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Showing posts from December, 2013

Mexico is full! Join me in Croatia

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Well, the title says it all.  We had a flurry of sign ups for Mexico - they coincided with flurries of snow here in Canada - and the retreat is now running a waiting list.  I'm excited to teach at the Casa Buena Art Retreat again this February and like the idea of going as an old hand.


If you missed out on Mexico, there's still an opportunity to join me for some painting in the sunshine this spring.
There are some sign ups for the retreat that I'm teaching in Croatia from April 29 to May 8th, but I have room for you!  I hope you'll join me for a fantastic week on the island of Korcula.  It's a fairy tale kind of place in the Adriatic Sea that proclaims itself the birthplace of Marco Polo. There are plenty of reasons not to believe this claim apparently, but it's a romantic aspiration and, when you see the pictures of this historic island, you can imagine it's true.

We'll have a week of painting, excursions, and great food and wine on this beautiful …

A personal challenge painting

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This painting was a step out of my comfort zone and, in many ways, a painting to learn from

I've been noticing that I don't feel comfortable with yellow; it doesn't disappear off my palette very quickly, and I don't own any yellow still life objects.  Or I didn't own any until I saw this gorgeous, iridescent candy dish in a thrift shop.  It issued a challenge to me, and I bought it.

The yellow was a joy to work with for its exuberance and boldness.  I admit that there isn't much pure yellow other than in the thick highlight, but there's the illusion of lots of yellow in the muted, purple-influenced dish, and I sprinkled the colour throughout the painting in greyed form so that it didn't feel isolated.

Another thing that I'm uncomfortable with - as are many painters - is placing the focal point in the middle of a composition.  Any composition book will tell you that's a bad idea, so I've avoided it.  But painters should question authority, …

Dealing with shadows

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I start all of my paintings by roughing in the darks and trying to connect as many of them as I can.  The colour I use for this step is unrelated to the actual local colour of the subject and is usually an earthy dark. So a turquoise object will begin with an earth-coloured drawing and shadow.

The next thing I do is place pieces of local colour throughout the painting, setting up the colour scheme for that composition.  That's when the turquoise, blue, flesh tones, and background colour appear.

But the trickiest step is deciding on the colour - if any - that will go over that initial dark.  Part of the decision making is logical: warm light, cool shadows; or cool light, warm shadows.  Which still leaves a lot of questions.  Do I make the cool shadow green, blue or blue-purple based?  Is the warm shadow red, orange, or red-purple? And if that's not enough to think about, I have to remember that temperature is relative: a green shadow can appear cool or warm depending on its …