October 31- Nov 2
I had a wonderful group of friendly, curious, eager Grand Canyon Trust members who came out to Kane Ranch for a watercolor workshop at the end of my stay there. Many teachers’ valuable voices ring in my head, so I made it my goal to do the same for these folks.
“What is ‘The What?’” (Thanks Cathy Gill). Or as I now put it, “why is should this be a painting and not a photograph? What is it I am bringing to it?”
We did a color intermixing exercise first, and then painted fruits and vegetables. Kate said, “This pepper is voluptuous!” And lo, her painting was rich with passionate color, and bright with reserved whites of the paper.
“Put it down and leave it alone.”
“Nature doesn’t come out of the end of a tube.” That is, most pigments for color in the landscape need to be modified — greyed or softened — for one reason or another.
“You can lie.” (Thanks, Spike Ress). That is, YOU are the master of the picture, you are not a slave to reality. If the tent looks better closer to Saddle Mountain than it is, make it so.
“Perfection is not my goal. Let it go.” My friend Kate Barber exemplifies this philosophy of painting. Many of us want to learn this in life as well as painting!
“Br-r-rush Str-o-u-kes” (Thanks Alvaro Castagnet. You have to imagine the mix of Uruguayan and Australian accents.)
The real revelation for me was how much my own painting improved while I was giving demos. Repeating these mantras reminded me of everything I know but often lose sight of in the intensity of capturing the scene. I intentionally don’t teach much – life is short and at my age I don’t have a long career ahead of me. I selfishly want to devote as much time as I can to actually painting. But this experience might change my perception!