Monday, December 24, 2012

Ray Roberts Workshop

I'm not sure why I've not blogged about this workshop.  I enjoyed it and I learned from it.  Ray is a wonderful man and a great artist.  I met nice people.

Probably, my reluctance is that I painting absolutely NOTHING worth posting.   So finally I'll share some noteworthy items from the workshop and I won't post anything I painted.   I've been doing a lot of thinking about this blog and my painting journey.  There is no doubt that I have improved and a lot of it has to do with posting all of the humiliating work I've done over the years.   However, more and more, I'm reluctant to post the losers.   (and there are LOTS of those).   Sometimes the ones I thought were good enough to post, after time (sort of like dead fish) begin to stink.

Ah well, perhaps that's also a sign of growth and not just a bit of vanity. 

On to the workshop...

The workshop was hosted by the California Art Club so we met at the headquarters in Pasadena on the first day.   Ray showed us some of his studies and explained his basic procedure for painting outdoors.  Then were were off to Eaton Canyon where we spent all of our outdoor time.  Unfortunately the weather was quite overcast and atmospheric so all of the work we did revolved around those constraints.

However, here were some of the insights from the first day:

  • Ray's outdoor studies are just that.  Done to help him remember color and values in a scene.  
  • He sketches in the basic composition first and then paints the darks in to establish the pattern of light and dark.  
  • He always works dark to light.
  • Everything is relative
  • He establishes atmospheric perspective by doing the foreground shadows first then greying down as he paints those shapes that are further back.
  • He designs with value.   since there were not many shadows he uses the dark/light pattern of the wash because it unified the scene.
  • He likes verticals.  Horizontals create walls.
  • The challenge was to create form when there were very few shadows.
  • He looks for a rhythm for the light and dark patterns.   Not too many equal sized shapes -- Not equidistant, etc.
  • He made shapes descriptive yet interesting.  He didn't necessarily paint what was there.
  • Shadows serve two purposes.   Everything in shadow is darker than anything in light.  
  • Every time you put a different value on your painting you are creating a pattern.  The pattern should have a pleasing rhythm.
  • Sunlight harmonizes everything.  
  • He doesn't paint the colors he sees... He resolves color.   When working in the studio he tries to stay close to the the original studies for color and value of the larger paintings.  Color relationships are most important in the field.
  • Always paint a little bit lighter or darker than you see within large areas of color.
  • Within a value area -- keep value the same as you add color.  If you change the value pattern you liked when your started out, your painting is likely to go downhill.
  • Quoting Asaro (one of his teachers from Art Center) "Whatever you do... just paint!"
(There was more... but that's enough from the first day.)


CrimsonLeaves said...

Great tips, Marian. With watercolors I normally paint back to front (distance) and light to dark. Sometimes I do switch it up though. I would love to do a workshop one of these days and maybe I'll be fortunate enough to do so in 2013. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Nancy Van Blaricom said...

Marian I have to say I enjoyed reading your blog post and letting us (me) read how you are reluctant to post the losers. I have felt the same way and even threatened to go back years and delete them from my blog. I'm still considering it but I just might end up with nothing on my blog at all ... depending on my mood at the time *grin. Thanks for being open about this ... I don't feel so alone with my critical thinking. I'm calling it growth. *high five!

Also, I appreciate your note one Ray's workshop, thank you for sharing them also.

Marian Fortunati said...

I hope your Christmas was warm and lively and that your New Year will be wonderful for you and your family.
Thanks for always stopping by... I love hearing from you.

Marian Fortunati said...

Nancy... LOVED your comment... So true.. I keep telling myself to go into my WEBSITE and clean out those losers that I once thought were good.
I've tried, but actually my website won't let me delete totally... I can move them from my art portfolio into "other pictures" and that's what I have been doing. They are still on my blog... It IS after all a JOURNEY... but they aren't in my art portfolio any longer.

And I like the idea of calling it growth.

More on Ray's workshop in future posts....

Thanks so much for your comments.

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