Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Marc Dalessio Workshop

On the Charles, 2105, oil on linen mounted on panel, 9 x 12 inches

I have not been very good about posting in this blog, and I apologize if you are a regular reader. As I had mentioned recently, it has been a busy summer, and this post is about one of two workshops I was part of. In early June I took a two week painting workshop in Italy, which was incredible and extremely productive. Then, at the end of August I had the privilege of taking a weekend workshop with Marc Dalessio in Boston.  I have been following Marc's painting career for a number of years, and have been dying take one of his workshops.  Finally I had the chance and I took it, and it was worth it.  The first two images are of the two paintings I completed in the three days I had with him in Boston.  
Church of the Advent from the Esplanade, 2015, oil on linen mounted on panel, 9 x 12 inches 

There was so much information given in a short amount of time, I'm actually still trying to remember all the main points, especially the ones that were new to me. The old saying that practice makes perfect was definitely one of the main points. Instead of trying to bang out a painting every two or three hours, as Marc usually does, he wanted us to work on one painting during the three days.  His reasoning is that taking your time in a single painting and making it right  matters most, eventually your skills get better allowing you to work faster.  It makes sense, but I never really gave it much thought. I'm always trying to paint faster thinking that this will allow me to get better at plein air, but not necessarily since working at a fast pace can sometimes cause me to overlook things and end up with paintings that could be stronger.  I'm always setting myself goals, and I decided to work on two paintings simultaneously. 
For this workshop followed Marc's methods as close as possible.  The most challenging aspect of this workshop was working with a limited palette of very intense colors such as cadmiums and cobalt.  I'm used to my color palette of earth tones, trying to figure out the right mixtures with this new palette was definitely throwing me off.  Since then I have gone back to my usual colors, but have added kept a few of Marc's choices as well. 
(Marc's demo at the Boston Esplanade)

Since the workshop I have been paying close attention to some of the points Marc brought up about my painting, which is I tend to get very repetitive with my shapes and brush strokes.  The brushstroke part I had noticed, but the shapes was new insight and it took him to say it out loud for me to notice.  I'm trying hard to improve on these points but old habits are hard to break.  I'm am trying Marc, still working at it.
(Me painting in the canal at the Esplanade)

(One of the ladies had a fan base of little ones)

(Marc's palette)

Marc's limited color palette:  Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Red Medium, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Blue Dark, Cobalt Blue.
(My palette showing my old colors and the new limited color palette suggested by Marc)

Aside from repeating shapes, another thing I need to improve on is drawing.  I saw that one coming as well, I don't draw much, and it's a shame because that's what makes a good painter.  I have to practice on my drawing skills more this winter!  In the meantime, I'm enjoying my new color palette which now consists of the following: Titanium White, either Cadmium Yellow Medium or Nickel Titanium Yellow depending on the day, Italian Napes Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red Medium (very sparingly), Chromium Oxided Green, Old Holland Sap Green (the best green ever), Viridian, Genuine Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber, and Ivory Black.  Not necessarily a limited palette but these are the colors that work best for me and I'm enjoying the outcome.  More to come!

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