Last weekend is a blur. I spent three days in Highlands Ranch (just south of Denver) at a Plein Air workshop taught by Aaron Schuerr. The workshop was hosted by Terry Ludwig Pastels. Not only did we get a tour of the studio, but I picked up some new greens for these brilliant grasses and landscapes that we did.
Our first day was a bit sketchy as the clouds rolled in and threatened to rain on us.
We started with value studies in charcoal. Unfortunately, I didn’t have fixative, so my drawing got pretty smudged. Here’s the demo that Aaron did – a great lesson in value and composition.
In the afternoon we watched a demo by Aaron. He walked us through his composition, what to pick, what to leave out, how to create distance, and how to deal with the quickly changing sky.
We finished just before the rain began to pour down. It’s so unusual for us to have such heavy, humid air in Colorado. It was nice to see a demonstration for dealing with atmosphere in the sky.
Day two, we painted at South Valley Park near Ken Caryl. I was excited to paint the red rocks.Aaron demonstrating a backlit rock painting.
Again, the clouds rolled in during the afternoon so we headed back to Terry Ludwig’s studio and got a tour of the facility as well as a group discussion and cloud demo.
Terry gave a great tour, explaining the pigments, binder and molding techniques. What a process! It was like combining shop, home ec, and chemistry class all together.
They are so beautiful.
Do you remember the joy of discovery as a child? Do you remember being awed and amazed by the world? Last summer, I had the privilege of spending some time with my niece, a budding artist. One morning, we took a walk and discovered this field full of freshly rolled hay bales. Ava immediately ran into the field. She wanted to touch them and could hardly contain her excitement.
I caught a quick photo of the moment and turned it into this painting. I wanted to capture that moment of joy and awe with the red barn sitting in the distance and low, humid clouds along the horizon. There is a sense of timelessness to the piece. A little girl in a big world.
There’s a little island in the Caribbean that rises up from the sea, Cayman Brac. Landing in a little prop plane, the island seems to slumber as the world spins faster and faster. I have been lucky to be able to visit this island several times and each time the magic of the morning light, the call of the birds, the crash of the surf and the silence creates a sense of magic and peace.
I had been thinking about painting this spot long before we arrived. One morning, I woke up in inky darkness, grabbed my pack and a bottle of water, and headed for the southeast end of the island. Just as I completed my hike along the craggy, limestone karst shore, the sun was beginning to rise out of the sea.
I wanted to capture the light glistening on the rock, the dew on the leaves, and the crash of the surf as the giant rock continues it’s precarious balance.
I’m working on a piece that requires some really dark values. Deep, rich, earthy, aged, and vibrant are words that come to mind. I ordered a complete set of Terry Ludwig Intense Darks after trying out a few during a class.
They arrived yesterday and Intense they are!
Not only are the intense, but they are dark. Perfect for deep shadows, layering, blending and developing form in objects and landscape. I’m not sure how often I’ll use the super bright reds and oranges on the left, but the purples, greens blues and earth tones will be perfect for strong Colorado Landscapes.
They are powdery, yet firm. Intense and dark and vibrant. I played with them for a few minutes, mostly gazing at the intensity and looking for the subtle variations in some of the blues and greys.
This is going to be fun.
This little pond is on the way to one of my favorite hiking spots. In the fall, the golden leaves of the trees glow, especially against the backdrop of a crisp, blue sky. I can almost smell the dirt and water. Last fall, I planned to create this painting. I started it several weeks ago and then set it aside while I searched for the right yellow. I finally picked up some bright yellow, pastel that makes the trees shine.
My goal was to capture the crisp feeling of fall in Colorado as the trees blaze orange and yellow against the bright blue sky.