Monday, October 29, 2012

Casey Baugh Painting Workshop : Our Turn to Paint

The second day of the workshop has arrived, and we are all eager to try our hand at implementing Casey's great advice.  We set up the model, then drew numbers to see who set up their easel where (I was number 12 of 12...all my luck ran out when I got the last seat in the class :)  but that was OK - I needed to be close to the fresh air by the open door.

Because the group was viewing the model from all sides, I jumped up on the model platform - at Casey's OK - and pinned her hair up in a messy bun.  Those of you who know me are not shocked by that statement at all.  I also plugged in my iphone when there was no music, and yelled "Get back to work!" if the model was back in place.  I'll work on my control issues...I promise!!! (I really won't...but I thought I'd say it anyway!)

First stages of blocking in.  Normally I would sketch out the face in a monochromatic sepia tone and then start applying a local color to the skin.  Not this time!  Shapes and values were the focus.  Color was close, but not exact.  Detail was not the goal at this stage.

A shot of the class - great starts!

Casey has made a full round to check on everyone's work at this point.  I found him to be a wonderful instructor.  He focuses on problem solving - not once did I hear him say someone had the wrong paint, the wrong media, etc.  He worked with your palette and your materials.  He DID give a lot of advice on brushes - good brushes are very important.  

The first time he stopped at my easel he said "great - keep going!" so I did :) The SECOND time he came around, he busted me - brushed out a bunch of area where I was getting too tight, added bold strokes to the background where I was clinging to the first drippy layers, pushed some shadows on the face deeper.  It was so helpful to watch him work!  Advice to you: do not be precious about any of your work during a workshop.  These paintings are for LEARNING - process! Learn! - then implement your new skills when you get back to your studio.

So Casey was having way too much fun painting over my face so I finally said "Hold on! My turn!" took back my brush and sent him on his way :)  I don't have a good shot of my final painting - I'll add it later today .

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Casey Baugh Figure Painting Workshop Recap

Last week I was lucky enough to spend a week painting at the Townsend Atelier with the amazing Casey Baugh.  And I mean LUCKY - I think I got the last spot before he closed admission!  The class was only 12 students, in an open and well-lit space.  

I was first introduced to Casey's work about 5 years ago by a fellow artist who showed me a magazine article on Casey's work.  Beautiful figures in impeccable wardrobes staged in the perfect setting.   Each element of his composition were obviously well thought out and painted with certainty.  Paintings that are so good because Casey was able to make the difficult look effortless.

And of course, since that first sighting in the magazine, I have watched out for new work and kept on eye on his classes and demonstrations.  All made easier, of course, because now you can watch him on Facebook and Instagram, too.  So after making sure Grandma could fly out and hold the fort while I go paint for 5 days, I went ahead and bought my seat in his class!

The first day was dedicated to a live portrait demo.  As soon as Casey started setting up the questions came flying one after another..."what kind of palette is that?" (Edge Pro Gear... SWEET!!!) "how do you line up your colors?" "what kind of paper towels are those?"...and so on.  12 eager students just waiting and hoping for the magic formula...the missing ingredient in our own bag of tricks that will make us paint JUST LIKE CASEY!!! (I really do think it's the blue towels...)

Anyway...why am I still writing?!?! You want to see pictures!

After taking time with the set-up - adjusting light, moving around the model, fixing hair, and thinking through the painting, only then did Casey pick up the brush.  That was important - I tend to think "aaagghhh!!! I'm paying the model! I have to start painting the minute she walks in the door!!!" but then 20 minutes into the painting I see that my set up and lighting aren't that great...take TIME to set up!

I think the panel size was about 12 - 14 inches square. What is helpful with Casey's easel is there are magnets on the case and on the panel - you just stick the panel up and go!

No rush to show that he knows how to paint perfect features: a few quick strokes to plot out the scale.  

Blocking in.  Quick peripheral glances at the model only to determine value.  No detail. No drawing.  Quick mixes of color close but not exact hues.  Value above all else.

Watching Casey use the brush and the paint was fascinating.  The right amount of pressure on the bristles, the right flick of the wrist, made all the difference.

I was amazed at how "late" in the game Casey would boldly put a stroke of dark color on the face or the hair.  No preciousness was felt for any stroke or area - if a change needed to be made, he made it.  Solve the problem.  Whenever it arises. 

Quick shot of his palette.  Light and dark versions of each color - blue, red, yellow, and brown.

Before he declared the piece finished, he carefully added his signature - also an element of the design and composition.  Only when the signature is in could he say whether or not the entire painting felt "done".

This summary really only scratches at the surface of what I learned just by watching Casey paint.  He was incredibly gracious and generous to answer every question, with no pretension:  he didn't know all the answers.  He just knew how he liked to try and solve every problem.   He shared his list of 7 things to think about in every painting, he talked about his mediums (which he used sparingly...if at all) and the business of being in the Art world.  

After the demo we all turned in for the day...for tomorrow...we would paint :)

***Casey Baugh will be holding a 5 Day Figure Painting workshop at my studio in Woodstock, Ga, 30 minutes north of Atlanta, in April 2013.  Visit his website to register***

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Where do I begin?

How can I feel like I have so much to tell you, yet I can't even begin to tell you what's going on?  It's been very busy at the studio, at home, and everywhere in between!

So I will share what I can through photos...and share the long version for another day :)

New Woodstock paintings in the works...

The Barber Shop and Tea Party Restaurant on Main Street

Our Wednesday Evening figure group has been awesome every week - fabulous artists and amazing models.  These are a couple of my recent pieces.  The red ones are watercolor pencil on Wallis paper (12 x 18) and the brown one is oil on canvas (12 x 16)

This is the work board of one of my students for the Value Class that I ran last month.  It was a focus on value, not hue.  If your values are correct, used in good proportions as well, your paintings will be more successful.  It was a great class that I look forward to having again!

One afternoon I set up a nice yellow pear in a little turquoise dish, with the light from the window creating a beautiful sunlight pattern.  From this shot you'd think I had made a great painting.'d be wrong.  It turned out muddy and overworked.  It got painted over.

This painting of a small striped pumpkin turned out much better.  Please ignore what looks like my finger in the upper left corner...

I'm also spending a lot of time researching and implementing a special diet for my son Jack.  It's based on the Feingold diet - the biggest aspect being eliminating artificial food coloring (which we've been doing for a while) artificial preservatives, and various other foods that tend to exacerbate his poor behavior.  While just focusing on food coloring was working for a while, it seems like he still has problems after eating foods that you would think would be ok - such as orange juice, apples or apple juice, milk, grapes, peaches, fresh pineapple, and almonds.  It's a continuous experiment, finding foods that are not only as all natural as possible, but don't contain those foods that may trigger emotional outbursts (yes...all children have behavior issues at some point...but these meltdowns are beyond definition).  If you have any experience with the Feingold diet, or any other elimination diet and behavior, I would love to hear your feedback!  

Monday, October 1, 2012

News from the Studio

I just sent out my latest Art News for October - including an article about my work in Cherokee Life Magazine.  View the whole issue here

Happy Fall!!!