So sadly it was the last day and, due to the room being used to stage an exhibition, we were outside. I thought this was a bit off. What with this and the construction noise that was constant throughout the week I would have been a bit miffed if I were Mr Reid. I can’t see him rushing back sadly.
Anyway – we all parked ourselves outside. The subject was chosen more for location – outside and in the shade with easy access to bathrooms. He actually states those 2 things as being what he looks for when taking groups on location in his Watercolor Secrets book. As an aside – trying to read borrowed art books while eating indian food shouldn’t be encouraged. After Mr R had requested an interesting car Suzy (who organized the workshop) had brought in her original cinquecento.
The drawing begins – back to the Fabriano cold press today. He started as usual with the contour drawing – I actually like watching him draw almost as much as his painting. Very soothing. He started with the car headlight and worked out from there.
The dinky cinquecento – the speedo goes up to 140km/h. Maybe a tad optimistic.
Our happy crew.
On with the painting. This was hard – the paint kept drying too fast so my wet in wet washes didn’t work well. While I was doing it I wasn’t particularly happy but it doesn’t look so bad now I look at it again this morning.
And the milestone was – I sold it!! Suzy (whose car it is) asked if I would sell it to her. I said she could have it but we settled on a nominal sum of $50. I was extremely pleased with myself.
The first 20 minutes of painting. Mr R. went straight into the vase portion with some very strong viridian which I thought was not going to work at all. Turns out he knows what he’s doing and I don’t.
After another 20 minutes – more of the flowers put in and some of the table objects. Standing is Judy Reid – probably telling him off about something.
Mr R’s tools. Nothing fancy here.
The final picture. I think I like this better than the previous one.
All demo paintings were put up for sale. After the prices were announced I decided against buying one. If I’d had the cash handy I’d have put my name down for one of the still lives – probably this one.
Prices were 700 and 1100 for the portraits and 1400 for each of the still lives. Hmm. And this is way below gallery prices.
The drawing – 30 mins for this.
The first 30 minutes of painting. I started off pretty stiff (in the vase region) and put in a conscious effort to loosen up the ol’ brushstrokes in the top flowers. Not too displeased at this stage but was struggling.
Here’s the photo of the setup from where I was sitting.
And here’s the finish after another hour or so of painting. I really sped up towards the end. Mr R. said he didn’t like the bottle as it didn’t connect to the rest of the objects and he’s right. He suggested including something to the right and in front of the bottle to offset this (I cropped this picture and there is actually some spare space).
This was a tough session – getting everything drawn and painted in the time takes a lot of concentration (more so than the figure paintings interestingly). Also we’re all getting better and more sophisticated with our paintings since the first day so we have more to get done. Glad to come back for a rest today.
Before going back to the hotel Boris and I made a small trip out to Nobska lighthouse. I have intentions of getting up early and going out tomorrow morning to paint this but we’ll see how that matches up to reality.
Tomorrow – we’re outside for trees and buildings. Can’t wait!!!
Anyway – on with the demo. First the drawing as usual. He was using a different paper today – Schut paper. This is dutch and not widely available in the US. It’s not cheap – about twice the prices of Arches – and it has the distinction of being Judy Reid’s favorite paper. Apparently it is very absorbent so doesn’t allow much lifting or reworking which isn’t a problem with Mr R’s technique. It also has an interesting texture. It’s supposedly rough but it didn’t look like the usual rough texture which has a pronounced tooth to it. The tooth was less pronounced and coarser grained which allows for interesting brushwork without feeling like you’re painting on a brick (something which Mr R. said about Arches 300lb rough. Chortle!)
There wasn’t as much description going on today as there was with the figure painting and Mr R pretty much just got on with it. First there was 30 minutes of contour drawing. Emphasis on drawing connected objects, joining shadows to objects and giving as much, or more, emphasis to the inside shapes of things.
Each of us had a critique of one of our paintings over lunch. He was very kind to everyone but not to the point of abject flattery. If your painting has a person with a head that’s five times the size of their feet he will point this out as probably not the best feature of the painting. But we don’t really need to be told that.
So – on to the still life. There were 6 different ones set up around the room. I wanted Charlie the seagull but the front row people had the first choice so I didn’t get the chance. I did want an arrangement with a lot of white flowers however so I plumped for the one below. I was sharing this with other people and they decided they wanted to clump all the fruit together. I really didn’t want this – I wanted the scattered approach with different objects linked by shadows. I snuck in the lemon and lime on the right hand side and chose to ignore the squash things.
The drawing – I’m usually pretty happy at this stage. This took around 30 minutes to do.
The start of the painting – probably after around 45 minutes. This was an extremely difficult painting to do and I concentrated extremely hard. I usually finish a painting in well under two hours but this was close on a 3 hour job and I hadn’t really finished then.
Having said that I really learned a lot in this afternoon’s session. It felt like putting a puzzle together. Where do I place the leaves to make sure the flowers stand out? Where should I have sharp edges to the flowers and where should I leave things soft? Where do I put broad strokes and where to put detailed ones?
The finished piece. (There are a couple of gaps but I ran out of time). This is a huge improvement over my previous flower pictures.
Oh – Charles patted me on the shoulder and said ‘beautiful painting’. <Blush>
Portraits again today and like yesterday we started with a demo. The model today was Jeanne who I later found out is South-African and lived in France and the UK before moving to Falmouth 5 years ago. This makes for a very interesting accent but she was a great model and Charles seemed to take a bit of a shine to her. She works at the Art Center and teaches art to children and teenagers but today was kind enough to model for us.
After the hands he finished off the torso and legs. He concentrated mostly on the internals – the folds and creases of the clothes – rather than the outline. This makes it easier to draw as it’s mostly abstract shapes and stops people ‘drawing from their heads’ as he puts it and putting in standard, sausage shaped limbs.
Here is Jeanne – you can see why Charles liked her 🙂
Onto the painting – first the shadow under the nose – a strong cadmium red and raw sienna mix. This was then pulled out with a damp brush to provide color in the rest of the nose. The mouth was cadmium and alizarin with some cerulean at the corners and underneath the bottom lip.
The eyes went in next. First the irises – dots of color leaving small white highlights. The ubiquitous damp brush cam out again to fill in some of the spaces with lighter values.
This first part took quite a bit of time – 30 minutes for the drawing and another 15 minutes to put in the features.
Next he moves onto the shading of the face and the hair. The color he put on for the side of the face seemed initially to be far too strong but after he’d pushed it around a bit it dried to a much more subtle color. The hair went in with very thick raw umber paint (with no water at all) and was lightened with water and also thick raw sienna. Strands were indicated by scratching out regions with his thumb. ( I tried to do this and all I got was a very grubby thumb).
The jacket and sweater were done together. The paint was put on very thickly to start with (alizarin for the sweater and black with ultramarine for the jacket) and then pushed around with a lightly damp brush to make value changes. Note the small strip of white paper he left for the chain of her pendant – masterful!!
In the next 15 minute chunk he put in the trousers and hands. The fingernails in the hands were basically left white and the trousers were indicated with a very light wash with thick dark accents to indicate shadows. This was all put in very quickly.
We were almost done at this point – here Charles is modifying something with Jeanne looking on.
Charles has a distinctive way of getting excess water off his brush. There’s no way I could get away with this at home.
The finished article. Finishing touches were to indicate the quilt underneath here with strong viridian and alizarin stripes. Works pretty well I think.
Charles, Jeanne and masterpiece.
After this we broke for lunch. I had an errand to run so I trotted into Falmouth. This turned into a bit
of a saga which I’ll write about tomorrow. This meant that I was 30 minutes late starting in the afternoon so didn’t get as much done as I would have liked.
As I did Katrina yesterday it was my turn to paint Jeanne. The pose was pretty similar to the one in the morning. I prefer this as it means we get to practice directly the things that C. talked about in the morning. Here’s the initial drawing which I was pretty happy with. (Charles’ comment – nice drawing.)
Starting in with the features and the hands. I wasn’t very happy with the face – I’m finding it hard to get good color and things look a little washed out. Everyone seemed to like it though and I was discouraged from strengthening the color.
Starting in with the sweater and jacket and trying to keep some looseness and lost edges in the folds.
More hands, trousers and, it’s hard to tell here, but I strengthened the eyes which improved things.
So the day finally arrived. Boris was loaded up and at 8am off we went to Falmouth Art Center
I was almost the first there – we wondered whether we’d have to paint the ladder but it was only there to adjust the lighting. The Center is impressive – large and airy and obviously quite new or at least newly renovated.
After coffee and complimentary bagels Judy and Charles arrived. Judy is obviously the organizer and keeps everyone informed as to what is going on. She shuffled us around a bit so we could all see while Charles settled himself in his chair in front of his easel.
Our model (Katrina – like the hurricane) sat in 15-20 minute chunks while Charles drew and explained what was going on. Having read his books and watched several of his videos the information wasn’t completely new but there’s nothing like actually seeing someone draw and paint who knows how to do it.
He went surprisingly slowly – this was after the first 15 minute section with just a rough outline of the head and more detail of the nose and mouth.
This was after 30 minutes – most of the time was spent on the features with the hair and shoulders put in in a couple of minutes or so. Looking closely at the drawing there are surprisingly few lines. He strongly urges us not to ‘sketch’ with multiple feathery strokes but put down decisive lines. Even so the sparseness of the drawing was surprising.
The time went incredibly quickly. I thought only 5 minutes had gone by when the buzzer for the first 15 was up. Amazing how absorbing watching someone else draw is 🙂
Finally onto the painting. After saying that he usually doesn’t do an underwash he proceeded to do just that. I can’t remember the rationale but it doesn’t really matter. He used cadmium red, raw sienna and cerulean blue and a fairly large number 14 brush to put some warmth into the face and some color into the hair and sweater. With these washes he didn’t keep to the outline but pushed the washes into the surrounding areas.
After another break and when the wash was dry it was straight into painting the features. He said he usually starts painting at the same place he starts drawing. In this case it was the nose and mouth but in other cases it could be the eyes. He was careful to stress that there was very little water in his mixes and it was interesting to see how he got value changes.
He started by putting in the cast shadow under the nose in a dark mix of cad red, cerulean and raw sienna. He then took a slightly damp brush and pulled the paint out into the other areas of the nose and face. This enables him to get unified color but also a good range of light to dark.
He paints as he draws – extremely slowly and carefully. The nose and mouth stage above took another 20 minutes. As with the drawing he stressed that we shouldn’t follow the outline but leave gaps and soft edges to indicate form.
Finally the hair and the sweater was put in. This was done comparatively quickly and he made good use of his fingernails to scrape out the light regions.
Not bad huh?
Then it was our turn.
So that was day one. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Well I’m finally here in a hotel in Falmouth MA ready for the workshop tomorrow morning. I booked this back in January and now the time has finally come. My checklist is :
– Does my easel work? Yes.
– Can I erect said easel quickly and efficiently as though I’ve been doing it all my life? – No but I can make it stand up without it toppling over. Mostly.
– Do I have enough paint? Yes. Probably enough for the next 12 months. Although that doesn’t stop me fretting.
– Do I have enough paper? Ditto. Unless I do more than 80 paintings in the next 5 days.
– Do I have a good way of attaching my water pot to the easel? (This is a crucial step). Yes – 2 different sorts of hooks with multiple backups and 2 different water pots. All researched extensively on Amazon.
– Do I have a sketchbook of the right size for taking notes. Yes – again with multiple backups.
– Do I have a mechanical pencil, kneaded rubber, brushes of varying sizes? Yes, yes and yes.
– Do I have a small pair of binoculars for close examination of demo paintings? Yes.
– Do I have various items necessary for outside work? These include hat, bug spray, sunblock, umbrella, portable water container and stool. Yes.
– Do I have a plentiful supply of kitchen roll. Yes. Freshly plucked from the basement this morning.
– Do I have my phone (with camera) and a wire to charge it? Yes – both USB and powered cables.
– Do I have my laptop for bloggage? Yes – I’m writing on it.
– Have I planned my route to the art center? Yes. Planned on google maps with timings and alternative routes. (It’s about 400 yards from here)
– Have I forgotten anything? God I hope not.
I’d better do some decent paintings after all this. I’ve spent a fortune so far.