Living in Phoenix definitely has it’s perks. One of them is living near the Scottsdale Artists School, where 50 or more well known artists teach workshops throughout the year.
One particular class that appeared on the schedule caught my eye. Contemporary figurative painter Michael Carson was offering a class. I’d seen Carson’s work online and at the Bonner David Gallery in downtown Scottsdale. You can imagine my disappointment when the class filled up right away, which only left me with a spot on the waiting list.
Fortunately a second class was formed and I was in!
The workshop just wrapped up Saturday with a fabulous morning demo. Michael painted beautiful Dakota Acosta, the process is shown below.
Working on a resin surface which he created himself by pouring a two part mixture over a wooden panel, he roughed in the basic lines of her face hair and shirt with Warm Grey. Notice the darker bleeding of the oil around these lines, an interesting effect. The resin appears to have a matte finish because the surface has been sanded to relieve the slickness. Next the Warm grey was used to very carefully fill in the shadow shapes, followed by a massing in of the flesh areas with Yellow Grey.
Dimension started appearing as he used Brilliant yellow on top of the Yellow grey. Warm hints of Schevenings Purple Brown began to form the mouth.
Things really started to take shape as he worked into the eyes, carefully shaping the lighter areas, Next the underside of the nose and lips, all with very meticulous brush work.
In the last session he went into the shirt, massing in with Warm Grey, than stopped to decide if he wanted to add the bright blue in the lower left area. I said to myself “no Michael don’t do it, don’t do it” and then…. he did it….and it worked! Successfully breaking two rules of painting, never add a color at the end of a painting not used elsewhere, and, always put the brightest color next to the center of interest.
So why did it work? Because that face is rendered with such finesse and sensitivity that nothing else could possibly take away from it.