|Last week I learned that water can see. Who knew?! That was just one of the hundreds of tips Julie Gilbert Pollard gave in her workshop in Panama City Beach, Florida, “Wet and Wild: Painting Vibrant Water Scenes in Brilliant Color”. This tip came on the first day, when we were working on reflections. In other words, Julie said, “Water reflects as if you were looking at the scene from its vantage point.” To illustrate, if a dead tree is angled out over the water sideways to the viewer, the reflection is a reverse mirror image, the same size and directly underneath the tree, in reverse angle. But if the tree is angled towards the viewer, the tree above the water will appear shorter due to foreshortening, but the reflection will be much longer in proportion, because the water is “seeing” the tree from underneath.
So I look at reflections differently now. I look at color and shapes differently too. Everything is more colorful since that workshop, and I am seeing much better. I find this is always the case after any period of immersion in art, that I see better and am more aware of colors and shapes. One of the other participants in the workshop said that one of the few things you get better at as you age, is art. I laughed, but I understand that statement.
We worked in the classroom, from sample photographs Julie provided which illustrated the concepts and techniques she was teaching. She used the first four chapters of her Adventurous Oils, a Workbook Companion to Brilliant Color as well as several hand-outs. It was a treat being taught by someone who understands how artists learn, who was able to paint and talk at the same time (no small feat, integrating both the left and right brain at the same time!), and who was able to provide constructive assistance as we worked on our various pieces. And the participants were a happy bunch, the paint-mixing and experimentation punctuated with their softly-spoken stories to their table-mate and their laughter. My own table-mate, Faye Gibson, owner of Meacham Howell Design, also was using oil paint; the rest were painting with watercolor. Since the instructor was giving demonstrations in both watercolor and in oil painting, I brought in a 6-color Walmart watercolor set and made a watercolor painting and then painted an oil painting the second day when we were studying waves, shown at left. The watercolor painting was snatched up by a good friend of mine as soon as I posted it on Facebook.
The mission of the A+Art Committee of the Cultural Arts Alliance is to showcase members’ work at the South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College, in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. I co-chair the A+Art Committee with Robin Wiesneth. Our next exhibit will be titled “One Size Fits All”. We have purchased 10? x 10? x 1.5? cradled wood panels, and we will sell them to members at the bargain price of 2 for $10. Members then may use any media to make 2 works of art which then will be offered for sale at the exhibit, each piece selling for $100.
Within our community, a group of women artists, most of them members of the Cultural Arts Alliance, meet once a month for potluck dinner and Show-and-Tell, where they each are allotted 5 minutes to talk about two pieces of their art. The creativity is astounding, everything from traditional paintings to book creation, to doll-making, to sculpture, weaving, and this past Monday, artist Nancy Williams even brought her art car, Nippy Thelma! I bought a few cradled wood panels in advance of our large order for A+Art, and offered them to a few members of the A+Art Committee to see if we could present them at Show-and-Tell as samples for the exhibit. I took two of the panels, and primed and under-painted them in preparation for a couple of sweet sunset scenes, but at the last minute, I changed my mind and decided to paint two apples. By last minute, I mean literally, under the gun, the Sunday afternoon before the Monday of the potluck dinner meeting.
I had fun and success with the first panel, and sent a picture of it to my best friend / budding artist Leslie Kolovich, to entice her to come to my studio and try her hand at oil painting, while I painted the second panel. She pretty well floored herself with her results, painting a nectarine, and her photo of it has gotten 68 “likes” on her Facebook page! I myself am thrilled! It is so rare to “teach” someone who “gets it” the first time you show them a technique, who can immediately translate it into their own expression. Below right, “Nectarine”, her first oil painting, by Leslie Kolovich!
It’s a rainy day in Florida today. For being the Sunshine State, we certainly have had our share of rain this year, at least in Northwest Florida, where I live. Our plein air painters group was scheduled to paint at Grayton Beach State Park today. With 100% chance of rain, and with it already 100-percenting since the wee hours of the morning, accompanied by flash-flood warnings, it is not surprising that only two of us showed up. I was first to arrive, choosing a pavilion where I could see the distinctive stand of trees across the lake, that everyone here knows as the Umbrella Trees. The rain had slowed to barely a sprinkle and some little woods rats were squirreling around in the wildflowers beside the pavilion. I would see something move out of the corner of my eye, and then if I kept looking, I would see the second one follow the first. They were completely camouflaged when they were still.
Soon after fellow plein air artist Ed Nickerson joined me, the bottom fell out of the sky again. Colors in the distance muted to grays, and the foreground colors intensified by contrast. We both had time to paint two small paintings before the mist of heavy raindrops bouncing off the tin roof and blowing onto us chilled me to the bone. I headed over to Grayt Grounds for a cup of good coffee before running an errand and returning to my studio.