Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Painting from the Meetup last Saturday

"Cruz del Pueblo"9x12in. oil on panel
I was pretty happy with this one. I like the color and the perspective was quite a handful when all those steps go off at odd angles. It's always nice to paint up at "the Cruz." We had a nice group of enthusiasts, as always and the people up there are the best sort. Healthy too. - they have to be to live on that mountain slope! - no cars you see.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Paintings from our San Miguel Workshop last week.

This was done on our first day in the central Jardin.
For the first time I took a semi-active role in teaching. It was interesting and some of the students lied that they actually learned something from me and were glad of my involvement - very nice of them to say and with this in mind we decided that I would be part of a Donna/Tom team in future. I have to say though that I'm more convinced than ever that teaching effectively is a skill not easily acquired. Donna's had about a 30 years experience head start on me! I felt pretty awkward at times not knowing just what to say and what to avoid saying. I think people need a lot of encouragement to get to the point of high enjoyment as they paint and yet they need criticism as well in order to get there. It's a balancing act that Donna now takes for granted but it's a big challenge for me. At any rate it all became a little easier as the week progressed. The fact that they were a good group helped a lot. I don't know how I'll be when I confront my first "difficult" person.....................
The above painting I'm calling "Esquina del Jardin" and it's 9x12 ins. on panel. The surprising thing was that I almost completed it on that first morning - something about walking away and getting a fresh objective look when you return, I think. Mind you Donna was still carrying a much heavier load than I. All in all though it was challenging but fun and we're looking forward to more workshops together in the future.

The one below "The Purple Door" was done on our second day out. We all got to choose our own subject this time and 3 of us chose this one. It turned out to be quite a challenge and a half. Both the other painters were good ones but we all had a bit of a tussle. The red bougambillia was INTENSE and it had to relate to the glare on the red wall correctly. We decided next time we would pin the flowers as intensely as we could in the beginning and let the rest fall off in value. Seeing as it's hard to get a light, intense magenta, it must be socked on relatively dark - you can't just go on adding white to raise the saturation.
It didn't help that I was being interviewed most of the session for a book on San Miguel artists. I do like the design however and if you hadn't actually had your eyes dazzled by the true color of these boogy's in real life you might be forgiven for thinking it's not a bad effort, all considered.

"Sanctuario de Atotonilco" 9x12 oil on panel
This was actually our 4th day out but I seem to be having some trouble getting them blogged into the proper order! I kind of missed with this one and it required some alteration back in the studio. I'm pretty happy with it now. We joked that next time we will take a "dry run" at all the subjects we have slated to paint, in order that the students are more thoroughly fooled into thinking their teachers really do know what they're doing! - well. the drawing was good anyway - it was the color of that white wall in shade that really through me off. I should have leaned a little heavier on my "hue finder" I guess but the light was changing and it got hot and ............... excuses, excuses, etc., etc.................

"By the Juice Stands"9x12 oil
This one was done on our 3rd. day out ( I added the people later ). 4 of us set up in the middle of this driveway and periodically had to move our equipment as residents drove through. We didn't mind and they were amazing - no sign of impatience at all and every sign of respect for what we were doing. In many ways the Mexicans attitude to life is admirable beyond words. They help make this country a perfect place for painting en plein air.

"Guanajuato Plein Air" 9x12 in. oil on panel
I always love painting in Guanajuato and I think this is one of the best plein air paintings I've done in that fair town. It really has that Guanajuato "feel". I again added the figures back in the studio but the rest was done on location. It has to be one of the most fun little paintings I've ever done. A customer saw it in Donna's studio a day or two later and bought it!
Some in the group didn't like the 90 minute trip by van to and from the city. We had thought it would be worth it but we are taking the criticism to heart and next time we are going to tack on a few extra days in Guanajuato separately, so students can decide whether to take the whole package or just the San Miguel or Guanajuato part. They can then book a hotel in the city for their stay. We haven't worked out the details of this for next year yet but will post them when we do.

And finally the last morning of the workshop, "Cuna de Allende". Elena watched me do this one. She does very nice line and watercolor paintings herself. She wanted to see how I begin and prod one of these things toward completion. By this time I was mercifully used to people watching so it was not a problem and she did a small one in her brand new plein air box which came out pretty well and more in the classic" plein air style". By this time broiling in the sun, we celebrated with the coldest most refreshing coca cola I think I've ever had (don't touch the stuff normally). She had it delivered from the restaurant in the picture - sidewalk service from "ten ten pie".

It was a great week and I'm looking forward to next years workshop already.

The Group photo by Jaime
front: Sherry, Donna, Elena
middle: Tom Lips, Laura, Sandra, Carol, Yvonne, Elaine
back: Tom (me), Isaiah, Leslie
missing: Laurel