Friday, August 28, 2015

Workshops and Motivation To Do What We Love - Paint!

Workshops and Motivation To Do What We Love - Paint! 
OR
 In other words:  Conquering doubt and the pains of stretching in your skill set.

"Late Summer -  Plein Air Study" - Oil on Gessoed Hardboard 9" X 12"

The above oil painting is from my most recent plein air outing at Powhatan State Park along the James River this week.  All but the clouds were done on site since they seemed to be everywhere except over the field I was painting.  And my goal was for this to be a sky painting!   I haven't done many with the Cobra water miscible paints but I'm happy with this one.  

But I digress from the reason for this post. Note this is a long blog post sorry;((

It’s funny how ending one large time consuming project in your life - leads to self examination and sometimes an inability to get back to the art you love.  If your like me, you channel yourself in household chores that we may have left for “the project”.  Or you keep yourself busy with the "office to do’s" in an artists life.  Computer work, website updates and getting caught up on the accounting of your business, can provide necessary distraction..... Errr Umm procrastinations.....  All the while dabbling in but not really completing any of the works you have on your easel.  

Knowing this about myself I had signed up for a wonderful workshop from an artist who’s use of color is inspiring, clean and just plain makes you happy.  And HAPPY is what I needed to get much more of lately.  Her name is Dreama Tolle Perry and you can find her joyful paintings and workshop info  HERE.  

Dreama'a 3 Day Workshop in Paris KY, is in oil and for me this was the first workshop I’ve actually done in oil.  Even though I have studied with other wonderful accomplished oil painters -  Charlotte Wharton, (who’s plein air insightful workshop I did in pastel) and Barbara Nuss (who’s plein air workshop I did in my usual colored pencil). (Click on their names for links)

Out of my comfort zone and into the fire was how I felt.  After all I had only completed one oil plein air sketch to date before I went on this adventure.  Dreama’s lovely loose brushwork is much different than the tight style I’m known for.  Her easy going start to her casual paintings is completely opposite from my controlled composition and exacting line drawing whether “en Plein Air” or in the studio.  Oh and did I say her expressive brushwork is just short of gobsmacking!

All of this coupled by her enthusiastic “joyful” demeanor was contagious.  So on Day One - I laid out her translucent color palette in my water miscible oils, picked up a brush too big for my comfort zone and started on this lovely image provided by Dreama. I was thinking, learning to use her format of working thru a painting "alla prima” (fresh - wet on wet) shouldn’t be hard, since I had only tried 2 other paintings in the oils before. After all I had no bad habits to unlearn, and Dreama made it look so easy.  However day one provided a big challenge for this detail oriented mind.  But I love her joyful use of color and I was determined to “Get” this new media. 

Day Two - Da Dun Dahhhhhh (Cue: doom and gloom sound effects)  Let’s just say day two enabled me to have a refresher course on what it was like to start a new media, no matter how experienced you are in other media.  

Humbled and grappling with how to control my brush and this new oil media left me frustrated and feeling defeated.  I was trying to channel Dreama’s style and failing big time!  I looked around and saw 17 other artists enjoying the day and their paintings and wondered what was wrong with me?  Even my supportive friend Kathy Scott, oil painter and roommate for this trip, was having a great time.  Day Two's painting was a complete “wiper”.  Or at least one that will never see the light of day!  I went back to the hotel whipped and feeling defeated.  It took more than one glass of wine Kathy so wonderfully provided before I felt better.

That night I had to dig deep and think about the “why” and the “how” I was going to recover from Day 2, and get thru Day 3.  We had some really good artists in the group from all over the US and one from Israel!  And they could do it.  Then it dawned on me……Cue: Light bulb symbol…... What I realized was that all of the other artists were working with Dreama’s palette but in a style they were comfortable with, their own I was not.  This was no failing with Dreama’s teaching, it was I believe, a result of the inner conflict I’ve been having with where my art is going.  After all I was new to oil, I didn’t have “a style” in this media yet.  

So Day Three - Paint from our own reference.  I needed a new outlook.  And Dreama’s words of wisdom on that very Day, helped me realize "I needed to fill myself with the joy to create and work in my own style and however that developed would be just right for me”.  (Paraphrasing here but she said something like that).

Sometimes what we need to hear, comes at just the right time to be heeded in all areas of your life. And for me this was truly one of those times.  (Cue: angelic singing) 

"Fleurs"  Oil on gessoed hardboard 5" X 7"

My piece for Day 3 came out much better than I had thought it could have on Day 2.  More importantly I learned how using transparent colors keep your colors clean and bright.  Dreama's approach is truly a great start to my oil painting future, from her palate to her infectious optimism.  I may bring forth more detail because that’s what I love, and it’s OK, but I will heed her words as I find my future in my art.   

If you can't see it below, Here’s a link to Dreama’s video of our workshop. HERE


Thank you Dreama Tolle Perry for being an inspiring teacher, artist and the voice of "what I needed to hear when I was ready to hear it" at your very special workshop.  Oh and for exposing me to Paris, KY! ;)))  

Gloria


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