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Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Workshop Review

I just got back from Toronto and NYC, where I had the pleasure of taking two painting workshops.

First was the Portrait Painting Workshop with Juan Martinez at the Academy of Realist Art in Toronto. We worked on two portraits over 7 days. In the mornings Theresa sat for a couple hours, and in the afternoons Evgeny sat for 3 hours. Below, I have included a video progression of Evgeny's portrait (Day 1 - Day 5).
Painting from life was a huge treat - there is nothing like having your subject right before you, so you can obsess over creating a three-dimensional illusion on a flat surface.

Evgeny, 18x24", oil on linen

Evgeny Portrait Progression (Day 1 - Day 5)

Theresa (aka Left Eye Undone), 18x24", oil on linen

After Toronto I went on to NYC, where the world of the "gray scale" was revealed to me. This was a true academic exercise in understanding how Value creates a successful realist painting. Under the patient tutelage of Tony Curanaj at the Grand Central Academy, we first worked on meticulous mixing of the Gray Scale, according to the Munsell Colour System. Premixing our grays (please see image below), we made our own tubed paints and proceeded to paint gray cubes against the gray background, surrounded by gray shadows. I must admit that I started to go a little cross-eyed... Leaving the classroom and stepping out into the colourful bustling world of Midtown Manhattan after hours of painting nothing but grays, blew my mind nearly every time.

Mixing our 'gray mixtures', which we then put into empty paint tubes, and sealed.

Tony Curanaj demo, directly on our glass palette - showing us how to use the gray scale to model a sphere.

I am confident that all the 'cross-eyed' exactness of painting Value still-lifes of gray cubes will be worth it. I cannot wait to continue the practice of not just painting what my eye sees, but to use my mind to train the eye in actually seeing the subtleties of the world around me.
With time, I hope to persevere and be able to apply the painstaking lessons of the 'gray cubes' to the beauty of human form.

Baby steps... once again.

Thanks for looking!

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