June Morning, Goodspeed Island

June Morning, Goodspeed Island, 20 x 24, BFK Rives and toned AS liquid primer

June Morning, Goodspeed Island, 20 x 24, BFK Rives and toned AS liquid primer

Here is my latest studio picture, begun last weekend and completed during the two day workshop. I worked again from black and white. Had to make up the clouds as there was too much sky. And I was challenged by the expanse of sandy road, but tried to vary it with soft shadows and differing colors. Interestingly, I tried to do the same picture as a demo last August using this surface, but a 16 x 20 size, and it was a disaster!  I did a partial underpainting and i think that was part of the problem. No underpainting on this one. Got the tree too big and I hated it. So this time I took my time in getting the composition the way I wanted it. In the photo there is a spit of land extended from the left side of the tree. I put it in at first, then added a boat, then took it all out!  I like it much better without as I like the shape of the water, which extends in a small piece to the right of the tree (not in the photo).

Goodspeed Island is an area in Mattapoisett where I always walk in the summer (or any season). I’ve painted it many times, so using the black and white wasn’t difficult as I could really “feel” the colors. I like the 20 x 24 format for this a lot. There’s a lot of detail in here, but also a lot of areas without it, such as sky, water, and road, so I think it is balanced.  Now, am hoping to get some new material and be able to paint outside at last!  I’ve exhausted my photos for now!!!  Happy Easter and Passover to you all.

Abstracting the Landscape Workshop 2

Carol Greenwald's painting on Colourfix

Carol Greenwald’s painting on Colourfix

Yesterday and today I gave my second Abstracting the Landscape workshop for 4 participants, 3 or whom had originally scheduled for the workshop in January, postponed by snow. It worked out very well as we picked up a fourth person.  For this workshop, each of the participants was asked to find 2-3 artists whose work they like and and would like to emulate in some way. We spent time looking at the paintings and talking about the characteristics and then looked at the photos they had brought to work from, most in black and white. My definition of “abstracting” is very loose and up to each individual.  It can be hard to pinpoint just exactly what each artists aspires to, but one said something that resonated with me: I’d like to paint the kind of paintings I would buy!  Some were happier with their paintings than others, but I thought all were really good and frame-worthy. Each person has to decide where they want to go with their work. My goal is to help them identify the characteristics they are aiming for and to suggest  materials and techniques that will get them there.  I think that all of the paintings are successful, regardless of how “abstract” they are.

Penny Goldstein's painting on LaCarte

Penny Goldstein’s painting on LaCarte

Lois Gobbi's painting on Pastelbord

Lois Gobbi’s painting on Pastelbord

Sunny Alsup's painting on Wallis

Sunny Alsup’s painting on Wallis

Lock House Reflection

Lock House Reflection, 16 x 12, UART 400

Lock House Reflection, 16 x 12, UART 400

This is a very different picture from what  I normally do!  It’s in the woods and most of the values are in the mid range. But I loved the way the building and it’s reflection created a rather ghostly image amid the trees and water of mid-March.  I will admit that I upped the saturation a bit when printing the color photo in order to get the color of the water and ANY color!  I didn’t use a black and white photo for this, as I felt it would look like nothing! The subject is a small building near Wide Water and Old Angler’s Inn, on the C&O Canal. The upper woodland path shows just to the left of the building.

I wasn’t sure how to begin this picture, so I decided to just lay in colors. I’m including the underpainting before I added any alcohol to it, so you can see how it looked (pretty awful actually!!!)  (This is one of the Dakota-mounted boards and I find they have a definite texture to them that makes it hard to smoothly lay in the pastel. Any one else notice this?) The alcohol helped, of course. But the applications of water had to be finger-blended to provide the smooth surface of the water. I added some more turquoise pastel after blending. I was also concerned about this being isolated color and I added various values of blues and blue greens to other places in the water, rocks, and the windows of the building. This is not a subject I’ll probably pursue, but it was fun to challenge myself.

Initial underpainting of hard pastel

Initial underpainting of hard pastel


June Workshops

Goodspeed Island, 12 x 16, Rives and Colourfix liquid primer

Goodspeed Island, 12 x 16, Rives and Colourfix liquid primer

I’m sharing the painting I did in the studio last week from a B&W photo, taken in Mattapoisett last June. The composition in the photo was not good and I had to simplify a lot. I find this to be a quiet picture that gave me the opportunity to play with some different colors and details in the foreground.

In June, I have two workshops scheduled in New England. The first is sponsored by the Falmouth Art Organization and will be held June 16-18 in and around Falmouth (Cape Cod). The focus is on color approaches with each day featuring a different approach: observed, interpreted, intuitive. One day will be in the studio, unless all days are absolutely gorgeous!  I’ll be flexible. I just really hope that all days won’t be in the studio!  I want to get outside to paint and the middle of June should be a good time. For more information, contact Suzy Bergmann (director@falmouthart.org).

June 23-25 I’ll be giving a workshop in Tiverton, RI, using the new Sandywoods facility as our home base. This workshop will include demos and help at the easel. We’ll focus on how to find a composition and how to deal with greens.  I’m hoping not to work from photographs, even if we have to be inside.  Contact me directly about this one (jeanhirons48@gmail.com).

September 20-21, I will be giving a workshop in Chambersburg, PA, but the details are not finalized. More later.

Would love to meet some new people and work together in these beautiful venues.