Monday, July 25, 2016

Visions Differing

One Day Wonder Workshop at MS Rezny Studio/Gallery

We are deep in the season of opinions--loudly voiced opinions--and it is wearying. That is why it is good to remember that, in truth, we all have different opinions. We all see the world differently. We can't help it, because we see the world through our own eyes and the filter of our own experiences. The good news is that these views can be beautiful.

This was illustrated for me just this weekend when I taught a "One Day Wonder Workshop".  During these workshops, I extol the virtues of combining media such as watercolor and pastel. They have complementary characteristics (the watercolor goes wherever the water flows and pastel brings out the surface pattern of the support). Our first exercise is to consider what we want to say with our painting, what attracts us to our selected subject. Then we figure out how best to bring out our message. There were four participants and each had a different vision to declare. Let's have a look!

Mark paints hay bales surrounded by the mountains of North Carolina

Mark drove over from North Carolina to take the workshop. He showed us images of hay bales standing in the fields and spoke of how beautiful it was to come upon the sight, being quite specific and curious about how the light played upon the cylindrical bales. The way he spoke about the quality of light on the mountains at different times of day let us know about Mark's sense of place. Mark is also a furniture maker and his Windsor chairs, with their supportive vertical rods are reflected in the tractor tracks in the field. A quality of comfort in the gentle curves of his chairs is shared with his home landscape. Amazingly, Mark said this was his first painting.

Meg paints the winter bleached wood and grasses of coastal South Carolina

Meg is a friend and a font of knowledge! In fact, she looked up for us how to hold an image on our iPads and iPhones. She brought in a selection of images and this one particularly lent itself to watercolor and pastel. The aesthetic calls to mind Meg's love for Asian art: it was asymmetrical and had a certain sparse quality. While we were working, Meg told us about an art instructor who came to her house and evaluated her collection according to what makes art successful. One factor is that images should be 1:2 in dark versus light areas, or vice versa.  Interesting that Meg selected an image with a dramatic value contrast. It also features her favored indigos and aquas.

Jan paints a bright field-scape with her nephew's barn home in the backdrop

Jan has a very creative family and she is not afraid to have an adventure. In fact, her everyday world is filled with the wonders of dolls and toys--she runs a Doll & Toy Museum! The image she chose was also quite conducive to rendition in watercolor and pastel, looking at all the texture in the foreground. I had suggested for those with skies in their images, that they start there first and Jan quickly created a magical and lively sky. The task was to extend that liveliness throughout the composition. This was not easy as there were disparate elements to represent. The texture and movement of the Goldenrod and Queen Anne's Lace took some special thought. Jan persisted and succeeded in a joyful creation.

Deborah paints a donkey with a foggy backdrop

Deborah has taken multiple classes and workshops with me. Each time, she has painted something a little different and it is always remarkably effective. Her deep appreciation for beauty in all kinds of settings has led her to adventures around the world and close to home. Just the previous weekend, she had been to a special Jane Austen festival in Louisville, KY. So she is open to new experiences. She spotted this image on Facebook--and your's truly had posted it! A very distinctive donkey appeared through the Nicholas County fog. The challenge here (which Deborah is always ready to take) is rendering a very nuanced backdrop which conceals, yet also describes the distant landscape. Deborah accomplished this brilliantly. I believe she was calling this "Gloomy Sunday"!

What joy to spend some time appreciating how we see things differently. All this took place in the setting of "Firmly Rooted 2016" the juried show now on display at MS Rezny Studio/Gallery. We enjoyed working in the midst of all these other visions. Come on over and have a look!

Firmly Rooted 2016 up through August 20, 2016
MS Rezny Studio/Gallery, 903 Manchester Street, Lexington, KY
Tuesdays - Fridays 11 am - 4 pm, Saturdays 1 - 4 pm