Sunday, October 27, 2013

... and the last two days

The workshop finished a few days ago, but I've been busy catching up with a whole lot of things, including work. So, here I am again with the second part of the story.

I really liked the workshop and learned a whole lot. I also hope that it helped me gain more confidence. Despite that at least half of the group were professional artists, I found that I din't suck, in fact I was doing quite well. 

Unfortunately the weather during all four days was quite cold. Alvaro was disappointed that we can't go to the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto and decided to settle for the centre of Oakville, where the workshop was taking place.  It was so cold and windy that everybody was freezing, even Alvaro himself, who doesn't seem to care much about the weather.  

Alvaro painting en plain air in the cold
... and the result
The scene that he chose to paint...
One of the most amazing things he did was to paint the classroom. We all wondered how he will simplify the rows of tables and all the clutter on them. He used a few lines and some dripping water through them to create the tables. Then a few spots of bright colors and some scrapes with a credit card finished the task. The focal point was the group of people around the easel at the top of the painting. This is one of the main things he was constantly emphasizing - pick a focal point and make the painting about it, put your brightest, lightest and darkest colors there. Simplify the rest by blurring, omitting, dry-brushing, etc.

Alvaro with his painting of the classroom
One exercise we did was painting figures in a loose way. Turned out that I don't suck at it and Alvaro, who can be pretty critical, liked my little humans below
Blaga's figures
in the process of painting a night scene
Due to the non-cooperating weather, he ended up painting a few demos from photos. This is the next best thing, because one of my goals was to see how he interprets actual scenes. 

Blaga's version of "Paris in back-light", watercolor 38 x 28 cm
This is one of the paintings from photos that we did on the last days. For the first time I used rough paper, which makes smooth washes harder, but dry brush is much easier

What else did I learn:
- big brush, small piece of paper;
- start with an under-painting of a very smooth wash. Cross-hatching the brushstrokes helps to avoid straight lines in it;
- values are the most important thing!!! It is ok to use black (neutral tint) when you need it. Also, white for highlights. Forget the stupid rules!
- back-runs, "cauliflowers", spills, spatters, all these things that happen with watercolors, give it character. Learn how to use them, instead of avoiding them;
- don't paint the scene as you see it, change it as it suits you

So, now I plan to re-do a few of my previous paintings, applying my new knowledge....


Judy said...

Wow what a great workshop, and I am so glad you gained confidence, Blaga! You learned a lot, and I like your figures too!

Polly Birchall said...

So glad you enjoyed and learnt from the master! He can be very critical, so it was great that he liked your people, an honour indeed. You did some great work. Enjoy incorporating what you picked up into your own style of painting

Rita Vaselli said...

Great Works, dear Blaga. The teacher go beyond ... and he leads the others beyond .
I believe that despite the cold weather, you have learned great things. Thank you for sharing and it will be nice to see you in action with your usual talent plus new acquisitions from this workshop outstanding!

Merce Ares said...

Hola Blaga: Me alegra que hayas recogido buenas lecciones de este maestro, pronto lo veremos en acción, ya que eres una buena acuarelista. Exitos!!

Jane said...

Some advice we could all learn from, must have been awesome to be taught by him ! Of course your little figures are ok Blaga, they are great , and you are a very good painter. Remember it !

Lydie said...

Thank you for this report, Blaga. Your last watercolor of Paris is great as your figures.

Blaga said...

Thank you, ladies, for all your very nice and encouraging words. I think the most important things I got from this experience are not the rules and guidelines, but the desire to go home and paint. I hope that lasts longer.

Tito said...

Thanks Blaga for this useful summary. Looking at your beautiful works, I must say that you have already learned a lot from Alvaro. Your painting of Paris is graet indded!
I hope that sooner or later Alvaro will come to Milan. Ciao!

Catharina Engberg said...

Your Paris scene in backlight is gorgeous!! So lovely to see the warm and cool colours beside eachother like that! And your figures are closely studied by me. They are perfect! I believe that you have learned alot and also been inspired to paint more. Take care Blaga!

Blaga said...

I sure do hope, Tito, that Alvaro visits Milano soon. I think you two would have much to exchange and you would definitely enjoy the experience.

Wow, Catharina, thank you for these very nice words!

renate said...

Hi Blaga:) What a nice post! Being a professonial doesn't mean they are better!! I was very happy to read about the rules, or better, letting go of them. I totaly agree with him.
Your painting of Parisin back-light is beautiful Blaga! I can imagine you had a wonderful time there:)xxx


hi blaga ...sounds and looks like you enjoyed the workshop alot ...some great work there and a great write up .

Jean Lurssen said...

You have learned some valuable tips from a master. The difficult thing I find after lessons like this is putting them into practice. It takes a lot of practice to master the techniques. But your watercolor attempts look great Blaga.