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In The Studio: 3 Demonstrations from Thursday

Every Thursday I teach 3 classes for the Art League in Alexandria, Virginia and I have decided to put them up weekly with a short description of each lesson.  The morning class is a beginner/intermediate class that focuses on general painting introduction and improvement.IMG_0442In the demonstration for the morning class I was talking about creating movement in the painting by rearranging the shapes and contours of the landscape to push the viewers attention to the desired focal point.  It is the painter’s job to create a composition not just reproduce the photograph.  The image which I will post below the lesson is very flat and uninteresting.  I have put shadows on the road, built up the land masses, and created movement in the sky all of which help to move the viewers attention up to the barns at the upper right, small changes are big changes so play with your images.IMG_0150The image for morning  demonstration.

In the afternoon class, which is called a studio class, the focus is always on doing more with the painting and trying to push the style or concepts a little further.  I am not happy with this demonstration because it just doesn’t tell the story of looking through the trees that I was hoping for but it is interesting and has a good feeling of light, which in my watercolors is always a plus.  I am not fan of overworking the demonstration, so I usually end it when I have gone far enough.  The world of weekly 3 and 4 hour classes it is not my job to do finely finished demonstrations but rather to stoke the creative fires in the students and to get them painting.IMG_0445I have created some nice shadow patterns and used fairly expressive and colorful shadow pattern on the buildings to make them more interesting. I just didn’t get enough mileage out of the foreground trees to give the painting the right amount of depth.IMG_0152The evening class is focused on putting figures in the landscape, and the goal is to have the figures feel like part of the major shape of the painting.  It is not to paint portraits or dominant figures but to just get comfortable using figures to drive the composition.  In the following demonstration, I got the goal right but the painting is just not that good, oh well, I tried and again, I give myself about 30 minutes to do the lesson and demonstration so the results are not perfect.  One of my goals as a teacher is to get the students to leave their egos out of the painting and it all starts with me.IMG_0447I have lightened the subject matter up in order to get more color and interesting brushwork going on.  I have tried to keep the major part of the painting, building, shadows, rocks, figures and trees to work as one shape and to play that shape against a nice interesting background.  It worked okay.DSC_0004

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  • Pat McSwainApril 19, 2014 - 8:56 pm

    Three great challenges–thanks for posting them this weekend!ReplyCancel

  • DavidApril 20, 2014 - 9:51 am

    I recognize these two! Looking forward to Maine again this fall.ReplyCancel

    • SteveApril 29, 2014 - 11:32 am

      Yes David you are a star, I am looking forward to seeing you in Maine too.ReplyCancel

  • MercedesMay 1, 2014 - 6:28 pm

    I am very happy to read your new posts. The previous and the present. I love your paintings. Thank you for being there againReplyCancel

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