Friday, February 17, 2012

CAROL CARTER AT CEDARHURST, DAY 1

Since I never sleep well the first night away from home, I was awake most of the night Thursday night.  So that meant I was up and ready to go early Friday morning!

The night had deposited a heavy frost on the cars and a heavy fog, too.  Several people traveling from some distances Friday morning for the workshop were late due to the fog.  For me, it was a short drive and it was beautiful.  I parked at the Shrode Art Center where the workshop is being held and took a walk, taking my camera with me. 


It was 8 am and foggy and the sun trying to cut through and the grounds at Cedarhurst was beautiful.  I took a short walk around through the wooded areas and didn't go back to the center for about 1/2 hour.  I was surprised that there were already 4 people setting up when I returned - they were early birds :)

Cedarhurst has many sculptures scattered throughout its grounds - one of my favorites is the big gorilla made out of shiny steel or something (I'll get a photo of that before the workshop is over).  This one was a wire mess creation and the sun hitting it gave it an almost ethereal, see-through look that I liked.




Carol began the workshop by having us watch her shape orbs using just 3 colors and thinking about warm and cool sides of something to help shape it.  She used Alizarin Crimson, Aureolin Yellow and Prussian Blue (one of her signature colors) to shape the orbs.  Then we were to do it, too. 

Seems easy until you try it and painting wet-in-wet takes some getting used to and some watching and waiting in order to know when it's okay to add more pigment or lift pigment or twiddle the colors a little (something I am excellent at - twiddling colors - but mine always end up being mud because of over-twiddling!!).  Anyway, Carol said we were going to paint pears next, using that lesson of the orbs and shape-making to see how it could be used with "real" objects in our paintings.  And she said anyone who painted brown pears would get an "F" (see the brown pears she used as models? ha ha).  She said it's very important to not let your photo or still life set-up or plein air situation dictate your painting - think about colors and complements working with each other (to create shadows and to play off each other in pure pigments).  So, we did our orbs, some more successful than others; and then tackled the pears, after watching Carol start her pear painting.

Carol says she always paints from background to foreground, so before you can paint your pears, you have to put your surrounding area in - using just 2 colors, Quinacridone Burnt Orange and French Ultramarine Blue and letting them blend in places to get a good grey color.  She always prewets the area she is going to paint and doesn't prewet more area than she can comfortably control so she broke the pear painting up into background space, then foreground space - all before you could touch a single pear!  So she did her background and foreground space and then we started ours. 


Another signature look Carol has is the glow she gets in her paintings as if the painting glows from within - this is because she creates halos of yellow around her subjects and you can see that around the pears, even in the shadow underneath.  And she did the shadow shapes before starting any color on the background pear.  Again, we used the same 3 pigments we used with the orbs - just 3 and no more to get the shapes.  We started with a base color (Prussian Blue for the background pear, Alizarin for the next one and then Aureolin Yellow for the pear that will get the most attention). 

Because the paper gets so saturated and starts to buckle, Carol weighs down the edges - using anything of weight, including a hammer and a wrench :)  In her studio, she paints large paintings on the floor, bent over them and working (almost always when it's raining so she can have extra time to work the wet pigments).  My back won't stand that but I can just work flat on a table (no tilting this stuff because it will run all over - unless that's what you want).


She showed us a lot of her finished and unfinished paintings to highlight the day's teaching and to show us how she used the simple techniques to get some pretty amazing paintings (and often with 6 or less pigments for a painting and no more).  The focal point of this swimmer is the hand and it has the most work on it - the most pigment, the strongest value, the best shape.  Carol said don't be predictable - when doing a portrait or figure, why make the face the focal point - mix it up and do your own thing.




Why make your hair blonde or brown?  Why make your eyes the color they are?  Be artistic and creative and express yourself with color.

More photos to come tomorrow (when we'll be painting magnolias!).  So homework tonight is to draw it out on the paper and have it ready to go in the morning.




17 comments:

Jan Yates, SCA, Canada said...

Wow, what a great opportunity to study with this artist! Thanks for sharing the workshop progression-can't wait to see what tomorrow brings--hope you have a nice, long sleep tonight!

Carol Blackburn said...

Great post Rhonda, looks like you will taking home some interesting things to incorporate into your own already wonderful painting.

Mick Carney said...

Fabulous post Rhonda.

Vandy said...

What an amazing day, Rhonda. I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of it.

Thank you so much for sharing this.

CrimsonLeaves said...

She sounds so fun! I initially learned wet in wet and yet today I tend to not use it quite as much. Something about being a control freak, maybe? LOL I also always work background to foreground; it just seemed more natural to me. Anyway, Carol's paintings are awesome (and I'd not heard of here before). I really love the one with the woman coming up out of water rubbing her eyes. Truly beautiful!

RH Carpenter said...

Carol is amazing and such a great lady. We had dinner out the first night (Thursday) and talked a blue streak, catching up (I've "known" her since discovering her work years ago and talking my then teacher into having her come to Indiana for a workshop - which I attended). I'm glad you all are enjoying my posts - I'll have more tonight after I get back to the hotel and fire up the laptop :)

Look on my sidebar for Carrie Waller's blog - she is in the workshop, too!! So I got to meet another blogger buddy and she is just as sweet as she seemed on her blog :) There are 2 of Carol's students in the workshop driving back and forth from St. Louis (where Carol is from) each day and some are local (within 1/2 hour to 1 hour drive away) in the Mount Vernon area - so only about 5 of us are staying in town for the whole thing. Some really good artists in this group!

Maggie Latham said...

Thanks for sharing this Rhonda....looks like a lot of colour fun!

Christiane Kingsley said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us, Rhonda! I love the glow that Carol achieves in her painting! I am really looking forward to your next post. Have a lot of fun!

Carol Carter said...

Thanks Rhonda for this nice overview! I am going to post a link on my FB page on this. You are terrific in your words and work!

Carol Carter said...

sThank you Rhonda for this overview! I am going to link to my FB page. You are great in capturing the day in words and art!

Studio at the Farm said...

Rhonda, I enjoyed this post immensely - thank you! I love Carol Carter's brilliant paintings, and it was fascinating to read your well-written explanation of some of her basics.

Cynthia Schelzig said...

oooh you are soooo lucky to be taking a workshop with Carol....this looks great what she is having you all do too....have fun with your magnolias.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Maggie and Christiane! Carol loves color and it shows in her paintings - and they do glow!!

Carol, you sly dog! Glad you posted and linked me up to your Facebook page :) Loving the days spent with you trying to soak up everything :)

Thanks, Studio and Cynthia - more to come as the days move on!

JANE MINTER said...

rhonda sounds like you've had an amazing 3 days ...lucky you ...thanks so much for sharing such a detailed post of carols W/S ..carol must be a fantastic teacher ..i love her work

RH Carpenter said...

Jane, she's a great teacher, so uplifting and encouraging - but she doesn't let you slack off - work work work! ha ha

http://carolking.wordpress.com said...

Thank you so much for all this fabulous information. A fascinating post.

RH Carpenter said...

Glad you are enjoying it, Carol. Maybe it will give you a teaser to try the bold colors and wet style :)