Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Workshop in My Studio

Last summer I was contacted by several people in the Chinese/American community in Tampa, asking if I could do a painting workshop for some visiting Chinese people who wanted to experience things in our country, and they were keen to try out painting. I agreed without question, and during the summer I held 3 sessions in my studio for four visitors from China. Robert Chen was their driver and interpreter because only one of them spoke English, and we had to figure out how to explain art terms. During that workshop I had them paint small studies in oil paint from little still life set-ups that I gave them. (Robert Chen is the man in the dark red shirt).

Then last fall Robert contacted me again with another proposal for a painting workshop, and slowly it evolved that I would do it in my studio for about 8 people. Today it was actually 5 painters and one onlooker, but it was a great day and the photographs below show how much fun everyone had. I had decided to do a modified "paint by numbers" session and prepared the paintings in advance, setting up a painting panel and an unstretched canvas. I made them all 11x14 so a frame could be easily obtained. I decided to do acrylic paint rather than oil to help in transportation. The oil paintings didn't dry for days last summer!

Last fall I was at Selby Gardens in Sarasota, and found a Dover Publication of a coloring book of Pierre Redoute's botanical flower paintings in their gift shop. These paintings are so elegant! Redoute was affiliated with the court of Marie Antoinette and other monarchs of France. The coloring book had small thumbnail images of the colored painting, and I could blow up the line drawings to make them bigger. I selected about 8 drawings from the coloring book, and transferred them to my panels and canvas and gave each painter a small blow-up of the colored painting to follow. 

In the beginning of the workshop I had all the tubes of paint laid out and showed them how to put dabs of paint on the palettes and did a very brief demonstration of how to mix colors. Then they were on their own, taking my pencil images and filling it in with colors. None of these people had painted before! Amazing...they all had a great time and went home with a nice painting. We will be doing this workshop again week after next, so I hope to have more photos to show.

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