Last weekend I was teaching a workshop in Cleveland. I don’t teach very often, too many “mommy” responsibilities at home, but I do enjoy a weekend out….
The main thing that always strikes me about a workshop is how so many artists can paint the exact same model and yet the paintings are so completely different. One painting will have energetic strokes and the color purple everywhere. One painting will be soft-looking and painted very carefully. My demos tend to be rather sloppy and more “painterly” than I usually work, mainly because I am talking so much while I paint and so I don’t have much time to spend on my own piece- I would much rather go around and help teach others at their easel anyway especially while we have the models right in front of us. There are many artists ( I won’t name names) that I think like to teach to be admired. “Look what I can do…now go forth and try to copy me…”.
Yeah, my workshops don’t run that way.
I spend a great deal of time on “prepwork” for a painting and so I teach a lot about that. I make my attendees think about things like intention, focus, color dominance, mark-making and the deliberate attitude of the piece. Things most artists say they don’t really think about first- they tend to just “dive in”. I try to teach that you need to know how deep the pool is before you go in head-first. A good plan equals a better painting. Otherwise, you can just tread water. And painting a good likeness, while important, does not have to be the end-all to a painting. I like to see the artist behind the work. The amazing master, Clyde Aspervig, once wrote that the only workshop worth taking for an artist is one where the instructor makes you think. I agree.
Here are some pieces that were in development from last weekend. I think they are all fantastic and they teach me a lot about painting as well. The first 3 shots are from my demo as it went along…..Enjoy!