Saturday, June 8, 2013

Za Vue Workshop

It was quite an experience to have had the honor of attending Za Vue's workshop.  Za is a veteran with ten years at the Disney animation studios before leaving and coming to Oregon.  She brought with her a professionalism that was obvious right from the start of the class.  A personal folder with class outline, objectives, thoughts and quotes was given to each attendee.  She also supplied a beautiful spread of snacks, coffee and tea.

Za's demo was slow to develop but came together quickly at the end
We began simply by speaking and getting to know each other.  Za seemed to expend great effort and time to set the mood for the class.  Too much I thought.  I wanted to get into the meat of the class.  I didn't realize until later that we were in the meat of the class.  Za was setting the foundation for proper thinking about art.  She was dropping diamonds of information in front of us but I just wasn't gathering them fast enough.

This work started in a very high key but Za helped me rescue it

Za began her demo and it was like watching a magic show; right there on the canvas the image started to appear.  I believe that part of the magic is due to how Za paints her subjects; she stays on the big shapes and leaves the details to the end.  The painting develops slowly this way, but finishes with a flurry.  Near the end of the painting the image just jumps out.

It amazes me how difficult/easy it is to shift values.  It's an enigma!

Za made sure that everyone received personal attention.  She traversed the room constantly and saw everything that we were doing while we were doing it.  Nothing seemed to excape her gaze.  When I found myself staring at my palette in bewilderment she would appear and quickly mix the right color.  "There, look at the model.  Do you see the coolness on the side of her face?"  I shook my head in acknowledgement while straining to see what she meant.

Seeing color temperature is going to take a lot of practice

During the class she stressed the truths about art that have come down through the ages from the great masters.  None of these truths are new; they have been tested through the centuries.  Most of what she said I have heard before.  So what was it about her rendition that struck a cord with me?  I think it was the energy and enthusiasm with which she delivered it.  She spoke as a coach to the team before a big game, "This stuff is soooo easy.  Work on your drawing skills.  Get your three values in.  Evaluate your warms and cools."(paraphrased).

So what did I learn?

  • I learned that to paint well one has to keep on painting.  
  • A good design has a least three values.  
  • Be aware of the warms and cools.
  • Keep drawing skills up.
  • Put plenty of paint on the canvas.
  • Adjust your edges.

Didn't I know this already?  Yeah, but I guess one just has to keep on hearing it.  And Za just knows how to get these points across to someone.

It was great having an energetic coach Za to slap me on the side of the head and cheer me on.

Would I recommend a Za Vue workshop to someone?  IN A HEARTBEAT!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ink World

Well it looks like I'm in for it now.  While Kristen Dukat was visiting Portland she generously introduced me to the world of alcohol inks.  It is a beautifully vivid and extremely fluid medium.  I thought watercolor had a mind of its own but these inks can quickly get wildly out of control.  The Yupo paper that is used allows the colors to glow, but the price for that glow is a monumental loss of control by the artist.

Here are some of the starts I made to try to get the feel of this medium.  Actually, some of what she taught me is beginning to sink in.  Now the time is fast approaching where I will have to produce.   Kristen is holding my feet to the fire.  She demands that I paint some finished pieces in return for the knowledge she has given me.  Okay Kristen, practice time is over and I'll do my best.  Back to the studio now!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Singing in the Studio

I feel more energized now that I am painting more often.  Boy, I just don't know what happens to me sometimes.  For a while, pulling out the paints was agony.  Even today it was a little tough to get started, but once I did everything seemed to flow.

I even hooked up the music so while the paint went on I did some singing and rocking.

Two minute sketches are still the most fun for me.  They are the biggest challenge.

However, lately I've noticed that my confidence has dropped and instead of one sure line I may have three or four hesitant ones.  I think I was measuring too much.

Measuring is okay for the longer poses, but it's a bit of a waste on these short ones.  Like I said, it looks better to put down a few bold lines that are wrong than some wimpy ones that are carefully placed.

In my opinion attitude means a great deal in the way a drawing turns out.

Friday, May 3, 2013

30 Day Marketing Challenge- Day 2&3

Well I lost my Web Browser all day yesterday so I am behind on the challenge.

What!!! You mean I'm supposed to try to sell a painting?  Already I'm out of my comfort zone.

Life got in the way a while ago, so I had to forgo painting.  My inventory has dwindled.  My plan is to be current with marketing strategies while building my stash of paintings. 

Oil    11 X 9

This rustic looking gentleman was with the Voyageur fur traders group in Michigan.  Every year they dress in authentic costumes and reenact those beautiful bygone days.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day One Thirty Day Marketing Challenge

 The Leslie Saeta  30 Day Marketing Challenge starts today.  Am I ready? NO!  Do I care? YES!

Today's challenge is to start an art marketing group.  In a way I am already doing this. We meet every Thursday in Multnomah Village with a group called Alla Prima Portland.  The topics are varied (not necessarily marketing) but all relate to art, and generally focus on art that can be accomplished in one sitting.

You can bring some examples of your work to share with the others.  Everyone is able to add his or her comments in turn.  And since the setting is in a restaurant you can have some breakfast at the same time!

It's a great group of artists and I'm lucky to be able to sit next to them and absorb some of their wisdom.

Three Color Pencil 13 x 10
After Robert Liberace
I drew this one from the Robert Liberace (what a great artist) reference on his DVD.  I would love to take a workshop with him some day.

This is a three color pencil on watercolor paper.  It was sized first with shellac and then toned just as Liberace instructed on his DVD.  I think the background could have been cooled down a bit and lightened.

If you get a chance to view any of his DVDs, I highly recommend them.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Za Vue Workshop

I just signed up for Za Vue's workshop which will take place at the end of May.  Lord knows I need it.  I've painted with Za a couple of times at Studio-30 and she was so helpful and knowledgable.  Im really looking forward to the workshop.

Oil 10 x 8
Still struggling with color and values.  And aren't these the two things most important in painting?  If you can get these two things down right, I believe that you're half way there! Oh yeah, and then you can work on line, shape, contrast, balance, rhythm...oh my.  I'm getting a headache!

The other day I opened the egg carton to make some breakfast and what did I see but this frightened fellow screaming at the top of his little lungs.  And what was he shouting?

My lovely daughter has struck again.  And you know, I didn't have the will to hurt him so with lid closed he returned to the fridge.....maybe later when I get hungrier.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Back to Work

The world has been spinning around me at a fantastic pace for quite a while now.  As this spinning begins to subside, I look around and see that many things have been neglected.  Blogging is one of them.  I have failed to write about the wonderful and artistically rich area in which I now live.

Here are a few of the drawings from open studios over the past few months.  I like Hipbone Studio and I also like Oregon Society of Artists.  Working in a studio with a live model rules!!  It is a special time.