Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ray Roberts Workshop In The Studio


Although I've taken a workshop with Ray Roberts before and enjoyed it thoroughly, the main reason I wanted to participate in this workshop was because I wanted to see how Ray moves from plein air studies into studio pieces.  

Half of the third day and the entire fourth day were dedicated to studio work. By the end of the second day I was really concerned because I had painted NOTHING I wanted to consider turning into a studio piece.

However I still found Ray's information interesting and I learned from him.  Ray discussed the various plein air pieces he had created and decided to use one of the views he had of the rocky part of Eaton Canyon looking towards the mountains.  He said he would be using the patterns and colors he had created outdoors.  

We were fortunate to have a beautiful monitor in the studio we used on day three.  Ray uses a monitor to display photos and manipulates them using Photoshop.  (It was suggested that we use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements or a similar program for our own work.)  Since I wanted it anyway, I purchased Photoshop Elements and was hoping to see how Ray used it in his work.   Ray says his monitor is nice, but nowhere near as big as the one we used in THIS studio.   It was GREAT for all eighteen of us to see, however.

Ray talked about the things he liked about the photo and demonstrated a few ways to cut and move elements of the photo around.  He also talked about and demonstrated how to simplify an area which was too busy in the photo. He used the artistic watercolor element to simplify the overall look.  He said that cropping a scene can change the composition.

He then began to sketch the scene he had decided upon and block in the dark shadow masses.   (See the photo on the left.)

Here are a few additional thoughts he expressed over the session:
  • You are always drawing.
  • Finesse a painting to its end by cutting back into things etc.
  • Always consider the size of the shapes and the delicacy of the contours ... Everything should be unequal but natural... controlled chaos.
  • He is more concerned about the movement in a painting than in a focal point.
  • "It's not what I do, but what I avoid doing."
  • Use sweeping gestures... Rhythm is when your eye isn't stopped by something static.
  • Everything in shadow is darker than anything in light.
  • Sometimes it's better to use a black and white photo than a color photo... Like Edgar Payne did.  That way you are working with values to create your composition rather than getting confused with color.
  • Use overlapping shapes and avoid kissing edges.
  • He uses several different photos to create a final studio piece.  
  • Eventually you develop a level of taste when deciding what to leave in and what to leave out.  When in doubt, take it out.
Enchantment by Joseph Kleitsch
On the last day, since I had no desire to use any of my plein air paintings (I had done 4 total Frisbees) I decided to practice a bit with my Photoshop Elements and some photos I had taken from a hike back to Eaton Canyon Falls.   I used several different photos and took elements I liked from each to create a composition that I thought might work.  

I had seen a painting I liked at the Irvine Museum last year.  It was by an artist named Joseph Kleitsch called "Enchantment".  When I saw it, I thought of the Eaton Canyon Falls and had begun to envision this painting.  So this was a great time to start experimenting with creating my own.

I've been working on my own for several weeks now... Looking at values and movement and paint texture/brushwork.    However, now that I've posted this, I see that I have more work to do on my on it...  The light doesn't seem to create the movement in my own like it does in Kleitsch's.   So... I will work on it some more.

One thing I'll ask you though....   ..    If I ever finish it, which title do you prefer?
  1. Enchanted Eaton
  2. Eaton Enchantment
  3. ????
Thanks for visiting and hopefully for commenting!


CrimsonLeaves said...

I confess that I am quite surprised to see how you used the Photoshop Elements to manipulate a photo that has your own unique style in the end, Marian. As if you painted this one. I think I like Enchanted Eaton.

Marian Fortunati said...

Hi Sherry... The first image IS a painting. I just used Photoshop Elements to add in people from other photos to a shot I liked of the falls, eliminated things I DIDN'T like and then used it as a reference.

I probably should have done some more manipulations... like checking out the black and white aspects (notan) or even changing the image using the various artists "palettes" but I'm new to this so I just left it with the few changes I did. Then I used my own brush on canvas to do my usual things.

The thing is... when I looked at the Kleitsch painting, I realized that I liked the path of light better. I'll have to think some more about how I can improve my own painting... We'll see what I come up with.

Thanks again for your comment.

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

Great post Marian...yes, we are always drawing. Amen.

Nancy Van Blaricom said...

Great blog post Marian.
I prefer Eaton Enchantment.
I love your finished painting and all the beautiful and well placed colors ...
I need to come take a Photoshop Elements class from you ... I can never figure out how to do things on there that I'd like.
I also find that once I photograph my work and put it on my blog I can see a number of areas that need my attention.... its a great tool I think.

Bruce Sherman said...

Good Morning Marian!... and Happy New Year to you!

Love your WIP! The use of whatever reference... shy of projecting the image to draw or paint bit directly... that will allow you to push the envelope further on a piece to make it more satisfactory.... TO YOU... is entirely legitimate in my own mind... and work!

Good luck with the finishing of "Simply"... Enchanting! (my offering)... and DO finish Marian!

Good Painting!
Warmest regards,

Shelley Smart said...

Hi, Marian, still love your work! And how you keep learning and growing!

To answer your question, I AM using my camera recently. I have taken two short classes in photography so I an learn more about my camera. One class is on astrophotography --love learning to take star and night sky photos!! I also have been busy renovating our new home, but hope that I will get my studio organized soon. It has been a convenient place to store stuff up to now. It's a jumble!

I miss taking photos at the beach though. I still marvel at my luck with those. it was great fun. Take care! helley

Marian Fortunati said...

Yes, Johanna, I am always drawing, but I need to do it more deliberately like you did in your "year" of drawing.
You are always an inspiration.

Marian Fortunati said...

So good to hear from you both, Bruce and Nancy.

Thanks so much for the encouragement... I do think, however that there are quite a few things I should do to improve this painting and I WILL. I may even decide to "go large" and do another.

Best to you both in the New Year!!.. It's gonna be a great one!

Marian Fortunati said...

Wow, Shelley... those photography classes sound like they were wonderful...

I can't imagine how you could get any better though. Perhaps you'll do "A Year In......?????" You KNOW there are beautiful things to see no matter where we live!

Shelley Smart said...

Hey, Marian, I was driving through the interior farmlands between here and Ventura this fall and I had the thought, why, I could do "A Year on the Farms" or some such because there were beautiful (stunning) places out there. Then I thought, "You must be crazy!" But it is an idea I haven't forgotten -- or acted on yet.

I'm not too inspired by A Year in Thousand Oaks...

My photography teacher was quite complimentary of my sheer luck at getting a few decent photos. LOL I feel like a total photography fake! He was quite enamored of a couple I took on our Channel Islands trip. (more luck)

Marian Fortunati said...

A year around the farm might be really interesting. I wonder how you might get the people photos without being obtrusive?? I'd enjoy seeing your work anywhere!

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