Monday, December 7, 2009

Packing and Painting

There are two things that an experienced traveler does in the days before leaving for England: pack and learn to paint. Since I'm already pretty good at packing, I decided to go ahead and learn to paint first, then pack.

On Saturday I attended a painting demo by Craig Srebnik in his Santa Fe studio. He's entertaining, a great teacher, talented, and inspirational. He makes it look so easy that I'm ready to start packing already. When I get back from England I'll check into signing up for one of the painting classes he offers.

I'll pass along a professional tip he gave us: use cheap brushes, because then when you look at a painting that's beyond your ability, you can say "Sure, but he used expensive brushes. I could do that too if I had good brushes." Brilliant! (as they say in jolly olde England)

Craig Srebnik starts a painting by drawing a baseline on a used canvas that has a figure drawing already on it (turned sideways). The large digital monitor on the left displays a photo he took in France, to use as reference for the new painting.

Srebnik uses burnt umber color thinned with turpentine to quickly add basic construction lines and dark areas to the composition.

This monotone underpainting establishes the dark and light values and the composition of the painting. He makes many changes from the photographic reference material, and paints in middle tones and light tones.

One and a half hours later the underpainting is finished. That's the end of the demo, so I'll assume the final color version will look fabulous (because all of his paintings look fabulous).

I can't wait to do this myself, although I'm still a fan of digital paint (more on that later). At least now I can pack.