Sunday, April 26, 2009

I see sky

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Maryland Pastel Society! It consisted of four simultaneous demos, one going on in each corner of a big assembly room, where each demo/teacher spent a half an hour or so on her topic. The audience rotated at will among sessions.

The four topics were intended to get the membership ready for plein air work:
  • the sky and clouds
  • verticals (trees and hills)
  • the land
  • water
The pic on the right, above, is from the sky/clouds demo given by the group's president, Jean Hirons. She had a piece of paper divided into quarters (as you see) and did each of her demos on one of the panels. The one I watched was done on the third panel from the left and the sky treatment differed considerably from the other two! It was fun to compare and contrast as she painted. Important tip: the sky should echo the ground in temp/color/tint. This ties the piece together.

The verticals demo was done by Lisa Sheppard. I very much enjoyed watching how she built her value masses, based on the angle from which each mass was lit. And then she brought them to life with just a few additional strokes.

The land demo was done by Mary Anne Warner, a 'realist' painter of large skill, who (unfortunately for her, here in this locale) hates green!

The water demo was seriously instructional, based upon the correct premise that the more you know about a thing, the better you'll paint it. It was presented by Deborah Maklowski. (Another excellent How-To-Paint-Water in pastels demo is here.)

Two books were mentioned reverently by more than one presenter:
--- Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting, by John Carlson (1958)
--- Capturing Light & Color With Pastel, by Doug Dawson (1991)
From what I saw, the Carlson book looks pretty interesting. We'll see. It's on the way!

ADDENDUM: On the way home I discovered an outstanding little grocery market in Olney (west side of Georgia Avenue): Roots Market. Great spot! Really good stuff. Decent prices. A little Dean+Deluca and a little Whole Foods. I intend to go back often. Wish there was one closer!

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