Sunday, September 26, 2010

about the workshops ...


Practicing modified contour drawings, a la Charles Reid, on trees, above; notebook page with sketch of the Physick estate and notes from Charles' first demo.
The Ted Nuttall and Charles Reid workshops were two different experiences: they were different; their methods were different; the subjects were different. But it seems to me both teachers stressed, explicitly or implicitly, three things.

1) Seeing. I thought I was already doing it, but I wasn't--I was rushing through it to get to the fun part, splashing around in the paint. Ted pointed out all the small, unexpected things--the way the light hits the edge of a cuff or reflected light catches a hat's brim--that make a painting a delight and a revelation to look at. Charles emphasized connections and exploration of your subject with your pencil; Ted would call it interpreting; finding the emotion.
2) Applying the paint. Many of us share the optimistic delusion that a certain paint or color or type of paper will do the trick for us. Neither Ted nor Charles seemed very concerned with any of this--though they both had favorite brushes: big soft ones. They apply their paint in completely different ways--Ted in successive light washes; Charles in small bits that he "places" on the paper then pulls and pushes around ... but however you do it, in stages or all in one go, think before you do and while you're doing it.
3) Find your own way. There is a lot you can learn from other painters, past and present, especially perhaps when it comes to design, but ultimately you have to find what you do, how you do it, and commit to that, whatever the subject, method, or materials.

I hate to ruin the simplicity of my little tripartite summary, but I have to add one thing Ted talked about that really struck me: nonattachment to outcome. That's the hard one; the essential one. 

I just saved you all a whole lot of money! Just kidding. For me the best part of the workshop is the experience of meeting and painting with other painters, regardless of who the teacher is, though these two were great and I'd recommend both if you have the chance.
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20 comments:

knittingdragonflies said...

Thanks for the info! The workshop sounds great! I'd love to attend one someday
Vicki

Art with Liz said...

Wow Laura, passing on that info from such amazing artists and teachers - thank you. You are so lucky to have them within reach.

Michael said...

I think your sketch catches a decent corner of the Physick estate: not easy to do. But I still like the house you picked to paint instead, and I agree with others who think it not too tight.
I'd like to unattach myself from outcome. Maybe I wouldn't overwork every piece. At least I've learned to stop when the paper starts to ball up under the brush. Ha!

Gretchen Bjornson ART said...

Great words of advice.

debwardart said...

Thank you for sharing the essentials of your workshops. I particularly agree with #3 - far too many w/s "junkies" copy the instructor's style and paint like that for a while before they move on to copy another. I'm also intrigued by "nonattachment to outcome". Even though we know they won't all be masterpieces, we still act like they should be! Good to hear from one of the big guns that we need to paint just to paint for the fun of it, or the experience of it! Thanks for saving me a ton of money!! Like you, I think a w/s should be not only the learning curve, but also an adventure of meeting new people! Glad you had a great time with 2 of the Greats!!!

Carol Blackburn said...

Great tips, Laura. Thanks so much.

Penny said...

Thanks for that Laura, I wondered how the two would either mess up or improve your own painting style, time will tell!
I know what you mean about being with other people in a workshop, you are not on your own and can see that others struggle (or dont!) too.
We always gather something from every one who teaches us.

cathyswatercolors said...

Hi Laura, your drawings are really fine. I have a Reid dvd,lucky you to be able to attend. He works with a limited palette, i believe, and achieves wonderful color. I agree process over product

RHCarpenter said...

Sounds like you gained quite a bit from both artists/teachers - and thanks for sharing the tidbits. I really like your sketch of the building - beautifully done. I can't wait to see how you incorporate what you've learned into your own beautiful style and know you'll take the best of both and use them. And nonattachment is something we humans have a very very very hard time with, no matter what it's to - a car, a house, a painting, a child, etc.

Katherine Thomas said...

Thanks for sharing all that great information! I wish I could have been there. Your work is very good!

Sparrowhawk said...

lovely sketches, thanks for sharing info on the workshops!

Charlene Brown said...

Thanks for a very perceptive and helpful analysis.

Cindi said...

thanks for sharing the info that you picked up at the workshops.. only three more weeks and i get to go to nuttall.. im so excited!!!the three tips you shared are really good ones.. i'll share as soon as i get back and maybe between the two of us we will get it... i think however, you aready got it!!! wonderful results!!!

Sherry Pierce Thurner said...

I appreciate the feedback from these fine artists,Laura. There are some things in the advice comments that are hard for me - being unattached to outcome, being a big one, and Finding my own way and sticking to it being the other. Lately, my routines have been so disrupted that painting at all has become an issue, but I suspect cooler weather will bring me back to the studio soon enough. I look forward to seeing how you incorporate what you have learned into new paintings.

Frank said...

Thanks so much for sharing this with us Laura, there's some valuable information here and has given us something to think about. Not sure I agree with committing to anything in a painting though.
Love your sketch of the house by the way.

A Brush with Color said...

I really enjoyed your notes here. I love both of them and their work, so I know I'd enjoy a class with Charles. I haven't had time to paint lately and it's killing me--I'd really like to have at it. Hope you keep it up and I'll devotedly watch what you come up with! I've yet to get all the way thru CR's 10 class dvd--I need to do it--I really enjoyed the ones I did use. Thanks for all the info, Laura!

Diana said...

thank you so much Laura for sharing, how wonderful to paint with both of them. rest up and paint when you can.. Diana

Teresa said...

A great post... I agree wholeheartedly about the "seeing".... I have to constantly remind myself to focus and study intently - not glance.

Liana Yarckin said...

thanks for sharing. your notes/sketchbook are frameable.

Monica Quintavalle said...

Ciao Laura complimenti sei veramente molto brava !

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