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GO TO YOUR ROOM ! I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I am now focusing on my own development ( Going to MY room!) and sharing what I have learned and continue to learn. I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Honored to be included in editorial in South West Art Magazine, August



I was honored that South West Art Magazine, August 2014, chose to include my work along with seven other artist in a section on new Contemporary Landscape Painters.


Monday, 21 July 2014

Susan Lyon and Scott Burdick Workshop - My Review

 

 Last week I attended a six day workshop at Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio in Langely WA on Whidbey Island. This was my second workshop at the Studio and once again it was very well organized and the venue was well laid out with lots of room. They do a great job and I recommend them for workshops. I took our RV and parked in the fairground where the workshop took place - $15 a night - can't beat that.

We had three days each from Susan and Scott.

Each day they began with a new model, new lighting set up and new approach to starting the portrait. Each demo was about 2 1/2 hrs. Each afternoon we painted the same models for 3 hours.
Six days of full morning demos is a lot and can be hard to take - but not with these two instructors. Each day was filled with learning and suggestions and most participants , including me , were pretty much on the edge of their seats the whole time. This couple is so skilled at their craft , so full of knowledge and so willing to share it that you don't want to miss a minute. It was fun to learn of their painting adventures and their own journeys learning to paint.

And they are so different in their approaches that we got to see technique from two entirely different painters. I saw her as a prima ballerina and him as a cowboy - and it made it really fun to watch and compare.


Susan began with a thin wash sketching in the darks
Then adding the lights 

Notice the palette management - neat as a pin


Second day Susan sketched in darks with thin wash
Almost finished - gorgeous piece - the head is only about 4 in high


Susans third started with blocking in the lights

Then the darks 

and almost finished





Scotts first began with a bold block in of the lights

Then adding the darks

Almost finished - notice the palette management 

Second day was a vine charcoal drawing to start

Then the value patterns

Almost finished

Third day was drawn in with transparent paint

Amazing handling of thick paint 

Power paint added

Demo final - what an amazing piece it was

And one of my attempts:

11x14 on linen



And finally another of mine :

But this one I had to buy - one of Scotts prior demos


I was very pleased to be able to add a Scott Burdick to my growing collection. Wish I had one of Susans as well - but the budget only goes so far. 

In summary, it was an excellent workshop. Continuous delivery of information and demonstrations of outstanding skill. And the six days were made fun by the warm and sharing personalities of them both. 

Highly recommend them - and they don't do many workshops. 

Now got to get practicing so I don't loose it. 



Sunday, 6 July 2014

Preparing for Susan Lyon and Scott Burdick Workshop

Practicing head studies - from Zorn
I decided a few weeks ago that I needed some time just painting for  myself. So I decided that I would focus on portraiture/ figurative learning for much of the summer. I have not worked with that subject for a few years. I like doing it and its' great discipline.

I was pleased to find that  David Goatley, one of Canada's most noted portrait painters,  had a five day workshop only a couple of hours drive from us and on a week that I had free. I was preparing myself and looking forward to it. Unfortunately it was cancelled.

One door closes and another opens. So I did a bit of homework and found that Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio was having a 6 day workshop for Susan Lyon and her husband Scott Burdick that same week. As expected it was full. But I sent an email inquiring just in case. Two days later I was in. They had  last minute cancellation and it was too late for others on the waiting list. Bingo!

I have followed their work for many years. I have their DVDs and videos. I was very pleased to get in. But this is a serious workshop and I had not done anything with face or figure for years.

So I started a few days ago  re watching their videos, those of Jeff Watts, Steve Huston, Robert Librace and others. I also reread the great Andrew Loomis  books Creative Illustration and Painting the Head and Hands. 

Then I spent a few hours each day working with planes of the head, shadow patterns and facial features, drawing and  in paint. I have a week to continue to practice before the workshop  hoping I will be well enough prepared in advance to take advantage of what those two amazing artists have to offer.

Homework examples. Playing with different brush and surface combinations.

For those working with WM oils, for the first time I used Cobras Paste Medium (in a tube). Works great and little solvent or water needed. Thick and juicy play.










Will keep you posted.




Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Workshop with the Art Group of the Comox Valley



Finished a two day Preparing for Plein Air workshop with members of the Art Group of the Comox Valley. Great group and very well organized. The venue was the beautiful ocean-front home and gardens of Kate Brown.

The workshop focused on planning, preliminary sketching, value plans and getting ones head in the right place for the challenges of painting on location. The group took to it like ducks to water. Great fun for me.

For anyone interested in this group contact artgroup.cv@gmail.com

















New Plein Air set up for our RV


Last year Cathy and I changed from a truck with a fifth wheel trailer to a class C motorhome. Suits us in most respects but , without our truck, it means we need to unplug and move every time I want to paint in the area.

So I modified my older mountain bike and added a Bionx Peddle Assist battery system and a Burley Travoy bike trailer .  I dug out an old large back pack that fit my ArtBox plein air system and all supplies and a new duffle bag for a simplified acrylic set up.

So now I have a mobile plein air system for both oil and acrylic that gives me full freedom from the RV.

The Bionx system is terrific. I can use the bike without the assist for workouts or add the power that responds to the gear and torque applied. I am booked for a knee replacement in a few months so it enables me to pull the added gear without problems.

The Travoy bike cart is also a great addition. Even if I didn't use it behind a bike it is a great system for toting gear and it folds up to almost nothing. Great investment.

Of course it did mean we had to get Cathy a Bionx for her bike as well.



A few recent sketches done on RV trips using my new set up.

Acrylic 11x14

Oil on MDF board 8x10

Oil on linen board 8x10

Oil on Linen board 11x14