I had the pleasure of offering my first in-person workshop in 16 months. It was for the Gibsons School of the Arts. They do a fabulous job of presenting quality art workshops every summer. They are a very vibrant and friendly group.
The participants in the workshop were also an especially great group to work with.
The Paintings Piazza del Popolo
The first demo was of the Piazza del Popolo. It’s a great subject that teaches so many useful watercolour skills. We took a lot of time learning how to create a mass of background figures.
I’m including a detail of these figures. They tend to look unfinished when you look at them up close but from a distance they magically become figures.
Another thing that I use frequently in urban landscape painting is what I call ‘ghost figures’. They are figures in the foreground that are there to draw you in to the painting. I particularly like the way that their lower half sort of disappears.
The participants’ examples.
The last demo we did was a scene from Granville St in Vancouver. We didn’t have time to finish it but you can see that everyone is well on their way.
Boats At Gibsons
We also did a painting of boats at Gibsons. This was a challenging painting but as you can see from our Wall Of Fame it was also well done.
The workshops are now being held in the High Beam Dreams which I believe was originally a church. A great space.
Here are the paintings I did. I finished them off at home.
I just love teaching art so it was a wonderful experience being in Gibsons. Many thanks to everyone who participated for making it such a great experience. Thanks also to Dee for being my excellent assistant!
Plein Air Painting
After the workshop Susan and I spent a week meandering to the end of the Coastal Highway (about 150 km). I did a few plein air paintings which I super enjoyed. I remember so much more of a location when I paint it then I ever do from a photograph. It’s the greatest way to visit new locations.
3 recent plein air paintings. The bottom 2 paintings were done in exactly the same spot on 11 Ave SE. There are a few smaller, older houses that have somehow survived the expansion of the Stampede. One way sees these little houses dwarfed by the encroaching office towers. Turn the other direction and get a nice view of the back end of downtown.
This is the painting that I just demoed today at Paintworks Art Studio in Okotoks. It was a great workshop and it was very enjoyable meeting new people.
After I got the painting home I added a number of finishing touches. It’s a little wild and wooly but I quite like it. It certainly was a great experience trying to turn this scene, which is in reality a fairly simple one point perspective exercise into a watercolour lesson and teach it. The most significant element I added was the people and the car and trying to use them to create a story.
The bright red banners are visually a neat element. I used cad red light gouache to paint them opaquely on top of all the other paint.
I’ve found my new plein air paradise, namely Kensington a very varied and interesting neighbourhood in Calgary. Lots of street life. I spent yesterday and today doing some plein air painting there. I’m very pleased with the process I used. Get a good composition and then work out a value pattern. I’m also happy with the actual paintings I did. I find it best for me at this point to thing of plein air painting as a time to gather information. If the painting works out that’s always a bonus.
So I definitely got lots of ideas and had a fun and satisfying experience.