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Monday, September 21, 2009

Pastel painting reworked

One if the things about attending a class is that you look at all your paintings with a new eye. I was holding off framing this piece because I wasn't quite happy with it, but I didn't know how to improve it. If in doubt, simplify. So, with a few well placed strokes of pastel I was able to turn this piece into a much better painting.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Plein air Intensive Workshop Day 2 afternoon

One of the subjects Albert Handell ( is known for is rocks: big rocks, rocky outcropping, rocks with still water, rocks with moving water. This afternoon started a series of visits to sites with rocks. Albert, our mentor and teacher, chose a small falls over the rocks. Instructions included for us to paint the underlying rocks first, then lay the water over the rocks. Sounds easy enough. I struggle with rocks, and the moving water was an added challenge. I practiced the falls by making some studies, and took breaks to watch the progress of Albert's painting. So much can be learned by watching a master paint.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Plein air Intensive Workshop Day 2 morning

Another beautiful Lake Superior day dawns, and we go back down to the lake. The rocky formation is called "Artist's Point", and there is enough inspiration here to keep an artist busy and happy for many days. Our teacher starts right in on a complex rocky outcropping. It's amazing to watch the painting emerge from the paper, bit by bit. More on that another day.

Looking SW the Sawtooth Mountains are visible receding into the distance. I am able to finish a small piece featuring them. I like the shapes, and I paint a nice sky, one of my favorite subjects.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Plein air Intensive Workshop Day 1 afternoon

The class went up the north shore of Lake Superior to a rocky beach. Piles of driftwood were all along the shore. Our teacher immediately set to work. It was amazing to see how he took such a complex scene, simplified it, and produced a beautiful painting. He demonstrated how to use cast shadows on the driftwood to show the curve of the log, and to create interest along the length of the log with changing colors.

I did a study of driftwood and was able to incorporate some of the lessons. I look forward to using what I learned in a finished piece.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Plein air Intensive Workshop Day 1 morning

Monday morning 9:00 out on the Lake Superior rocks in Grand Marais. Clear and sunny, how lucky can I be? I gathered with the class around our teacher,
Albert Handell ( while he did a demo using pastels to create a beautiful painting. Then it was time for me to paint. The rocks and water provided plenty of inspiration. But workshops can be difficult, because you're learning new things, yet feel like you have to paint well, because people are watching, even if they are fellow students who are also anxious about learning new things and painting well... .