Daily warm up exercises – watercolour/gouache.
Today I will explain how I approach a workshop, but first let me say that David Clark, founder of the school, set a fine precedent of allowing tutors to ‘do their own thing’ – with the understanding that everything else would be taken care of. This allows for full creative flow.
Along with daily warm ups – (I have written a great deal on this subject) emphasis during this past workshop was on the use of sketchbooks and spontaneity.
The images in this post, were made by some of the participants .
In this image, Jayanthi has captured the energy and life of the Saturday market in Olhao.
We were a group of twelve…some with experience and others with none. I like it this way, as each participant brings something fresh and new to the mix.
The first day is all about the removal of obstacles…i.e. fear. We start on the same level as if none of us know anything….On a practical level each participant sets up a space of their own in the studio….allowing for flow rather than fragmentation.
Claire had never painted or sketched before…..she began with trepidation, however once the fear was removed….she flowed.
Observation, Observation, Observation………….key to my workshops. Emphasis is put on ‘seeing’ what is in front of us….rather than just looking. It’s like the difference between hearing and ‘listening’.
Vicki is a seasoned sketcher. Her sketchbook was filled with wonderful vignettes such as this.
By the end of the workshop, everyone was beginning to ‘see differently’. They began to automatically see the negative space surrounding the subject – along with noting the dramatic shadow play.
Fiona, who is a pastel painter, came with a view to loosening up….which is demonstrated in the next pencil sketch she made when sitting at a local cafe. She made this pastel painting in the alleyway behind the School.
Pencil sketch from Fiona’s sketchbook – which she then used as a ‘jumping off point’ for loose watercolours.
George came with an eye for detail. He wanted to loosen up and at the same time capture the essence of his subject with less information….This image illustrates how well he did this.
Many artists, both seasoned and novice, are very nervous about sketching in public.
Jane, who has done a lot of studio work, had never painted outside….During this course she broke through the fear and began to enjoy.
In this image, Alison has achieved what she set out to do, which was to be more spontaneous and loosen up. She has provided information without lots of unneccesary detail.
One of Clare’s goals was to observe and paint the olive tree at the School. During the course, she made many studies…which will be excellent information for further paintings.
It is important to note that only a tiny fraction of the work produced is shown here….everyone accomplished so much.
Because I am a believer in rhythms and flow.…the day is set up with this in mind.
Breakfast at 8.30 – served by Joanna. Then meeting up in one of the courtyards or studio for warm ups and demonstrations. Painting/sketching/observing ’til 1 p.m….when a beautiful lunch served by Margarida.
After lunch a two hour hiatus where participants may continue painting, have a siesta, explore the town, or whatever else floats the boat……and then a coming together again at 4 p.m for more demos…discussion about the day’s work and so on.
At 6.30 we break to shower and enjoy pre dinner drinks…and then a fantastic evening meal filled with good food and lively conversation…..
The weekend is different in that after sketching at the market we have lunch at David’s Bar in Olhao..(superb food) and dinner out at one of the many excellent restaurants.
Sunday is spent on the beautiful Island of Armona….with lunch courtesy Pam at Armona 4….and then again dinner in one of Olhao’s excellent restaurants.
In my next blog, I will talk more about the people who help to make this such a perfect environment for creativity….
Of course, I must finish with a magical hummingbird……speaking of which, I am off to The Magical Town of Crickadoon this weekend:)
Wishing one and all a lovely weekend and week ahead.