Here's a monochromatic sketch I did last night. It is oil on linen, about 13x16. It used some good ole' Winsor and Newton burnt sienna with a small amount of winsor green (or veridian) to tone down the background underpainting. I really enjoy doing these kind of monochrome studies. It really helps me free up my brushwork and allows me to focus on pure drawing with a brush. They tend to be pretty quick as well, which is an added bonus.
A feature in the Informed Collector newsletter, showcasing my painting, "The Cellist", which will be on display in the upcoming OPA Eastern Regional Exhibit at Walls Fine Art Gallery. Click this link to see the newsletter feature - Informed Collector Recommends: Taaron Parsons.
If you plan on being near Wilmington, NC, stop by the gallery for a great exhibit. Should be a really good show.
Sunday was the final day of the Weekend With the Masters event. And what a great finish it was. I had the opportunity to attend the entire morning session in which I watched with awe and amazement as Nancy Guzik painted a still life. I would have to agree with Kristen Thies of West Wind Fine Art that Nancy is perhaps one of the most prolific and accomplished painters of our time. She paints with with keen deliberation, and refreshing joy and excitement. Her teaching methods follow the same approach. She had a knack for articulating her thought processes as she paints, which is extremely helpful to an artist. Throughout the demo, I never wondered why she made the decisions that she made because it was always abundantly clear. Below are some photos of her work that morning.
Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was the opportunity that my friend Ryan Mellody and I had to spend time receiving critiques from Richard Schmid. His patriarchal artistic wisdom was profoundly simple, just like his centerpiece book Alla Prima, Everything I Know About Painting. I am grateful that he has taken the time to give of what he knows. This and all the other experiences from the Weekend will be ones that will remain ingrained within me. I will do my best to allow it to shape my art as it continues to unfold. I suspect that if I am blessed to one day meet my grandchildren, the Weekend With the Masters will be among my favorite stories to tell them.
Thank you to all of the artists and American Artist staff for making this possible.
Have i mentioned that i'm tired? Operationally, things have settled down into a groove and have begun to come down out of the atmosphere a bit. So, with a deep sigh of relief, I was able to participate much more in the day's events. At the start of the morning sessions, i payed a short visit to Morgan Weistling's workshop on the head study from life. I was really impressed with his teaching as well as with the quality i saw in many of the artists who were participating in that session. I hope i have the opportunity to see more if his workshops tomorrow. Then, after providing some lighting and setup help to Carolyn Anderson, I spent the rest of the morning session sitting in on Dan Gerhartz portrait demo. I really appreciate the passion and ferver with which he paints and teaches. It is truly inspiring. He always maintains such a positive and uplifting attitude.
For the afternoon session, i remained with Dan to continue into a portrait workshop; this time, i was blessed with the opportunity to actually participate. I learned SO much. I learned not to create unrealistically high expectations for myself. I learned not to let my nerves get the best of me and throw off my focus. I learned to stretch myself by painting masses before details. I learned all of this by failing at every single one of them. Which brings me to my last and most important lesson of the day, which Dan so firmly, kindly, and lovingly reminded me of: Failure is an opportunity to learn. And in the arts, perhaps at times, more than success. Don't allow failure to usher in discouragement. Discouragement is not constructive and you do not want to go there. Thank you Dan for your wonderful encouragement and teaching!!! You are truly a blessing.
Despite her extremely busy schedule, Nancy Guzik was kind enough to provide a critique of the painting i did yesterday, mentioned in the "part 2" post. Thank you Nancy! I am so very grateful for that. Here's the still life from day 2; working time - about an hour and a half:
Signing off for now to get some much needed sleep. Another big day tomorrow. Thank you Lord.
The week moves on and continues to not disappoint. We arrived early in the morning to begin setup for all the different artists, each with their own individual preferences, needs, and tastes. This was no small feat, believe me. But the hard work paid off and we had a fantastic day full of workshops and demonstrations.
I had the privilege of meeting Morgan Weistling this morning as I made my rounds, helping the presenting artists set up their space. He was extremely kind and gracious and, of course, extremely gifted. His work was even more amazing in person than i ever imagined. In just a couple hours or less, he wielded his brush to create an awe inspiring portrait from life, all while under the pressure of a group demo, poor lighting conditions, and narrow time constraints. It was incredible to see.
Being here has allowed me the wonderful and rare opportunity to meet so many artists at the forefront of today's resurgence of the representational art movement. I was able to meet and sit in on workshops from Jeremy Lipking, Dan Gerhartz, Nancy Guzik, CW Mundy, Morgan Weistling... just today! It is all i can do to just soak as much up as i possibly can. I'm honored.
Though i enjoyed all of the sessions today, i particularly loved watching Nancy Guzik work. She is one of the most warm and friendly people i've ever met and it shows in the way she works. She paints with a grace and delicacy that clearly separates her work from other artists...and she has FUN doing it! What an idea! I like that she makes her art in such a way that makes it very approachable.
What readily stood out to me as i watched Dan Gerhartz work was his ability to NAIL color in a matter of seconds. He displays such a strong confidence in color that i hope to rise up to some day. I has been a joy to meet and talk with him over these couple days.
I had a chance to see some of CW Mundy's demo. That was pure insanity. And i mean that in the best possible way. His working methods are what some would consider to be extremely unconventional for a representational painter - even to the point that as he paints, i wonder how in the world he's going to pull it off - then almost momentarily he turns it around bringing it to a great finish with very interesting and engaging visual appeal. I blows me away to see him work.
Watching Jeremy Lipking was inspiring. His drawing method was an interesting challenge to my usual method. He had most of the upper half of the head to a semi state of finish before he ever had a jaw line defined or a mouth drawn out. He painted carefully and methodically, analyzing and planning; then quickly it was as if the portrait just fell into place with each touch of the brush.
The evening was topped off with an entertaining and enlightening "portrait duel" with Dan Gerhartz and Scott Burdick as they painted a portrait of fellow artist Michelle Dunaway. They were able to share so much wisdom as they painted, both ending up with great portraits of Michelle.
With two days of constantly soaking it all in, it was nice to have a short break today to go out and paint! I was able to set up a still life and get in a quick painting sketch. I'll post pictures of it soon.
Well, that's it for tonight. I am once again extremely tired, and 5:45 am rolls around all too quickly.