Saturday, November 12, 2016

3-Day Workshop with Stapleton Kearns in CT

Day 1
This has to be the craziest thing I’ve done yet!  They even handed out blankets.  
I have sweaters, a winter jacket and a blanket on!
First off I have to say the the (Lyme Art Association) LAA and Jocelyn did a great job with the logistics of this workshop, I think the best run workshop I’ve attended.
The LAA arranged for us to paint on the Griswald Estate at Griswald Point, a property located in a private gated area on the seashore.  No facilities however, and Jocelyn from LAA came to drive people to the art association for bathroom breaks occasionally.  (One of the guys who was a contractor mentioned that renting a porta potty wouldn’t cost much.  Maybe Mrs. Griswald wouldn’t like that.  I met and talked with her on the second day we were there, she was raking pine needles, she seems very nice.)
Mrs. Griswald's home on Griswald Point

At Joslyn's home, her relative made the famous print, The Progression of Man
We met at the art association at 8:30, had coffee and donuts, and drove to the site.  We arrived there at 9 a.m.   The wind was blowing, the sun came in and out, mostly out.  Everyone froze that first day.  After we arrived, everyone followed Stapleton who was walking around–he was trying to decide where to paint.  I had brought my milk crate with me to put stuff into and keep things from falling over in the trunk of the car, but then I realized it would make a nice seat for myself while he’s doing the demo which was to last for 3 hours (each day).  Stapleton happened to have moving blankets in his car, and he handed them out and demonstrated until noon. It turned out that people stood right in front of me while I was sitting on the crate, so I ended up standing on the crate and that was really good because I could then see better than everyone.  
Stape's demo, first day.  The water in the middle-ground was only there the first day.
It was a beautiful scene of marshes and autumn trees.
The 3-hour demo, I'm on the crate, we are all freezing, you can see
the water on the marsh, beautiful sight.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching him dip into the paint, mix it, wipe his brush, etc.
How much paint to use, how much medium, etc.
Where to start and how he did his block-in.
At 11:45 Jocelyn from LAA came and brought coffee and hot delicious tea and was there to take sandwich lunch orders. The schedule will be the same each day, demo until noon, lunch, paint until 6.  I went to the car to have my croissant with my tea and got into the car without putting the heat on because that would spoil me rotten.  It’s hard to believe how cold everyone was standing around in the shade and in very high winds.  While waiting for lunch, I sat in the car, out of the wind for a few minutes, thinking my toes will thaw out, luckily I happened to bring gloves, well, I didn’t remember to bring them, they just happened to still be in my old favorite winter painting jacket I brought along and am wearing for the first time this year, it has a hood and I have a wool scarf.
After lunch, Stapleton came by to talk to me first thing at the beginning of the day before I even got started.  He spent about a minute and said he’d be back.  He did talk to the other people for quite a while.  He didn’t come by again to visit me since but I was pretty confident that he would spend as much time with each person as he thought they needed--didn't work out that way. 
At 5:20 p.m. we packed up and headed to the LAA for a 6 p.m. lecture and pizza. We did have wonderful pizza and wine and the current show there was really top shelf, and then Stapleton did a lecture with photos off his laptop and talked about the beginnings of landscape painting and the history of art.  I had to excuse myself and leave because I was falling asleep. (The combination of getting up early, driving there for 2.5 hours, freezing all day, and then having the heat on at LAA.)

At about 8:30 pm I arrived at the Airbnb, of course it was a pitch black, dark neighborhood.  I thankfully ran into the next door neighbor of the bnb person, he was looking out his window, and he was so kind to tell me the sneaky driveway was right next to this property, so I was able to find it that way.  The people were very nice and allowed my to go straight up to my room and take a shower.  I was suffering after having to excuse myself from the lecture because I was literally falling asleep due to the fact that it was a very long day--I didn’t have a lot of sleep and it was hot in the LAA compared to the fact that I was freezing all day long.  
Breakfast at the Airbnb, great!
Day 2
I got up (had showered the night before because I was afraid of ticks), and went down to a totally delightful breakfast of tea with honey and milk and an oatmeal assortment of every kind, tea was also an assortment of every kind, fresh bowl of strawberries, and a bottle of water which I really appreciated and I was off to the LAA.--What a gorgeous day it might be at 57 degrees at 9 a.m. even a light sweater was almost too warm. At noon time it was 68 degrees with partly cloudy conditions.  Stapleton finished the drawing block-in the first day and the first color block-in the second day.  I was able to observe how he mixes his colors and how he applies the paint. Jocelyn took our sandwich order and he started the third approach to his painting which is to go to a smaller brush, which would be a #1 or #2, and pretty much do the same kind of paint mixing and he began in one spot and worked his way around it, further refining it (a group of trees), not necessarily paying much attention to value but how he wanted the end result to look.  This I know because I asked. 

Demo, Day 2.  He worked on the previous day's block-in.  He decided he
didn't like so much foreground and started another.
End of Day 2's demo.
This is the second version, more of a closeup of the trees and less foreground.
Again, at the beginning of his rounds, he came by me and mentioned some design comments and then left.  Jocelyn forgot my tea and instead brought a coffee with milk and I find that I really like the flavor of coffee with milk rather than with cream.  The flavor is fresher and truer.  At the end of the day I was going to start on the next painting because I really didn’t know what else to do with the one I was working on, but walked around the property and beach instead and took photos.  We were getting ready to go to the group supper and so far Stapleton has spent a grand total of three minutes with me in 2 days time, and of course, I understand that he is so baffled by me that doesn’t know where to begin.  
My painting, end of day 2.
Here are some photos of others' work.

I headed for the car about 4:30, luckily put all my stuff away, refilled my turp, and then all of a sudden the sky opened up and it poured and a lot of people were stuck running to their cars with all their equipment and paintings.  
Can you tell that Barbara was a fun person to have on this trip?
The rain came pelting down 1 minute later.

The plan was to go to the Hideaway Restaurant for 6 p.m. but a few of us agreed to go early and have a wine at the bar.  The restaurant was great, the menu was fantastic and the prices were excellent as well. I had Ossobuco for dinner, the lecture was on Seago and we got out of there about 8:30-8:45. 
This area should be known as Osprey land because they are redeveloping the osprey in one particular place, and there are lots of nests all over and you can see them pretty much everywhere you go.  

Day 3 
Had another good night’s sleep and great breakfast.
We met again at 9 am again and the weather was supposed to be warmish and sunny but it was cold again and windy.  Most people wore special clothing they had  for winter activities, long johns, etc.  We arrived as usual, set up, he did the demo, and everybody was chit-chatting about every damn thing, it was somewhat entertaining actually, we were freezing all over again with a high wind and 45 degrees and we were in the shade and it was probably about 30 with the wind chill.  There were about 12 of us, and it truly was a really nice group, everyone got along well.  

At 11:30, I decided to hit the road and go home.  I had planned to paint in the sun; however, the couple of hours work I would get done wouldn’t be worth suffering in this cold, even though it would warm up a little bit, but not enough to make it worth my while.  Driving home in the day time I’ll beat the traffic, I’ll have sunlight instead of darkness, so for me the workshop is over.  I did enjoy his demos, watching him paint, watching him mix the paint, how much paint to apply, how many times he put his brush into the turp and the medium and how much paint he actually loaded onto the brush each time he put it on his canvas, wiping with every stroke.  Actually watching him on the third painting day demo was useful--I don’t know if I’ll ever have enough patience to do all that fine tuning that he did at the end, but anyhow that’s it!

Final report
There were long discussions during the demos (9 hours worth and 2 lectures) about various subjects, sometimes related to art.  There were a few pearls of wisdom here and there and facts about the science of paint, etc., that I didn’t know. Stapleton does a winter workshop at a hotel in Vermont when the weather is below freezing, so I guess this weather didn’t phase him much. 
Standing for three days in a row without moving around much leaves one without much spring in their step :) besides that, the drive home seemed half as long as the drive down, I got home in no time, stopped for lunch, a small place along the road that had scallop grinders: scallops, lettuce, tomato, tarter sauce on a french roll. 
This area of Connecticut was one of the most picture perfect, truly old fashioned, New England places I’ve seen.   

My stay at the bnb was excellent, I was in bed and sleeping every night at 9 p.m.  I recommend it to anyone visiting the area.  Victor showed me the new section he built in what was the attic, absolutely marvelous job, Victor did all the work himself, did a fabulous job, looks like a 4-star hotel, porcelain stand-alone tub, dramatic, gorgeous.  They have soft water, I’m used to hard water.  It was a pleasure to soap up with soft water and to drink it–you really notice the difference.  I was hoping I remembered everything and at the last moment I left my leftover food–my lunch--on the hall table, not a disaster.
I did mention to Jocelyn at LAA that I would give her the name of the bnb for future use by workshop participants, and she thought it would be a good idea.  
I had purchased  2 packages of 5 each 16x20" canvases for this workshop, thinking I would do one each morning and one each afternoon, but I only used one canvas and now have a lifetime supply of 16x20" canvases.  They were only $10 on sale for each package.  I hadn’t realized there would be a demo every morning.  
I got home at 2:30 p.m. (on Halloween) and when I got to the front door I realized I was home early and would therefor be here for the trick or treaters, so I drove to the store to buy candy, got the candy.  
I’m hoping to get my blog written, photos downloaded and edited tonight in-between the kids coming to the door. I also have to do another drawing of my wall project since I’ve lost the original one and need to get started in the week ahead. 

RGH is the paint company that makes paint in quantity and you put it in your own tubes.

Post Final Workshop Report
It took another week (sorry) to get the photos prepared and to actually post to the blog. :) 
Happy Painting Everyone!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cape Ann Plein Air or CAPA, Oct. 10-16, 2016

This is the first annual event for CAPA.  These events have been held across the nation over the past 10 years or so and are becoming more and more popular as the plein air movement has also been gathering steam, I think, largly because of the efforts of Eric Rhoads and his various publications, mostly Plein Air Magazine.
In any event, I went to Manchester by the Sea on Wednesday to see the Quick Draw event.  I've been reading about these events for years and was thoroughly trilled to see it in person.  It was held in the morning from 10 to noon and then the artists brought their work to the Haskel House to be hung for awards and a reception in the evening.  I hadn't planned to attend the evening event, but as things went I was able to go and how different everything looked indoors and framed.
There were 40 artists invited from across the nation and another group of non-juried artists who participated in this event.  The awards for segregated into the two groups.
Today I went to the Major Exhibition of all the 40 juried artist's work at the Rockport Art Assoc.  I was not prepared for how wonderful it would be.  So many artists who have never been in the part of the country interpreted their impressions of places that have been painted before by so many artists over the past 100 years or more.  I don't know who won the people's choice award, but I'll post it when I find out.  Here are some photos I took of some of my favorites.  Colin Page was the juror who selected the 40, so his work most likely is not considered for a prize.
Jeff Weaver
Thomas Kitts

Chuck Marshall

Jeff Weaver

Add caption

Alan Bull
Colin Page

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Upcoming Stapleton Kearns workshop, end of October

Soon I'll be off again for another workshop.  I wish I could say that I'll have a little time to do some plein air painting between now and then, but it's not going to happen.  I am saddened by the fact that I did a poor job at the previous workshop with Kim English because I haven't been doing much oil painting.  What I have been doing and will continue to do until about Christmas, is mural painting with airbrush and automotive spray guns.  I do a tiny bit of oil painting while my art student is working here on her lessons, which is good, but that studio painting might just be getting in the way of outdoor painting techniques.  I did do one plein air painting recently of sunflowers, and realized again how much difference there is in the colors and darks when you bring it indoors.
I got the supply list today for the Kearns workshop and will need to bring some 16x20"s.  Oh, and a cigar.
Probably not for me. :)
I had arranged for this workshop the minute I heard about it and also booked an Airbnb in that area.
I probably didn't think about the weather when I signed up, and since it's cold and rainy already, I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Kim English Workshop - Day 5

Friday.  We started early, Kim was going to do a demo about painting from a photo, but he did that at 2 p.m. instead.  The lesson learned was that there really is a very big difference in the proportions when working from a photo, the camera makes adjustments that are apparent to the eye when comparing the photo to the actual (in this case) model.  I was aware of the color variations, but not so much the proportions.  Of course, we all know it distorts the view, but also the perspective and proportions.
The model today was a female who was very good and posed in pants with red sneakers and barefoot in a black dress and cream colored sweater.  The idea was to paint the model in a scene in 10 to 20 minutes. For me it's hard to work on a figure when it is small, all through this workshop I had trouble with laying paint on and I don't usually have that problem, thank goodness, and suspect that maybe usually I put a stroke down and leave it alone and here I was working more or less in layers and on a wiped off surface, still damp.  Maybe I needed medium.  I don't think it was the boards,
We painted 7 (so the total for the week is about 67) paintings and Kim took ample time doing the critiques at the end.
What he suggested to me was to hire a model and do these quick poses.  Maybe I'll check out my neighboring NAA (Figure Drawing. Wednesday night figure drawing is a twenty-plus year tradition at the NAA - meets weekly - Wednesday Nights 7:00 pm. Live model.) as they have a drawing group, I used to go there, and I can paint there as far as I know.
I bought Kim's demo painting from the day in Manchester.  It's of two houses in the downtown area.  I like it because it will remind me that a good artist can make anything look good no matter what the weather.
There is so much to process after a workshop like this--I'll have to make a list.  I do like working with 2 new colors, permanent rose (he likens to Rose Madder) and cadmium green pale.
My friend, Karen, who has nice paintings of Kims and who took him workshop in Colorado, wanted to come by and say hello to Kim, but Kim left early so Karen and I went to see the show at NSAA and had a snack and drinks--Which I sorely needed!!
Now I'll download my pictures and add some to this blog.  Here is the group photo that Kat sent out today.
I'm in the back row with 1/2 a face.
September 2016, Kim England Workshop
Kim English talking about camera distortion
Third model, painting in a scene.

Last piece of good advice.

Josephine's work, she did a lot.

Kim workshop, Day 2

We started out with 2 minute paintings, trying to pay attention to the warm side and the cool sides.  Today's model is a guy in a long maroon shirt and a red sleeveless shirt and red toe socks. In the afternoon he added a dark jacket. Some of the poses were with a pole for added jesture. We started the day with a nice talk about mixing colors and a neat way to get great colored grays.  Kim did a wonderful demonstration about how various lighting effects affect the model and the subsequent painting.  It makes me want to paint casts and work on the planes of the face again using various lighting conditions. Our 1/2 hour lunches last an hour.  Not good.
I've misplaced my blog notes on this afternoon, but as I recall we did some longer poses, experimenting on lighting angles and trying for a scene rather than just the figure.  We did about 25 paintings.  So between Monday and Tuesday we did about 54 paintings.
Kim painting today's model.
Discussing daylight lighting.

Discussing cool light lighting.

Discussing warm light lighting.

Kim's painting, we did a bunch with chairs in the scene.

As Mark Hayden says, "Camp Mary".
Put out primaries, mix secondaries. 
Then add white in the middle and wipe from center outward.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Heading out to Gloucester

A few of us have been collaborating regarding paint colors.  He uses a couple of colors that aren't generally on the majority of artist's palettes.  One in particular, Cadmium Green Pale, was hard to find and since I didn't pay attention to the workshop list a week ago when I was ordering boards, I had to find a local supplier.  Also, white!  There are a few whites, zinc and titanium and a mixture of both.  The mixture version is what he requests, and I have only a little left in my big tube and, of course, didn't find that one either at most of the local stores.

So I'm packed with clothes and art supplies, and all I need now is a ton of energy.  All this week I've been sidelined with an infection that sapped my strength and I even got a very sore back, I thought perhaps from sleeping so much, but it got so bad I couldn't sit or bend over.  I went to the doctor to be sure it wasn't my kidney and for some possible relief since I'm leaving tomorrow for the workshop, and at this point I probably couldn't go.

I got super strength ibuprofen for inflamation, super strength Tylenol for the pain and a muscle relaxer because it feels like muscle spasms. After 24 hrs I can't believe how good I feel.
On my way to the Kim English Workshop.

Kim English Workshop-Day 4

 First thing I checked the tire and it was the same so I needed to decide to ride it or call AAA to fill it in order to get to the garage--which is what I did.  Saira (Airbnb hostess) called her mechanic and got me in right away.  He was a delightful chap who told me all about his hip replacement and highly recommends Brigham & Women's and to have it done from the front, not the side or the back.
I was on time to meet the group and off we went to Manchester-by-the-Sea to paint.  The weather was a bit milder and the sun even peeked out once or twice.  Kim started to paint almost as soon as he got out of the car and did a nice painting of the intersection near Central Street Gallery where several of my friends show their work.  Again he demonstrated using more or less a notan to start and then continue to use color and refine areas.  His method of brushwork and applying strokes over strokes or cutting in with the negative side works wonders.  We all spread out and worked on a painting.  Mine looked like a second grader did it and Kim was so nice to say, no, probably a third grader. I have to keep in mind that this happens to everyone at every workshop.  Although its tough every time, working outside your comfort zone, using a technique you're not used to or colors also, it's always hard. Kim set up near me facing the other direction and did a great painting (which I bought). He has the amazing ability to create beauty where it more or less doesn't exist.  Surely there are nice subjects, but he can push the colors and sizes and shapes creating beauty--this is what separates the men from the boys, you get my meaning.  This may be what people say when they say you have to picture the finished painting in your head before you begin.
After lunch break, we all went back to work and I made myself paint anything--in other words I didn't see something I wanted to paint so I just painted something.  It was a very busy boat scene.  Just what I should not have done.  Keeping it simple is what it's all about.  I imagined I was doing a Movali!  I was the last to leave and went to the Causeway--a GREAT place for fish and had a friend oyster appetizer.  I asked what is the smallest serving of friend oysters on the menu, and was told the appetizer--it had 20 on it!
Tomorrow we meet at the studio and will probably work from the model, starting early at 8:30 and maybe quitting early.
Kim's first painting of the day.
Two artists painting.

Fried Oyster Appetizer at the Causeway