Saturday, April 13, 2013

WORKING ON OUR "NIGHT MOVES" IN THE LEEPER WORKSHOP

Remember that song by Bob Seger, the Detroit singer/song-writer. 


On the third day of the Christopher Leeper workshop, he really challenged us because we told him we wanted to try a night scene.  Chris said he painted a lot of night paintings that were never seen until he figured out how to paint a night scene and get it right.  Well, he had us all watching with interest, not talking or getting up to get coffee or anything.



He began with his signature way of painting, putting the warms down first.




Then, the way he started in the sky area, I felt myself cringing inside, seeing the intensity of the colors and the colors he chose for the sky!  I was sure there was no coming back from that color!  Dark reds and greens and blues all in the sky?  Really?  What was he thinking?










And I was wrong!  Look at that color already separating and showing the dark blues and reds and even greens of a night sky!!  How did that happen?  Well, first, Chris was painting on 300# watercolor paper (probably Arches although he likes to try all kinds of paper) - and he prewet the whole sky area.  So as that pigment and water was drying, it separated and made a beautiful, lighter mix of the colors he put in the sky.  That was the best part of this painting to me - seeing that and knowing that, once again, fear of darks can harm your paintings - especially in a night scene.


Chris has taken a thousand photos of evening and night scenes after a rain - getting that shine on the roadways and buildings is what he is after.  The glow that comes in the sky and on the surfaces after a rain.  He loves photography as much as he loves painting, I think.  He and Sweetie proved it when we went out to dinner Saturday night and then went right down to the Ohio River (the Covington side) to shoot photos of the evening and night and reflections.  They are both just as obsessed with photography as I am with painting! ha ha


See that bold, beautiful color in the sky and foreground?  WOW!


This painting was from a photo Chris had taken in his area of Ohio (cannot remember the name of the place but there is a bar on the right side of the painting which he says is familiar to locals who see it).




And from a start that had me wondering "What was he thinking?", came this beautiful, evocative night scene.  Can't you just smell the rain in the air and know a storm has just passed?

 Watercolor, in the hands of a master, does not get any better.  I am most appreciative of the 3 intense days Chris shared with us at the watercolor society and I hope to continue and learn more as I practice practice practice!


Using a photo Sweetie took on Saturday night of the Ohio River facing Cincinnati from the Covington, KY side, I tried my own version of a night scene.  What did I do wrong?  Well, I didn't use anything but blues in the sky with a touch of pink at the horizon - no bold, dark mixes of reds and blues and greens.  And I used misket (masking fluid) on the lights which made hard edged shapes when I pulled the misket off.  Chris says he never or rarely rarely using any masking fluid, preferring to paint around his whites if he can.  I did not make it as dark as the photo - I intentionally wanted to lighten it a bit so I could get better colors.  But I think I will try again going very very dark on 300# paper and prewet areas before painting them.  Again, it's all about the practice and this is the best I did that weekend - which isn't good but it does show I was learning and trying! ha ha

Have a great weekend!


14 comments:

Mick Carney said...

Great post full of useful information and great to see how the inspiration got you working on a super piece of your own.

Vandy said...

This has been a fabulous series of posts about your workshop experience. Great tips and things to think about.

Lorraine Brown said...

Seems it was a really valuable learning workshop, I have never tried night scenes so thanks for sharing these tips, maybe I will remember them when I finally try

Mrs A said...

Christopher keeper. Must be an amazing artist to be with! His paintings have that depth and vibrant excitement that pull you right in. How marvellous for you to be with him for these three days. Thankyou for your posts, I'm really loving them! Mrs A

CrimsonLeaves said...

Wonderful night sky he painted indeed and I do so love how he managed the wet reflections on his piece. I think your sky is lovely, Rhonda, truly. It might not be totally dark but it is sure heading to dusk.

Christiane Kingsley said...

Super post, Rhonda! I really like your night scene.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Mick. You are too kind. It's a start, though, and I will try again. I like the evening sky but want to see if I can do one even darker (without resorting to misket on the lights).
Vandy, Lorraine, Mrs. A, it was a great 3 days and I hope to continue with some landscapes until I learn how to get them right.
Thanks, Sherry and Christiane :)

Celia Blanco said...

Hi Rhonda, what a fabulous workshop! A lot of great information, thank you for sharing it. I love seeing your work as well as his. If ever I try a night scene, I will remember all of his great tips!

RH Carpenter said...

Glad you enjoyed the information, Celia :)

Harra said...

Rhonda, I think your version is wonderful. Don't knock it. But try another as you say, and Go For It, if only to see if his techniques work for you. Good luck: I assume you'll post the results.

Studio at the Farm said...

I so much enjoy your posts on Chris Leeper. He seems to be such an inspiration!!! Thank you again, Rhonda, for your great photos and information about the workshops.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Kathryn and Katherine :) I will try again, when I get a moment - such a busy few weeks for me in April and I don't seem to be finding time to paint (which makes me a cranky girl! ha ha)

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

Hi Rhonda, I read with great interest all of your Christopher Leeper workshop posts. Thank you for sharing all of the info. I liked your night scene very much.

RH Carpenter said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Carol. Thanks!