Archive for the ‘workshop’ Category

Festival Season has Arrived

October 10, 2019

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Reconnected with Christy Town, my Former Student

Go into Nature raw and simple and just sit quietly doing nothing other than allowing Nature to become accustomed to your presence.  Soon enough, often just beyond what you had taken to be the threshold of your patience and perception, Nature steps forward and begins to reveal its features to you. Rush it and you will never see it. Grab for it and it will give you nothing of its real self, only what you set out to grab.  But wait a while longer, and the place begins to breathe audibly, to creep and flutter, beat, to speak in a thousand ways.  You listen.  That is today’s conversation.

Peter London, Drawing Closer to Nature

Today (Thursday) is a genuine gift to my exhausted life. For days I have been driving long distances on the road, keeping several engagements as promised, and now am happy to have an entire day to relax and enjoy the environment in The Gallery at Redlands before loading up for tomorrow’s festival.

After teaching my class Tuesday at Texas Wesleyan University, I loaded the Jeep and headed for Palestine so I could pack up all my supplies for the following day–an all-day plein air presentation and demo at the Central Texas Watercolor Society in Waco. Rising at 6:00 the following morning, I made the two-hour journey and was deeply moved to see  Christy Town, a former art history student of mine from the Martin High School days of 2005. She went on to become a teacher and artist and I found it so humbling that she chose to spend a day with me in this session. She has posted a lovely account of the day on her blog: https://theartlabtx.com/2019/10/09/plein-air-painting-day/

As if meeting Christy wasn’t enough of a shock, I then was greeted by Trish Poupard, a fabulous west-coast watercolorist now living in Texas. She attended my presentation recently in Fort Worth at the Society of Watercolor Artists meeting, and decided to make a two-hour drive here to see me again. You can view her remarkable body of work at https://trish-poupard.format.com/#4

In the morning, I shall leave for the Edom Art Festival, now in its 46th year. The event will be held 10-5 on Saturday and Sunday, and the art work in the booths is high end. This is one of my two top festivals of the year, and I am looking forward to the lovely weather and crowds of art lovers with high expectations. You can learn more about this event by checking out their website: http://visitedom.com/edom-art-festival/

This festival will witness the first showing of my newest series, Turvey’s Corner 63050. I have four new watercolors for this series, in 16 x 20″ frames and ready to sell:

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church hotel watercolor

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The lovely Redlands Hotel has been my welcoming home this week as I’ve juggled my tasks between Waco and Edom. My morning walk today provided a lovely 72-degree temperature with cool breezes and bright sunshine. The hotel was magnificent in that light.

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The Redlands Hotel, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas

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So Many New Businesses Added the Past Year!

Approaching the side entrance to the hotel, I stopped to marvel at all the new occupants I’ve come to appreciate over this past year of growth. What once was a quiet hotel has now turned into a humming beehive of activity even on weekday mornings. I keep the gallery door propped open, enjoying all the ambient sounds emanating from the lobby traffic. And of course, I love chatting up the patrons who drift into the gallery for a look.

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The New Queen St. Grille, Lovelier than Ever

Jean and Mike have now taken the ownership of the restaurant formerly known as Red Fire Grille. The chef and staff have remained on board, so the food and service are still the epitome of fine dining, and many more patrons are now finding their way to this location to enjoy the best food. The rib-eye I chose last night capped the end of a perfect day.

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The Finest 12 oz. Ribeye

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Kevin and Alan in the Morning

Kevin and Alan were at the top of their game this morning with Smooth Rock 93.5. I’m proud to know I may be in America’s only art gallery that includes a radio station broadcasting live. These fellows are the most pleasant roommates I could ever hope for in the mornings. When you get the chance, stream them live on your phone, computer or tablet. They broadcast live from 7-10 weekday mornings. The station continues to play smooth rock 24-7 after the morning show ends.

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Kevin Harris Top of the Morning

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Alan at the Top of his Tech Mastery

I regret to close out this morning’s blog, but I have a ton of packing and loading to do before heading out in the morning for the Edom Art Festival.

Thanks for reading, and if you are in the area, I would love to see you in Edom.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Workshop Afterglow

June 10, 2019

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Summer Rapture, 8 x 10, in 11 x 14″ white mat, $100

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Summer Rapture II, 8 x 10, in 11 x 14″ white mat, $100

. . . even the brightest and most creative aren’t immune to this nagging sense of dread–a feeling that, eventually, someone will pull back the curtain and reveal just how untalented and unworthy they truly are. Maya Angelou once confessed, “I have written eleven books, but each time I think ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'”

Rich Karlgaard, Late Bloomers

Quality sleep eluded me last night. I retired to bed around 1 a.m., and then REM activity aroused me at 4:50. Wishing to hold on to these details, I turned on the light, retrieved my journal, and recorded the dream for over thirty minutes. The time was well-spent, I believe. Turning the light out, I tried to return to sleep, but realized thirty minutes later that it wasn’t going to happen. So . . .

My morning in the Gallery at Redlands has been quiet and very satisfying. I have nearly finished reading Late Bloomers, and am so enriched by it. I used the quote above for a portion of my “talking points” that opened the weekend’s watercolor workshop in Flint, Texas. I shared with the group my embarrassment when introduced with glowing words such as my host had just used. After all these years of painting and workshops, I still feel that Toto from the Wizard of Oz is going to pull back the curtain, and the workshop participants will see that the “artist” is just a bent old man pulling levers, not accomplishing anything of value.

The format for this workshop was a first for me. I pre-planned every step of the painting process, and thought through how I could present this one-day session without making the participants think they were merely taking a “Painting with a Twist” class. The image sent me was taken from an Italian setting:

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I received the image via email, and as I painted it ahead of time, I recorded in my journal the steps I took from start to finish. I emailed the line drawing, encouraging the participants to trace it onto their watercolor paper before coming to the workshop.

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Next, I determined that I wished to render the top portion with Winsor & Newton Transparent Yellow, the bottom with Winsor Violet and a touch of Transparent Yellow, and the center with an even blend of the two colors.

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From this point forward, I would take the students from the top of the composition to the bottom, demonstrating various techniques for rendering details.

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I took my finished painting to the workshop for them to see as a reference painting, then began a second one from the initial line drawing, and demonstrated the stages in the same order as I had done just a few days earlier. I was astounded at the quality of all the paintings that emerged, and the enthusiasm of the participants still has me feeling warm inside.

All of this is just to say–this is not the way I paint. I have always disdained a formulaic approach to making art, and so have struggled with the pedagogical aspects of the artistic enterprise. Reading Late Bloomers has brought many of my feelings to the surface and I am attempting to get them out in the open. Because I didn’t learn the way I was expected to from my youth, I always harbored self-doubt about my abilities. And as a public school teacher, I always loathed the formulaic approaches handed me–lesson plans, teaching students the “steps” to the process, data analysis, grade distribution, ad infinausea. I still believe curiosity is the student’s greatest resource, and if s/he has the drive and courage to explore the frontiers of knowledge, this student should not be confined to “steps” of a process.

So. For the first time, I took my students through “steps” to a painting, but tried all along to convince them that following the steps wasn’t what made them an artist–each one had her own vision, and that vision is sacred. I didn’t expect identical paintings from them, and I didn’t get them. What I did get was an amazing array of paintings of an Italian scene. And each student seemed satisfied that she had created a quality piece of art and not a cookie-cutter reproduction of the teacher’s work.

I believe that all legitimate art is a synthesis of Apollo and Dionysus, the two competing gods behind Greek drama. Apollo represents the steps, the discipline, the rules of the craft. Dionysus represents the spontaneity, the passion, the individual’s creative eros. Last weekend, I brought Apollo to the session, but the students allowed their own Dionysus to enter the arena of creativity. And I still smile at the memories of that day.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.