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.
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 2. Developing the tree and foreground.
Day 3. 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.)