There's nothing like reducing a couple of weeks worth of teaching and painting into 5 days! That's what happened last week in New York to 13 students and one instructor. I taught a process of developing field work into a studio painting that by all rights should take a little more than a day of field work and a day to work it up into a finished painting.
Of course you could take the large one outside and do it all on the spot and that is what I am working towards doing more of myself. Even if I do that, these preliminary steps are still SO valuable that I will probably continue to use them as often as I discipline myself to do so. It's "easier" to just get to painting... but that is also fraught with the possibility that the basic considerations... aren't considered until you're into trouble.
I'm teaching this approach to as totally, as is possible, investigate the issues involved and the problems to be solved, before you start to paint on 6 sq ft of expensive linen. Many painters, myself included, talk about the importance of 'Concept', 'Memory' and 'Visualization'.
In this approach the main 'Conceptual' work is done in the very early stages. Using the B&W value studies, the small and medium size color comps to explore your concept allow those surprises that happen along the way to be incorporated as part of your evolving conceptual basis for painting the painting. I don't know about the rest of you, but I frequently get into a painting and find other things about the subject that I find as or more interesting than what I might be painting. What if you work the idea up progressively,on a smaller scale initially, to uncover those other ideas that pop up as you actually get deep into the oil and pigment and larger in scale?
As the process moves forward there is a discovery of 'memory' and a 'vision' of what the painting will become. You find yourself relying less and less on staring at the subject matter and more and more "thinking" as a painter creating a piece of art vs a copy of the subject.
So here's the work that I did as a demonstration (in one and a half days) to explain this idea to the class. They were successful with many 'revelations' expressed. They were surprised that they were able to work on large paintings without relying as much, or at all in some cases, on photo reference. Nothing wrong with the photos, but the essence of their feelings about what they were painting came through in a much more 'pure' artistic sense, and it was gratifying to see.
Demo Value Study- 5x6 oil-on location study
Demo Color Comp 1- 5x6 oil-on location study
Demo Pastel Color Study-11x13.5-on location study
This one was painted from life for information to use the following day in the studio work.
Demo Half Size Color Study-11x13.5
The morning of my in studio demo, this was painted from the previous three studies to finalize my ideas about color on a scale that was proportionally about 50% of the finish size of 20x24.
'Tilley Foster Farm' oil on linen 20x24-studio painting © Marc R. Hanson '09
This is the final painting. If this were a 10 or 12 session weekly class or an 8 day workshop, I would have painted this 24x30. But I had to cram all of the supplies in my car and do this all in a day and a half to allow the students time to do the same thing. I gave them two and a half days! It has changed from the studies in a number of different ways. That's the nature of doing this and the reason for it at the same time. Changes occur in translating studies to larger paintings.
'Peach Lake Nocturne' oil on linen panel 11x14 © Marc R. Hanson '09
We had a nocturne night following a very good Italian dinner. The lake was next to the home of my very gracious host and friend Jamie Grossman. Jamie is the one who has been trying to get this workshop to happen for a number of years. She did, it did happen and was nearly perfect.
At Tilley Foster Farm there is an effort under way to save endangered breeds of some of the domestic farm animals that came over to the Continent with the settlers. I'm not sure about these two guys, but they were very entertaining to watch. Must have been something very interesting... or very tasty down in that mud. Either way, they can have it!
This is the Putnam Arts Council's building (red building top photo and photo above) containing their gallery, office and studio space. They were wonderful people who's goal in life is to foster and promote the arts in their county and region. My hat's off to them and a big 'Thank you' too. They are about to loose this location and that's a real shame as it's a perfect location for a workshop like mine. Come to find out, this was a first for them, to host a week long workshop. I hope we made a good impression for the future.