Saturday, 23 July 2016

Painting Belgrade, Serbia

In a few days there will be an exhibition of paintings in the Beograd Project artists residency here in Belgrade. The paintings are to record en Plein Air, the streets of the city. It's a beautiful place with a dramatic history. The underlining quality of the art, sculpture and architecture scattered around the parks are a pleasure to experience.

It's many streets and small parks are in the process of transformation with the arrival of dramatic new architectural developments. Who knows if they will still be here in years to come.

For this demonstration I began a painting at about midday. Knowing that the light would very soon change I focused on the main abstract shapes which would soon be exposed by the changing suns position. The house was in shadow when I started but I knew it would soon be lit. With that in mind I painted out the general forms first and prepared to work from dark to light.

Here's a step by step of the process.

This is the scene before the sun had moved.
It's simplified forms are actually an advantage and within an hour it had changed dramatically as more light fell upon the building and trees.

My first order of business was to sketch in the large masses on my canvas.

Then to separate out some of the lights. I used a cool grey for the sky and a slightly lighter version for the path. Doing my best to avoid detail as much as possible.

I began blocking in the main shadow forms using burnt ochre, blue ultra and my favorite green.

The same color with a tint of red was used for the shadow on the building. I quickly began pulling out lights in the face of the house by sketching in lighter values around the shadow forms.

It's almost there now. At this point you can see the dramatic effect that adding a bright green to the painting has. It's strong shadow forms hold it together and it pops nicely. It's tempting to stop but an additional hour of painting lighter values on the building and greens in the foreground proves rewarding and none of the spontaneity is lost. I still haven't focused on any real details preferring to draw the lights out of the dark.

The final painting. Be sure to protect yourself by staying in a well shaded spot. Beautifully lit locations also tend to be very hot.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

October / Autumn Workshop update

The wheels have been turning in the search for a new painting location for this autumn in Tuscany and the dates for the Autumn Plein Air Workshop are: October 2nd - 9th.
Further details can be found here.

The 2016 Spring Villa was very beautiful. A great location in the hills overlooking Florence. It was so perfectly orientated for painting with wonderful landscapes all around and spring blossom, fresh herbs and even wild deer wandering in the fields of olives. Everyone had a great time and it was great to make new interesting friends.

A big thank you to everyone who came together for the workshops / paintout.
I say paintout because the workshop is optional and people are welcome to take part in the demonstrations or not, as they please.

There were lots of interesting conversations in the evenings by the big fire with a glass of wine and stories of art and other things..
Nature provided such beautiful local amenities and the location was so interesting that I determined to find something equally interesting in nearby for Autumn. It's easy to imagine how beautiful this will be when the colors change.

Especially now as the territory is now so familiar, new possibilities can be explored.

Because the owners of the Spring villa were finding their feet in terms of looking after guests, some firefighting / problem solving was going on in the background to keep the wheels turning and it was distracting but like all good magic tricks, no one noticed.

So the hunt was began for a better location and one was found. A new and amazing house with gardens in a 13th century Domican building which has been lovingly renovated and restored. It's going to be a lot more fun and the rooms are very beautiful in a moody, autumnal way. There's a lot of painting space and in the evenings, the owners organize small local events.

The architecture is an odd combination of lavish culture and monastic simplicity. It's reminiscent of Hogwarts School of Magical Arts and overlooks Florence which is a short taxi ride away for anyone who gets the urge. Not that I suspect they will.

The interior of the church which will also be our workshop and conference room.

A view towards the deconsecrated altar which serves as a projector screen for workshops.

One of the many dining areas.

The Gardens.

Here's a short film in Italian on the history of the ancient hospital. It's located in the region of Bagno Ripoli, very close to the painting location of the 2016 Spring workshops, so I know the region quiet well.

There will be an update to the website when I have confirmation on all the details.