Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Workshop Weekend

It was a busy and stimulating weekend with
a workshop I organized for Eric Wallis

Eric is a fabulous artist from Logan, Utah
He was having an opening at the Phillips Gallery in
Las Cruces, NM. and the workshop was designed
for the members of the Guild to take advantage
of his expertise.

Here is the portrait demonstration he did on the first day.
May I introduce young Master Justice Bleiweiss.
He was a marvelous model, holding his saxophone
perfectly still.

A warm spotlight was used and
the shadow side was cool
from the florescent bulbs

A simple mass in of light and dark
patterns of the hat and face  were
placed with a thin wash.

 After blocking in the light and dark
areas, Eric concentrated on getting the
features in place. Starting with the
darker areas
He worked with slight value changes
being careful to keep everything in
the shadow side still in the overall
correct value.
Some of his oil color mixtures were
cad yellow/venetian red for warms
cad green light/venetian red for cools.
These were both modified with
some of the shirt and background colors already on the palette.
When he did the hands he talked about how it was important to
see the negative shapes between the fingers,
and on painting the sax it was useful to see the direction of the
individual shapes of both highlights and darks.

Today was the Landscape Class and 12 eager artists headed for
the beautiful area called Dripping Springs
It was a bright but hazy morning. Very rare here.

Here is the painting Eric did.
I used my phone to take this
shot and it doesn't show the
beautiful subtly of the
neutral colors and
correct value changes.

Eric quickly put in the basic shapes
following the same steps as he did
with the portrait.
The values changes were very close
 due to no sunshine and shadows.
I was amazed how he could quickly
grasp the complexity of the rock
formations and colors. Several of us
have painted this area quite a few
times and we still do not have it
down. Later, the sun came out
along with a tarantula on Lynda's hat!


  1. You seem to have had a pleasant time. Am looking forward to see your next project, as always.

    1. Thanks Roger. It was beyond pleasant. I get all pumped up watching another artist work and Eric was very knowledgeable.
      He had an easy way of passing on the information so all levels could understand it. Do you ever go to workshops. Are they popular over there?

  2. A touch of thrilling with the tarantula!
    Exceptional days with a GREAT painter!
    Your report is lively and accompanies us with you,dear Julie, joyfully!

    1. Hi Rita.
      As always, I thank you for the comment, complement and visit.

  3. A really interesting post, thank you.

    I can see the saxophonist picture really works. But I studied it to see what really makes it special - beyond the obvious, and it's the detail ... and that lies to an extent on the lighting. Between the fingers, as you say, is important but so is that highlight on the nail of the forefinger ...darkside/lightside mmmm I'm beginning to get my mind around this!

    Lovely scenery ... is Las Cruces near El Paso? I've been there (1960s) Crossed the border and bought a sombrero which still hangs in my studio..... yes hooky again!!

    1. Good to hear from you John and will be thinking about you taking your exams this week.
      Yes, Las Cruces is 38 miles north in El Paso. Glad to hear you were there. I have to tell you that of all the places I have lived in America, El Paso is my absolutely favorite one.
      Are you ready for reminded me of Manchester. Big and dirty with mixed cultures, suprising pockets of beauty and a throbbing heartbeat.
      I must add it is home to the friendliest people anywhere.

    2. There are no exams, Julie, just a massive research project with a cut off of midday on the 11th ... still only half way up the North Col yet

  4. What an amazing artist, you are so lucky to have been a part of this class. Not so sure about the tarantula though, I would have ran a mile!

    1. I do feel lucky. I try to bring in artists for the guild who have skills I do not have. It is a wonderful way to add to our collective art skill and knowledge base.
      The tarantulas are harmless here and a lot of the young folk keep them as pets.

  5. Oh what a fabulous portrait! I love the saxophone as it lends so much to this portrait.

    1. I agree about the sax. It is not often you see it painter with a younger player. Justice has a grandmother who owns and runs a music school so he is very good at playing it. Eric Wallis is also a musician so he enjoyed painting this. I think it goes back to the importance of having an "emotional connection" for what you are painting

  6. Yikes on that tarantula!

    Rock formations on a hazy, low contrast day are tough aren't they? Looks like he may have applied some of the same ideas from his portrait work to the landscape work.

    It sounds like you had a great weekend:)

    1. You are correct Libby - he did use the same step process. Big shapes first then breaking them down into smaller values changes within those areas. His use of neutrals had to be seen to be believed and I am disappointed that I forgot my camera. Luckily I am friends with the person who acquired the painting so I know I can visit it again.

  7. Sounds like a great time to be with so many artists doing what artists love to do...create. I love the saxophone painting you did and I did not notice the green in his tie until I read about your colors.

    I think painting rocks or mountains is impossible (which is why I don't do it) and it's encouraging to know that with all your experience you still feel you don't have it down. I say encouraging because it makes me want to try again. Eric's painting is very nice.

    And now I am convinced I could not live in NM after seeing that spider! YIKES!!!

    1. Thanks for leaving such a great comment, Lisa. I am sure you knew Eric did the painting and you used the you as in "the workshop."
      Glad you are encouraged to try the landscape but I understand what you mean. I do not have the same feeling for it as I do flowers and objects, but Eric breaks it down so well I now see it from the same way I do my still life paintings. I will see what happens.
      The spiders are harmless but do play on our fears. The snakes are what I am scared of.

      Love your left over paint, paintings!

    2. I am glad I came back to read this...I did think the saxophone player was yours because I saw it was sold in your gallery link to the right. I didn't read it clearly enough ...I blame this on middle age. :)

  8. OH MY.. A SPIDER.. and a big one! Well, it seems that you really enjoyed yourselves so in that case probably I would have photographed it too. When you are in good spirit, nothing can harm you, right :)
    Thank you for the introduction of Eric Wallis, I already visited his page and he's a fantastic artist.
    Warm regards.

    1. I am so pleased you checked his site. You get a gold star!
      Thank you Konstantina.

      You are correct. Great fun was had by us all seeing the tarantula on Lindas hat. She wears a full sombrero when painting plein air and they have a huge brim so actually it was larger than it looks in the shot.

  9. I like Eric's bold approach - thanks for posting this, Julie. I will check out his website too.

  10. Thanks for the visit, Susan. Love what you are doing with your drawings and brown paper.


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