White Pine after Richard Schmid

posted in: Behind the scenes, Oil | 0

What artist hasn’t dreamed of studying master paintings at the Louvre?  Although I haven’t managed to do that (yet), I recently studied one of our modern masters, “White Pine” after Richard Schmid.  In his DVD, he shares a lifetime of painting experience.  And, with the power of modern technology, studying his painting techniques is as simple as popping in a DVD.

Winslow Homer, Art-Students and Copyists in the Louvre Gallery, Paris, 1868. Wood engraving. Harper's Weekly, January 11, 1868
Winslow Homer, Art-Students and Copyists in the Louvre Gallery, Paris, 1868. Wood engraving. Harper’s Weekly, January 11, 1868

The first time I watched his video, I was enthralled.  The process of creating three dimensions on a flat surface always feels like magic.  How does he create such order out of chaos?  After watching it a second time, I got up the nerve to try my hand at the painting.

I set up the computer next to my easel, set out my paint, and did my best to follow his process.  What took him 2 hours (150 minutes running time) took me three days.

Day 1.  Preparing the surface.

I used a 12×16 panel coated in Gamblin oil ground, whereas Richard uses prepared linen taped to aboard.  He set in the initial thin wash with turpentine (triple-refined/distilled), while I used Gamsol.  Since Gamsol takes longer to evaporate, I left that to sit for a couple of hours and returned in the afternoon to lay in the sky, darks and tree shape.

Day 1 - White Pine - Laying in the background, tree and darks.
Day 1 – White Pine – Laying in the background, tree and darks.
Day 2.  Developing the tree and foreground.
Day 2 - White Pine foreground
Day 2 – White Pine foreground
Day 3. Finishing touches.
Day 3 - White Pine finishing touches
Day 3 – White Pine finishing touches

 

Learning from a DVD isn’t quite as much fun as painting in a workshop.  However, being able to stop, start, rewind, listen, watch and experiment was highly rewarding.  I watched him use his palette knife over and over.  Several times, I rewound to see the color mixture.  More than once, I stopped the player at crucial moments to see how he laid the paint on the surface.

I was able feel the process of moving through the painting, and I began to understand how he developed the painting one brush stroke at a time.  I can already feel the changes in the way I handle paint.

You can find his DVD here.  (PS: If you buy his book, “Landscape”, you get 2 of his DVDs all on sale.)

 

 

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