Friday, May 29, 2009
The First Day of the Rest of....?
Well, I did get on that airplane last Thursday morning, despite having to leave a few things somewhat unsettled at home. The flight from Hamilton to Saskatoon was routed through Calgary, and fellow EAGer Michelle Grant came to the airport and helped kill the time there, both coming and going. It was great to have a chance to catch up with Michelle - just too short!
In Saskatoon I was met by EAG founder Sheri Gordon, who did a fabulous job as hostess for my week! We headed up to the Shekinah Retreat Centre in Waldheim, SK, where the workshop was being held. There were a number of workshops going on, organized by the Saskatchewan Wildlife Art Association. The retreat centre was beautiful, and the building itself was a work of art.
The workshop began Friday morning. There were ten students in our oil painting group, from those who had never painted before, to those of us who were there to glean whatever we could from our esteemed instructor, Valerie Hinz. The emphasis was on learning to see shapes, and painting the shapes, and we did a couple of exercises to try and help our brains out! While I'm familiar with the concept of drawing or painting upside down, and do use it quite a bit, what was difficult was to keep the painting upside down! I'm so used to turning my painting, constantly, as I'll look at it from all sides, so to speak, in order to paint my shapes and edges. We worked from a very complex reference for this exercise - a Standardbred racehorse heading onto the track to jog. I think my horse turned out reasonably well, but I wouldn't trust my jog cart for long!
When we started into colour, Val introduced us to her palette, and how she lays it out and mixes it. That alone was probably worth the price of the workshop! After using the palette to complete our upside-down monochromatic underpainting (we were allowed to do the colour part rightside-up!), we moved onto our next exercise. What we did was an underpainting in complimentary colours. This was a lot of fun, because it looks pretty whacky! I especially like the Martian rider on her purple pony! How about that orange tail?
Working in acrylic so that our underpainting would dry quickly, we moved onto oil for the "real" colour. Laying those "real" colours over the complimentary underpainting really made the colour zing. I knew I was going to try more of those!
Sheri and I made a couple of evening excursions back into Saskatoon during the week. On Friday night she gave me a glimpse of her Friday night world, where artist and web designer turns into....race car driver! I won't embarrass myself by exposing my ignorance when it comes to cars; suffice to say it was fun! I rode with Sheri a few times in her nifty Phoenix. If you hear a rumour that I ended up in a cop car, well, you know what they say, what happens in Saskatoon, stays in Saskatoon! :-D
Sunday night we were invited for dinner by another EAGer, photographer Judy Wood. I had met Judy in Calgary a few years ago when I visited Spruce Meadows for the first time, so I was hoping we'd be able to get together. We had a great visit before heading back to Shekinah.
I was back at the Hamilton airport just before midnight on Wednesday, and Thursday it was back to reality. It's amazing how much a foal or a yearling grows in a week! It was good to see all "the kids" again.
Due to airline regulations, I had to mail my oil paints out to Saskatchewan, so I'm still without them. I found I wanted to do some painting last night, so I broke out those acrylic paints from that wayward art supply order that didn't arrive in time to make the trip, and decided to start a simple complimentary underpainting. So far, this is 9 x 12....acrylic! Eep! Once my oils are home, I'll start to work on the colour, and see if I can start to put some of what I learned into practice.
Hope those oils get here soon! Monday is June 1, and the beginning of my next Thirty Horses, Thirty Days! Hope you're ready for it!