Thursday, December 29, 2011

Painting Workshop in Marvellous Mexico

I'm pleased to announce that I'll be teaching a one-week workshop in Mexico from April 4 to 11. Both oil and acrylic painters are welcome.

During this total-immersion, life-painting course, we'll explore a range of subjects from vibrant marketplaces and cobblestone streets to lush, untouched jungles. We will use these subjects to tackle the real challenges of plein air painting: massing and simplifying compositions; accurately judging colour and value; and rendering a fleeting moment with honesty and believability. Expect your eyes to become keener and your painting more intuitive as the week progresses.

The workshop will be based at Casa Buena Art Retreat in the Mexican back country near old Port San Blas. Untouched by mass tourism, it's the perfect place to relax, create, and learn. Casa Buena's marvellous hosts will see to the daily needs and comforts of your stay, allowing you to devote yourself to a week of pure painting and discovery. 

COST: $1400.00 plus GST. Includes: instruction, most art supplies, 7 days' accommodation, transportation from and to Puerta Vallarta airport, all breakfasts, lunches and some dinners, entertainment and a day trip to the jungle.

Contact me or the Retreat for registration and information. I hope you can join us!

Casa Buena Art Retreat:
Jane Romanishko

Telephone in Canada:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Painting Demos

Wayne - portrait demo

Lauren - portrait demo

I teach two classes a week at the Calgary School of Art and I do a demo of some sort in most of them.  And every demo is done on the same canvas board.  I call it the Lucky Demo Board now because, while countless studio paintings flop, the paintings that I produce to illustrate a lesson seem charmed.  Though I'm tempted to keep some of them and a model once asked to buy a portrait of himself, I've become superstitious: that board is the only one that I want to use for each class.  To get a new one is to tempt fate.  Besides, there's a touch of the Buddhist in creating something and then eradicating it twice a week, every week.  Everything is impermanent.

My students are currently working on painting alla prima portraits from life and we've had two excellent models to work from.  Wayne's dark skin was a challenge after weeks of painting fair-skinned models.  We discovered, however, that the same palette that we'd used on Caucasians worked for him; just the proportions of each colour changed.   Strong, pure ochres, blues and purples were believable in this painting.

Lauren was a challenge because her complexion has the creamy softness and opacity of children's skin.  She has few obvious colour and plane changes, though, as I studied her, I began to see tiny, subtle ones.  This demo was significantly slower because I struggled to describe the dimension of her face without exaggerating or inventing colour changes.  I had to keep the colour delicate and smoothly applied to avoid hardness in her expression and in the mood of the painting.

These two paintings don't exist anymore but the Lucky Demo Board is cleaned up and full of the promise of another painting.  The joy is in the creating, not the keeping!