Workshop with Susan Abbott

09 2009 SA Wkshop2.jpg
{w/c ~ exercise of applying value and colors
of a Diebenkorn painting to a totally separate scene}

Hello ~

This week has been busy working on two new projects while absorbing the lessons learned from Susan Abbott’s workshop on Landscape.

The 4-day workshop focused on how landscape paintings are built, the premise of the workshop was that they are not just about going outside and painting whatever you see in front of you, instead the artist applies a sense of purpose when interpreting the landscape with an underlying structure.

Where Danni’s workshop was predominatntly focused on painting a single set up with the occasional demonstration, Susan organized the workshop to be half theory and discussion and the other half focused on exercises designed to have some experiential learning.

We individually focused on individual components of a painting and how they support the visual idea of a painting.

*Format (composition)

* Value

*Color Temperature (warm vs. cool)

* Color relationships (as on the color wheel)

Susan had gathered many slides of landscape paintings that supported the discussion. I really enjoyed how she gathered a variety of painting styles to demonstrate that all successful landscapes possessed these individual components.

Susan also asserted the idea that there was also an order of how paintings are organized. First the format of the painting is established by the canvas or base it is painted on. Then comes the value relationships. If the values do not hang together all efforts of color temperature and color relationships will be to no avail. After the value comes color temperature, the relationship of warm and cool shapes, how they relate and where they join, providing an interesting and convincing view. Finally color selection is chosen. Susan will often employ a limited color palette when working en plein air.

{w/c ~ color temperature exerecise}

This exercise was about experiementing with color temperature, where warm and cool colors meet while also establishing complementary color pairs (when using complementary colors you also typically have a color temp. difference)

{Oil Canvas Panel ~ plein air @ River Farm on the Potomac}
On the last day of the workshop we went out and worked on a plein air painting applying all we had learned. This painting was completed with a limited palette of alizarin crimson, cad red, cad lemon, cad yellow lt, cerulean blue, French ultramarine, and Prussian blue. This is the most limited palette I have every employed!

I really enjoyed this workshop, how the information was presented and the exercises that immediately applied what we had discussed. As most skills gained during the time were theory, I know it will take awhile to chew on all the ideas and apply the various pieces to how I go about creating a painting. My goal in taking this workshop was to improve my understanding of landscape paintings, I am drawn to them and want to become more proficient with them, and this workshop more than met my goals.

During the class I also met some wonderful people and hope to meet up with them again.