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Learning New Things

This summer has been a summer of new learning for me. (Trying to keep the brain young).  In my work, I have been in multiple conferences learning ways to boldly change and lead my organization.  In my art, I have taken workshops with watercolor experts with different techniques and tools, and last week did a week-long Holbein art event sprinkled with plein air painting with some friends.  It was rejuvenating for me - if not exhausting!

Above is the Cape on Canvas. This was from a Tom Lynch workshop that uses canvas rather than watercolor paper.  The process was totally different than what I have been doing - the colors don't lighten when dry, the surface, once varnished requires no glass on top and water will completely take the paint off fully over and over again.  So the paint responds totally different than it does on paper.  I have to get used to it... This was from a sketch that Tom gave us that I cropped and did differently.  I bought some more materials so I can try some more.  The benefit to no glass is that it is so much lighter to hang and less fragile, obviously. 

We added some pictures from the weeklong experience.  The first is my plein air "set up" at the Inn at Shelburne Farms.  This was beautiful - a hot day with a breeze and while my plein air results are always 'iffy' they make me a better painter and a great appreciator of nature and beauty.  

The next is one of the 7 classes I took - this one was with Sean Dye and was using water-soluble oils -still smelly but easier clean up.  I started a painting of a vineyard but as you can see from my orange underpainting, there is a long way to go. Painting with texture is so different, painting with a medium that 'covers' mistakes is awesome, painting with a medium that takes days to dry is a tad frustrating!  Sean was another great teacher.  Lots of notes; lots of notes.

Then there's a picture of a painting from a David Becker workshop.  We used a tracing paper to get the sketch down, so that we could spend the bulk of the time not with drawing (copying) but with painting in a unique way.  Used a lot of water, particularly for the reflections of this photo from Prague.  It was fun and I have taken workshops from David in the past and always come out with new ideas.  The boat on the dock is also a watercolor from David Becker's workshops that used a new paper I had never used before 300# Stonehenge - which was quite sturdy and forgiving.

Below is pastel - this was with Jacob Aguiar and he was masterful.  I took two workshops with him. The first one I did the four panels, having never held pastels before - it was a challenge to say the least - and crazy messy.  By the fourth panel, I was starting to get the hang of it.  Jacob in the middle photo was doing a snow scene demo - finished on the right and I WON IT with a pick a number contest.  I will bring it to the framer to be cut down and framed..... without smearing it... I am not sure how that will work :)

I also took an acrylics workshop - I can't say that I enjoyed that one.  Not something I would continue.  I did buy a small set of pastels and a small set of water soluble oils.  I will never divulge how much I spent last week....

It was a great way to spend the week and sharing it with artist friends was pretty darn special.  Elaine Hranich (Maine) and Nancy Stalnaker (VT) and I had fun painting in between out and about the Champlain Valley.  Gotta do more of that!  

Above is a plein air watercolor sketch of the Winooski River.  Photo below is Lauren, Nancy and Elaine at 'the tree' in Shelburne Farms.  I think you will see paintings of that tree from all of us at some point!  

All of this was just last week's Vermont Art Event with Holbein in South Burlington that happens every year.  A perfect way to experience other types of media without a big investment in new materials.  Well, unless you get hooked....   I've also done a Richard Sneary Workshop earlier this summer and have one coming up in August with Vladislav Yeliseyev.

- Lauren

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