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Showing posts from January, 2013

Scottsdale Artists School Workshop Experience

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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…

Limited Palette Workshop at the Calgary School of Art

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Last week I had the good fortune to attend Ignat Ignatov's portrait workshop at the Scottsdale Artists School in Arizona.  It was incredible and I learned an amazing amount.  I'll be posting a blog about it within the next week, so please check back.

One of the things that we did in the workshop was to paint a portrait in a limited palette and that's what I'll be teaching in my upcoming workshop.

Painting the Portrait in Limited Palette will be a one-day workshop held on  Friday, February 15 at the Calgary School of Art.  The cost is $100 and the hours are from 10am to 4pm.

We'll be using the Zorn palette which consists of cad. red light, yellow ochre, ivory black and white.  It's a muted, but elegant selection of colours that can be used to paint most anything.  It can easily create mud because it's entirely opaque, but, with a careful and logical approach, it can also create stunning paintings.   Using limited colour means that you get instant colour har…

Plein Air on New Year's Day

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On New Year's day I headed out to my favourite painting spot to see what surprises it would hold this time.
I've painted this view at least 10 times.  It's not even a rivulet in the strict sense of the word, more of a little piece of overflow off the river, but it's shape is an elegant S-curve and water is my favourite feature to paint outdoors.

Here's a confession: though I live within sight of the magnificent Rocky Mountains, I have no urge to paint them.  I prefer the intimacy of small, unremarkable pieces of land and try to show how marvellous they actually are.

What caught my eye that day was the reflection of trees and sky in that brilliant, enclosed piece of water at the top of the S.  It looked like an opal in a rough setting.

Because I hadn't arrived terribly early (it was New Year's Day after all) and the light is gone by 4pm, I had to work very fast to knock it all in.  After a quick massing with Ultramarine blue and transparent red oxide, I pl…