Students painting at the Spring into Summer Plein Air Portrait workshop in Temescal Canyon Park
Summer en Plein Air
One thing I love about plein air painting is you always have a story to tell. I've been fogged in and rained out, and even though sometimes I'd have to pack up with an unfinished painting, there was always a sense of adventure! Summer in SoCal is one of the best times of the year to explore the beautiful parks and study nature en plein air. Which inspired my Spring into Summer Portrait Workshop. It was a great success! We were blessed with a beautiful, sunny day in Temescal Canyon Park in Santa Monica, Ca. The workshop began at 10am with 5x7 color studies. Students worked hard to capture the swiftly changing light. Their color studies served as guides for the final painting. Students focused on the warm and cool temperatures of color, patterns of dappled light and shadow and studied how the outdoor environment effects the color of skin tones.
We saw blues, greens, violets and golds throughout the day as the light changed. Sometimes you would just catch a glimpse of a beautiful moment when the light flickered a highlight somewhere spectacular and you would try to recreate it as brilliantly as it was seen. It was a unique challenge and incredibly refreshing experience to paint the figure outdoors.
While I consider myself a more naturalistic painter, primarily sticking with an earthy palette, I couldn't help myself during this workshop and I pushed my colors to the limit. I began to appreciate what it was that the Impressionists were trying to capture. Everyone enjoyed the workshop so much, that I received several requests to host it again.
Gladly! So to keep posted on new workshops, subscribe to my blog (enter email on the right) and I hope you can join us in our next adventure!
The How-To's and Why of Cast Drawing
Cast Plate by Charles Bargue
First, lets start with a little bit of History.
Cast drawing is a tradition that originated in the École des Beaux-Arts academies in Paris, established around 1648. Here, young artists would apply to participate in 4 years of rigorous art training.
Before students were allowed to approach drawing a live model, they would begin by learning to copy prints, drawn by other artists, of classical sculptures. This was the best way for the student to learn about contour, light and shadow. A popular series of plates were created by artist Charles Bargue (see left).
Once proficient at copying the plates, the student was then allowed to draw from plaster casts of famous Classical Sculptures. Once they had a mastery over form, the student was then brought in front of a live model.
Bargue Drawing by student Analia L.
Why should you learn Cast Drawing?
Well, to put it simply, it will teach you to see the errors of your ways.
We all have bad habits when we draw. We make things too long, too wide, too big, too small, too round, too square. The number of ways you can make an error is as varied as Nature herself.
Cast drawing using the Sight-Size approach can help you understand the way you perceive the subject and help reveal your tendencies towards one habit or another. Essentially, what we are doing when we draw from observation, is translating. Cast drawing can help you learn to translate better. And drawing from Classical casts teaches you a lot about design, anatomy and enables you to carefully study the true nature of an object. Even for the abstract painter, there is much to learn from Cast Drawing.
Think of your artistic skills as tools in a toolbox. One tool does not fix everything. But it serves a special purpose and does that task very well. Sight Size Cast drawing is one of those very special tools every artist should have in their toolbox.
Click "Read More" to View Sight-Size Tutorial
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