Thursday, April 11, 2013


I feel like that old joke:
"I just flew in from Pittsburgh and boy are my arms tired!"
I am tired.  
I think I am too old to do as much as I've been doing in the past 5 days. 

OK, enough whining!

On to the Leeper Workshop which was in beautiful Mt. Adams on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 5-7. And what a gorgeous weekend it was, too!

I took the landscape workshop back in October and this one was even better, if that's possible.  Perhaps I was less stressed (although landscapes and all the green always stress me out).  Chris is a wonderful artist and a great instructor (those 2 things don't always go together), and he is easily bored so what he taught (the paintings he did, the exercises we had) were different from what he shared in October - so new and fun stuff and even a night scene!

Chris showed us how to use muted/greyed colors in a painted value study (beats all those charcoal and pencil and marker black and white studies we're always told to do) - using our colors but keeping them muted and getting the values right before starting our larger painting.  If nothing else, I will use this technique and try to get better at seeing the values and colors in a landscape scene.

Chris began painting with the sky, using a photo as his guide/reference.  (Remember that - use your photo as a guide/reference, not as the Holy Grail to follow to a tee.)  Of course, he does a lot of plein air painting, but during a workshop you have to work from photo references.

He always says to put down your warm colors first - as a sort of underpainting.  He reminded us that he does that because he can cool down a warm and not make mud - but it's harder to warm up a cool without getting muddy color.

So even though you see cools in your photo and you want them in your painting, put down some warms first.  Then, when you lay cools over the warms, you can leave some warms peeking out - and you truly get a different look to the painting by doing it this way (those warms under the cools will show and give you a nice feeling of warmth to the painting.)

After you have your warms down where you want them, then you begin thinking about your values and put in some darks.  Chris does this in order to get a feel for how his mid-tones are going to work and doesn't wait until the latter stages to put in some darks.  He is not afraid of darks, either, mixing up large puddles of it to put on his painting.  

He introduced me to Daniel Smith Permanent Brown last time and this time his new favorite was Rose of Ultramarine.  He said, "How can you NOT buy a color called Rose of Ultramarine?" ha ha

See how he put in that dark foreground and building?  That's to see how those darks are going to work in the painting.  He reminded us that, once you adjust one value, you have to adjust the other values!

Greens are scary to a lot of us - and Chris isn't afraid of greens.  He rarely uses tube greens but mixes his own and loves mixing Phthalo Blue with yellows and reds to get what he wants.  The Phthalo Blue mixed with Permanent Brown (which has red in it) was a great mix to get a good, strong dark color which you could lean towards the warm or cool side.

Another thing that escapes me - trees.  Why?  Because that little voice inside says, "You can't paint trees" and I believe it and don't practice or go outside and sketch trees.  To paint a tree, you have to see it and know it, I think.  

The beautiful finished painting!

After Chris did his first demo of the day, he then let us loose on our own things.  We used our own references and some painted large, some small.  Some did studies, some had things predrawn on the paper. 

Mine turned into a mess but I tried very hard and tried not to whine too much!  In all honesty, it could be a good starting painting but I didn't know where to go with it and was timid with going darker in places (that is just going to have to come with time and practice).  So you see, even sitting and watching and taking notes and trying to assimilate all the information, it's hard to break through my fear of landscapes and green.  Just like in the Bill Murray/Richard Dryfuss movie, What About Bob?, it's going to be baby steps for me!

More to come tomorrow!  Spring has burst out all over since Saturday and Sunday were so warm and sunny - what a beautiful time of year.


Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Rhonda - thank you for sharing all that wonderful workshop with us. Wow I learned so much from your post...warm colors first - putting in darks to be able to assess values and how he used Pthalo blue to mix his greens. This was so informative...bless you for passing on all this valuable info. Have a great week-end.

Irina Rekhviashvili said...

My complete admiration and respect to your activity, so great to keep developing, though it is not easy, I know. Great, Rhonda.

Vandy said...

Thank you for posting the photos and tips from this workshop. It looks like a wonderful day.

The suggestion of putting in the warm colours first is a great idea and one I will remember.

RH Carpenter said...

So glad you enjoyed the posting, Debbie, Irina and Vandy :)

Harra said...

I just completed the last day of Mike Bailey's workshop at Kanuga watermedia Workshops. And NOW I see your wonderful post that is a great way to share information. I will take inspiration from you and see if I can boil down what I learned, and post it on my blog. It's a great way to share, and, I predict, an even better way to cement what you learned in your own mind. Thank you so much. I enjoyed your blog and will try to follow it.

CrimsonLeaves said...

Sounds and looks like you learned quite a bit of valuable information, Rhonda!

RH Carpenter said...

Katherine, thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. Glad you enjoyed the post and it has inspired you to share Mike's teaching, too. We can never share all we hear and see and learn - that probably wouldn't be right, anyway - but giving people a taste of their work and style and teaching may cause others to say, "I gotta take his workshop next time!"

RH Carpenter said...

Sherry, now I need to incorporate and practice while it's fresh in my mind - not put it aside for later!

Christiane Kingsley said...

Thank you Rhonda for sharing the photos as well as all the info. I really like the idea of putting down warm colors first - I will have to try that!

RH Carpenter said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Christiane :) And congratulations on your award winning painting!

Mick Carney said...

Very informative post and I particularly like the idea of getting warms in early. It will certainly have an impact on my practice.

RH Carpenter said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Mick. I never thought to paint this way, either, and it does make for a glowing painting, whether it's in the sunlight or in the evening.

Judith Farnworth Art said...

Enjoyed reading all your posts about the workshops Rhonda... I have a thing about trees too though with lots of practice I am getting a bit better!! Christopher does sound a terrific teacher and the work he produced on your workshops is lovely.... realy liked the woodland stream scene.