Friday, January 25, 2013

Scottsdale Artists School Workshop Experience

Brunette in Gold Light
16 x 12
Man in Blue
16 x 12

Last week I escaped the cold and attended Ignat Ignatov's "Alla Prima Portraiture" workshop at the amazing Scottsdale Artists School.  

As a self-taught artist, I felt I'd come to the edge of what I could achieve and was in need of a push to get to the next level.  While there's a bounty of inspiring instructors to learn from, Ignat, with his precise tonal control and subtle colour, was the person whose work spoke to me the most.

Throughout the week we focused on creating believable form, modelling the face under different light conditions and ensuring that we never lost sight of an overall structure of values.  Placing correct values powerfully at the start of the painting was the key to its later success.  In fact, if the values were right from the start, the painting practically painted itself.

I've always had an eye for colour interactions, but tone was something that I needed to work on.  By the end of the week I found that I was much more sensitive to subtle value changes than when I started

The two paintings above were from the workshop.  While only my nearest and dearest will see the first day's effort,  I'll show you the second and the final day's works.  What pleased me about "Brunette in Gold Light", was its honesty.  It was the second day and I had reviewed my mistakes from day one and made a plan for how to proceed.  I worked only on value and accurate colour temperature, leaving fancy brushwork and interesting edges out of the equation.  Well, I did splash out a bit in the hair and I loved doing the earring but  those were my reward for playing it straight everywhere else.

"Man in Blue" was the final day's work.  I was hitting my stride and I think it shows.  The values are under control and the viewer's eye moves through the painting along a path that I intended.  This painting puts the week together for me: accurate tone and temperature, and interesting brush work and paint consistency.

I feel that this workshop has given me enough tools to move off of my plateau to a new level and I count myself lucky to have picked the right teacher at the right time.

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