Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tilley Foster Farm Workshop-Brewster, NY-8/24-8/28

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.


Christopher O'Handley said...

I guess I get to be the first to comment...the final painting turned out beautifully and I can see why. The idea of gradually working up to size using a series of studies makes a lot of sense and is something I plan to incorporate in my work this winter. Thanks for the reminder...sounds like a great workshop esperience.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Chris. I wish I'd been able to see some of you other NY'ers while there. Almost saw Jim Coe, couldn't find the available time to go see Lee H, but did see my son and his girlfriend who both live in NYC now. They came up on the train for the afternoon and evening. We really held a pretty tight schedule during this workshop.

Frank Gardner said...

Love seeing and reading about this Marc.
That nocturne is a real sweet piece too.

Jo Castillo said...

Thanks for all the instruction and review. Your painting developed to a great finish. The nocturne is great, too. I "know" Jamie through wetcanvas and she is a great sharing person. Sounds like a great time!

michael clark fine art said...

Great work Marc, I love the format of this workshop too bad there are not more out there like this. I could see you teaching a class like this out at scottsdale someday. Was the studio piece alla prima or were you able to get some glazing and scumbling on it? Also curios as to what palette you used on these?

Eugene said...

Why is Putnam Arts Council about to lose their building? :-(

Sounds like you had a great time.

Soooo when are you coming Down Under to do a spot of painting? :-)

Unknown said...

Another great post that has lots to teach those of us who aspire to improve our picture making. Thanks.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Frank. Can't wait for the next trip...'Viva!'... and I'm not talking about paper towels.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thank you Jo. You got that right about Jamie.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Michael. It was a very good way to teach, though too short as I've mentioned. The finish painting and the larger oil comp were all painted alla prima last Wednesday in class. The other work was done on Monday afternoon and the pastel on Tuesday afternoon. Time was cramped.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Eugene... a long story but it has to do with county government's.
Maybe some winter here it would be good to head your way!?

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hey Mick... thanks for the comments. I'm glad that posting this stuff helps. :)

Marian Fortunati said...

Wow... Wish I had been there!!!

What a fabulous workshop... Maybe someday.....

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Marian. I hope so too. Thanks for your comments.

Jamie Williams Grossman said...

Marc, thanks for the great workshop! I did a couple of small plein airs yesterday from the top of Hunter Mountain, and I'm looking forward to using the sequence we followed in the workshop to work these up into half size and then full size paintings. I like that it gives us time as artists to see things and make the changes in the final that we always tend to see a couple of days after we "finish" a painting! There is definitely a creative evolution that happens through the four-painting process.

Suhua Wood said...

Marc, The creative treaments and changes you gave to the final larger painting---the added cast shadow on the bottom of the painting,the smaller trees in the middle ground, more space in the sky, etc.---turn the larger painting into a masterpiece. I was so lucky to witness the evolution of the painting in the workshop and learn a lot. A thousand thanks.

Jala Pfaff said...

Your demo paintings are so delicious!!