Thursday, November 6, 2014

Painting With The Artists Guild In Taos, New Mexico

Hello from rainy New York.  How is everyone?  I was in a bit of a painting slump, but I am very happy to report that I have a few new paintings to show you.

Last month I traveled to Taos, New Mexico to take a one week workshop from the teachers at The Artist Guild.  We painted all day and then had demos at night.  It was a great week with great teachers and I learned so much.

There were classes with models and still life set ups, but I can do those any time so I chose to stay outside and paint the mountains every day.  I've never painted mountains before, so this was not an easy task, but I had a great time and learned a lot.

One day we had a demo with teacher Jacqueline Kamin out in back of the hotel where the classes were held.  She painted the landscape and then we set up our own easels in the afternoon.


This was the view Jackie painted.


I took these photos standing in a thorn bush so bear with me, but at least you can see how the painting came to be.  She started with a simple block in.  Just the shape, size and placement of the mountain to start.


After the block in, Jackie started working on the painting.


The sky is in as well as the darks.

Painting by Jacqueline Kamin

This is the finished painting.  Jackie did this demo in about an hour.  Mine, on the other hand, just got finished yesterday!


This is the painting I brought home with me.  I worked on it for one day, so it was really just a plein air study, but as I was looking at it on Tuesday I wanted to try and finish it.

The main problem I was having the whole time I was in Taos is that my mountains kept looking like Hawaiian volcanoes.  I have never been to Hawaii, so I don't know why that kept happening, but I did realize a few days ago that my landscape was way too green for the desert.  If you look around in Taos, there is a lot of green everywhere, but it is a very muted green.  After looking at my photos I realized that I needed to tone down the landscape and pump up the sky.

I started by putting a layer of yellow ochre over the entire landscape part of the painting.  That helped to tone everything down.  I then added yellow ochre to my ultramarine blue and cad yellow mixture to make sure that my new greens stayed muted.



This was how I left things on Tuesday.  When I got back to the studio I realized that the sky was wrong and I was not thrilled with my desert plants.  I got rid of the plants and just put in the idea of the color of the landscape, if that makes sense.  I also put another layer of blue (mixed with some cad yellow deep) into the sky and got rid of the clouds.  The clouds were there in real life, but I realized they were not helping the painting so I got rid of them and added clouds in places where I thought they looked good.  Yes, I did take some artistic license here, but I'm a believer that you do whatever you need to in order for the painting to work.



This is the finished painting.  I'm pretty happy with it now.  I don't know that I'll ever do anything with it, but it will always be a lovely reminder of a terrific week spent with friends and great artists.

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