Friday, February 1, 2013

A Lesson in Painting

Kath Schifano painting flowers from Bobbie
The first of several deliveries here last week was a paper wrapped bunch orchids...just what I needed! My sister, Bobbie Peters had sent them, she knew I would arrange the flowers and probably use them for a painting. I had been to florists twice in the past looking for this particular flower so I was especially pleased.

I had already signed up for an artist workshop with Thomas Kegler a week after they arrived and one of the items on the supply list was objects for a still life. I grabbed some tomatoes, peppers, oranges, ribbons, small boxes to stack under the drapery and half the original bouquet to head to East Aurora and the Roycroft campus on a frigid Saturday. Three years earlier I had made a '5 year plan' of personal goals and attending an art workshop was on the list. Check! His Hudson River painters traditional style attracted me, particularly the way his surfaces are developed with glazing. Although using the Hudson River painters techniques are not on my short list, my experiences painting at historic locations in the Adirondacks these past two years have piqued my interest.

Tom's friendly attitude and open sharing of technique made the 8 hour class valuable to me, as a self taught oil painter I have read articles and books and painted next to many painters, but this was a challenge to actually follow someone else's instructions. Using odorless mineral spirits for an underpainting was the first big change, my mind kept going back to his demonstration and trying to follow his different approach to working on a canvas. Having already finished my 'first thousand paintings' it took effort to adjust what I already do, but I was able to experience painting in a new way for the day and had a lot of fun in the process. Overall, the biggest thing I learned is not in this picture yet. Final glazing with thin color adds warmth to the picture and brings out some texture in the brush strokes. When I do that I am going to try it first on another picture that was waiting for a finish, then come back to this one.

Although I have painted still life pictures and flowers in a vase before, this will always remain special to me, my sister sent the flowers and they are in memory of Martha.

Roycroft Still Life, 20x10 oil on wood panel 2013