Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Boost from Painters at Painters

Painting Outside: Rose Buds at the Front Gate.
Waiting for the Argyle Music Concert - Looking for light, medium and dark.

Recently I spent the weekend with a couple of arty friends at Painters Lodge in Campbell River, BC.  Every year, around 30 artists get together to paint plein air, give seminars and show their work to an enthusiastic mix of other pros, amateurs and appreciators. The weather was beautiful on the pebbly coast of Vancouver Island, looking across to Quadra Island. Bald eagles, seals, full moon, snowy mountains in the distance...we had the whole shebang. Seeing the talent of the gathered artists was a little daunting, but their really open and sincere attitudes was refreshing. To an artist, they seemed to be really happy to share tips, ideas and encouragement.

There were several key things I took away from the weekend:
1. Talent is important but no one improves without really dedicating time and focused effort. Sounds like a cliche because it is absolutely true.

2. The value of a painting is key. (and I don't mean money) Doesn't really matter if you are true to the exact colour but you have to get a range of light, medium and dark values to make a painting pop. Quick pencil thumbnail value sketches are a great starting point to see if the range of values is there. Squint if necessary.

3. Limit your colour palette. Things are less likely to get scattered if there are fewer colours.

4. And finally, do lots of painting from real life and if possible plein air rather than working from photos.

So in the spirit of lifelong learning, I continue to see it and sketch it.

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