Summing up the last 5 days of a wonderful experience attending the David Shevlino Figure Painting Workshop at the Scottsdale Artist’s School, I’ll say fabulous!!!!!
The three main things I have taken away from this experience-
Using the mixing surface on my palette in a much more integrated way. Creating new tones out of one central mix, making them all off shoots, provides wonderful nuances and harmony among colors.
Paint handling; laying wet paint layers on top of each other with just the right speed and touch creates luminous effects.
And the most important, how to see an entire subject as 5 to 7 angled lines. Perceiving like this helps to build strong compositions and render subjects correctly.
And of course all the nice people I met, the memory of a great Italian dinner with them at Gramali’s on Main Street, and all the stories we shared about painting techniques. There’s something about spending 30 hours painting the same subjects with a group of other artists that reassures you, that you are not alone in your struggles…. now on to open studio time to practice what I’ve learned!
Monday was a day I had been looking forward to for months, my one week painting workshop with artist David Shevlino.
David’s work intrigued me because of the fluid way he uses paint. His active subjects have life and motion, with simplified backgrounds.
This class has twenty students from all over the country, a very friendly and diverse group. On the first day David did a demo to show us his unique approach to painting.
This was the first stage of his demo. He started on a dark grey toned canvas, which was a reverse of what I usually do.
I have always used a white canvas, sometimes with a light grey wash, but never this dark. The problem this presents is judging the light values against a light canvas is hard. I usually go too light with my flesh tones, which makes it hard to model the form before I’ve run out of light values. But starting on a dark grey surface made a medium value flesh tone appear very bright so I still had four solid lighter tones to work with which was awesome.
In this second stage of the demo he added warm tones in the shadows which really started to bring the painting to life. He does all this with a 2″- 3″ brush.
At this stage David put in some of the lighter tones as well as some half tones in the light areas. Between answering our questions (of which there were many), and model breaks he didn’t get to finish before we begin our afternoon painting session, with our choice of two models for the rest of the afternoon.
Using the dark grey canvas, the large brushes and lots of oil medium, I was out of my usual comfort zone for the afternoon, but loved it! Tomorrow one model, one pose all day, see what happens …
Day 14’s painting was the first one that I was not happy with. I realized when I started it that the scene was mostly in shadow, making a rather dull contrast image. What I didn’t realize until I had no time left in the day was that there was a lot of camera distortion in the photo. The perspective of the wall was just not right and I didn’t like how the wall followed the line of the planter behind it, yes I should have changed it but, I didn’t see it until it was too late. Either the angle of the planter or the wall was off, not sure which, also the door is not right, but here you have it, my dirty laundry.
Today’s image was also of a low contrast scene, but of a much different type. John and I like to go to the Laguna Plein Aire Invitational in the fall. It’s really fun to run around the beach and downtown area watching all of the Artists create their wonderful art on the spot. At the end of 4 hours a horn blows and everyone must stop painting. The event culminates with an art show and sale.
During one of these trips, while walking on the beach I saw this couple who looked perfect for a subject!
I began this painting by working the sky, it was like walking in a dark room, feeling for the walls, there was nothing to judge the value or intensity against. I jumped to the figures, once they were dialed in the whole key of the painting was established. The sand, water and sky seemed to almost paint themselves as everything became very clear.