needs to trim its sails, they start with the art department. That disregards the important role art has always played in liberal education, and all the science that tells us that art plays a critical role in developing intellect and character.
Miss Margaret, by Carol L. Douglas. She was a pretty good stress-reducer.
According to Athena Health, the percentage of pediatric patients with an anxiety diagnosis more than doubled from 2013 to this year. The percentage of patients prescribed anti-anxiety drugs over that time increased by a factor of six.

My sister and brother died when I was a child, in two separate, brutal accidents. There were no anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds back then. Luckily for me, I had art, so here I still am.

A recent study from Drexel University shows that creating art significantly lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Competence and the difficulty of the task had no significant effect on the results, but younger participants had a more consistent positive effect.
White Sands of Iona, by Carol L. Douglas, available.
I’ve written about brain growth in kids from doing art, doodling and executive function, neuroplasticity, and many other subjects. Training in drawing is associated with an increase in brain gray matter and changes in the prefrontal cortex. Making art improves the functional connectivity between cortices. Even passive engagement with art helps brain function.

Can anyone cite similar positive outcomes from their school’s football program?

Someday (I hope), we will classify the educational bureaucrats who dismiss art education with the well-meaning, misguided doctors who killed so many women in childbirth. But until then, we need to keep the pressure on to restore art to its proper place in western education. And parents, by all means, keep your kids drawing.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Monday Morning Art School: painting on demand


Sometimes it’s not fun. Sometimes it’s almost painfully stressful. What do you do then?
Sunrise, oil on canvasboard, is available through my studio at 394 Commercial Street, Rockport.
At my first plein air competition, I was a nervous wreck. “Come on, Carol,” my exasperated friend said. “Get a grip! You know how to do this.” At that moment, it wasn’t exactly true; I’d forgotten everything I ever knew about paint.

For some of us, commissions result in painter’s block. For others, plein air competitions are painfully stressful. Occasionally, I’ll have a student who freezes in my workshops. I used to suffer terrible performance anxiety, which is why I’m a painter and not a musician. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found ways to cope. These strategies have in turn lessened my overall anxiety.

Glade, watercolor on Yupo, will be at the Jackson Memorial Library, Tenants Harbor, ME, in September.
The first of these is to have a plan. It may seem counterintuitive to go into a painting with a process mapped out, but in fact that’s what you have to do to complete any project within an allotted time. When I painted a portrait in Edinburgh in April, I had a tight deadline. I planned how long I had for the charcoal drawings, how long for the underpainting, and how long to finish the top coat. When I do a quick-draw, I know I must finish the drawing and underpainting in the first hour in order to finish the top layers in the allotted time.

You might think that a flow plan is inhibiting, but it’s exactly the opposite. I learned this many years ago while painting a portrait commission for my late friend Dean Fero. It was a surprise birthday gift for his wife. That meant a precise deadline, which he didn’t let me forget. As I worked, I found the tight schedule liberating. I couldn’t perseverate and noodle endlessly on passages. That, in turn, meant freer, better brushwork.

Bracken Fern, oil on canvasboard, is available through Trove on Main, Thomaston, ME.
Playwright Robert More was finishing a comedy when I last saw him. “I can rewrite this ending eight times, and the last one won’t necessarily be better,” he told me. “I’ll just end up with eight different versions.”

Having a set protocol is invaluable for quelling nerves. In addition to providing consistent results, it focuses your mental energy on the doing, rather than on worry. (I’ve given you protocols for oils and watercolor; you can follow them or write your own.)

Once you’ve established a painting process, practice it repeatedly—not concentrating on the results, but on mastering the process. Being absolutely prepared is the best cure for performance anxiety. This is the great benefit of painting-a-day schemes; they’re not about producing great artwork, but about getting a hammerlock on your process.

Castine Sea Fog, oil on canvasboard, Carol L. Douglas, available.
As you go on, stop thinking about all the ways you can screw up the painting. Instead, think only about the phase you’re in. If something goes wrong, don’t berate yourself, and above all, ignore the voices in your head that tell you you’re no good. They’re wrong. Instead, ask yourself where in your process you made a wrong turn.

In other words, develop enough self-awareness that you can monitor your own progress. When I’m agitated, I develop a nervous tic of constantly rinsing my brush. That’s a mud-making mistake in any medium. Because I know I do it, I can stop doing it before it’s out of hand—and ask myself what’s gotten me upset.

The Golden Hour, oil on canvas, Carol L. Douglas (private collection)
Even in pressurized painting situations, take time to eat decently and get some exercise. While in Edinburgh, I enjoyed taking my model’s dog, Poppy, out in the magnificent local parks. Exercise lifts the mood and reduces anxiety.

Above all, don’t waste time worrying about whether the client will like the work, or whether you’ll make a sale or win a prize. Focusing on the results, rather than the process, can effectively kill a painting.

Friday, August 16, 2019

When trouble cascades


It’s inevitable. How you pull yourself out of it is another matter.
Waiting to play, by Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvasboard.
I opened my pochade box to do a tiny touch-up on my nocturne of Tuesday night. A slip of the hand and Cora and Ben were face down in the paint. Wincing, I picked the board up and looked. There were bright hillocks of color everywhere.

Because I’d used a lot of quick-dry medium, the paint was easy enough to scrape off without lifting the bottom layers, and it was simple (albeit time-consuming) to recoat the dark parts. Cora’s face, however, was another matter. How could I repaint it sans model, fire and s’mores?
Saranac River, by Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvasboard
“My resolution is to not let myself get anxious at these events,” Lisa BurgerLentz told me. That’s a good goal, because agitation undermines your ability to perform. Even the most experienced, successful painters feel it at times. There are fifty of us here, and we’re in direct competition for sales and prizes. It can be a very fraught experience if we allow it.

I don’t generally succumb to that, but when things go wrong at a plein air event, they tend to cascade. In re-reading the rules, it seemed to me that one of my best paintings was disqualified by when it was painted. These events being on the honor system, it was up to me to report the infraction myself. Ouch. Then, I started digging in my car for the nocturne’s frame and couldn’t find it. Somewhere in my house or garage is a lonely frame calling for its mate.
Beaver Dam on Quebec Brook, by Carol L. Douglas
I was pretty frazzled. I can’t get out of that state of mind on my own, so I rely on prayer. I called on a few Christian sisters to pray with me.

I am often asked to pray for others, and do so happily. But I also doubt that it’s theologically necessary to ask the community of believers to pray with us. God loves us all, and doesn’t hand out his blessings grudgingly.
The cycle of life, by Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvasboard
But it’s very difficult to pray sometimes. Perhaps that’s where the community of saints comes in: to carry the burden when you find yourself unable to do so yourself. My problems yesterday were minor compared to the troubles people find themselves in, but it was a good reminder.

Many painters tell me that they don’t do plein air events precisely because of this pressure. It could be crippling if one didn’t have a way to deal with the anxiety that failure inevitably produces. You need to pack that strategy along with your brushes and paints.
S'mores (Ben and Cora Pahucki), by Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvasboard
In the end, I remembered that I’d taken a photo of my nocturne. I copied Cora’s face from it. It’s not as fresh as the original, but it’s there. I confessed my infraction to the organizer, who told me not to worry about it. And Lisa BurgerLentz kindly sold me a frame she was carrying for her own work.

All’s well that ends well, but I’d rather not do that again anytime soon.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Night sky


Apparently, I’ve been doing nocturnes all wrong.
S'mores (Ben and Cora at Rollins Pond), by Carol L. Douglas, 9X12, oil on canvasboard. It's difficult to photograph a wet nocturne.
Like a good farmer, my bedtime is 7:30. Most of the year, that makes painting nocturnes difficult. They only work in December, when the sun sets at 4 PM at my little snug harbor. Otherwise, I’m tired and fractious when I paint them, and that shows.

This year, there’s a full moon during Adirondack Plein Air. Even I could see the advantages of staying up. Chrissy Pahucki and I had one of those Great Ideas that so often gets me in trouble. She secured a campsite in the state forest. I got the makings for S’Mores. We met at dusk.
The cycle of life (Black Pond), by Carol L. Douglas, 14X18, oil on canvasboard.
It killed me to pay $5 for a bag of spruce logs when I have about ten cords of hardwood behind my shed. However, the ban on moving firewood applies even to artists. I felt a little better buying it from  Paul Smith’s College VIC. I’d like to think I was supporting their athletics program, since the wood is split by their students.

“How about getting hot dogs to roast for dinner?” I suggested. Fifteen-year-old Ben rolled his eyes at me, as if I were an elderly, daft grandmother. I counted on my fingers. Yes, I was old enough, with room to spare. I cackled, since it seemed appropriate.
Beaver dam, by Carol L. Douglas, 14X18, oil on canvasboard. A special thank you to Sandra Hildreth, who took me to this wonderful place.
Cora, 14, has started to look startlingly like her dad, although much prettier. She has a lovely profile and is a good model. I made a mental note to have her pose for a real portrait next year.

We talked about important stuff, such as whether Ben could toast a marshmallow without catching it on fire. Beth Bathe concentrated on the back of Cora’s head, while Lisa BurgerLentz ignored us all and went down to the shore and painted the waning light across Rollins Pond.

The moon rose, magnificent above a Winnebago parked nearby. “Wow, this is beautiful!” exclaimed Chrissy, who’d wandered off and was standing at the shoreline. We trooped down and admired the view, which was, of course, spectacular. The pond was so still that the stars were reflecting in its surface. A light froth of cirrocumulus clouds arced above our heads, and simultaneously, at our feet. The moon, huge and wise, peeked through the needles of an Eastern White Pine.

The view that got away. I stood in the water to take this photo, and now my shoes are wet and cold.
It was, of course, the better scene, one in a million, and we’d let it get away from us. That’s always the way, it seems. I try to be philosophical and tell myself that’s the sign of a great painting location. 

We had the campsite until 11 AM. Could I stay and paint another nocturne? The late hour eventually won out. This morning I feel like I’ve been on a three-day toot, which is why this post is late and barely intelligible. But I learned something important about nocturnes: they’re much more fun if you do them by a fire with friends.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Monday Morning Art School: aspect ratio

When working big, start with a smaller sketch and grid it up. It’s easy.
A large canvas transferred from a 9X12 sketch.

When you're on the road, no two billets are the same. I was confident that I could use a tethered hotspot to write this morning's blog, but then realized I'm in a cell-signal hole. So I'm reworking an earlier blog on aspect ratio. It's especially important when transferring a field value sketch to your finished paper or canvas.

The largest I generally work is 60X60. This is too large to draw directly, as I can’t get far enough away to see the whole thing as I’m drawing. When I’m working this big, I always do a smaller sketch in oil or cartoon in graphite first. Then I scale it up. This prevents proportion distortion.

I have a projector, but I find that gridding is more accurate and takes less time.

I realize many artists are math-phobic, but there are times when an small bit of arithmetic can save  you a lot of work. I'll try to make this painless.

The first step is to work out whether the aspect ratio of your sketch is the same as the canvas. This is the proportional relationship between height and width. If you're cropping a value sketch, you want to be sure that the aspect ratio of your crop is the same as will be in the finished canvas.

Usually I grid in Photoshop because it's faster and I can just delete the lines with a keystroke. But you can grid just as well with a pencil on your sketch.
Sometimes this is very obvious, such as a 9X12 sketch being the same aspect ratio as an 18X24 canvas. But sometimes, you're starting with a peculiar little sketch drawn on the back of an envelope. You can use a trick you learned back in elementary school.

Remember learning that 1/2 was the same as 2/4? We want to force our sketch into a similar equivalent ratio with our canvas.

Let’s assume that you’ve cropped your sketch to be 8” across. You want to know how tall your crop should be to match your canvas.
Write out the ratios of height to width as above.
To make them equivalent, you cross-multiply the two fixed numbers, and divide by the other fixed number, as below:
Use your common sense here. If it doesn't look like they should be equal, you probably made a mistake. And you can work from a known height as easily as from a known width; it doesn't matter if the variable is on the top or the bottom, the principle is the same.
The next step is to grid both the canvas and sketch. You could spend a lot of time calculating the distances, but I prefer to just divide it in even amounts in each direction. I use a T-square and charcoal, and I’m not crazy about the lines being perfect; I adjust constantly as I go.


The last step is to transfer the little drawing, square by square to the larger canvas. I generally do this in a dark neutral of burnt sienna and ultramarine. It’s time-consuming, but with big paintings it saves a lot of work in the long run.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Sea & Sky Workshop, (almost) finished


My students worked through some crazy weather, and turned out some great paintings this week. 

Last night we looked at paintings using positive critiquing and analyzing the formal qualities of design

This is just a small sample of the work done this week. A caution: the color in these photos isn't great, because they were taken after dark. But I hope you like them as much as I do. I've been constantly surprised and delighted by wonderful, lyrical, unexpected paintings. The week has just flown past and I'm sorry to see it end, even though we're all pretty darn tired.
Watercolor painting by John Magoun
Oil painting by Patty Mabie
Watercolor painting by Rebecca Bense
Oil painting by Lori Capron Galan
Watercolor painting by Cynthia Burmeister
Acrylic painting by Rhea Zweifler
Watercolor painting by Jane Agee
Oil painting by Jennifer Johnson
Acrylic painting by Jennifer Little
Watercolor painting by Lisa Magoun
Oil painting by Mary Whitney
Oil painting by Robin Miller