Camille, and her husband Dale Axelrod (also a very accomplished professional painter who studied for years with Hensche at the Cape Cod School), did a great job of reminding us that these little block studies were preparing us to paint the landscape. By the second day, all our previous ways of seeing and representing things had been shaken up, but we didn't yet grasp the new ways, so there was quite a bit of frustration and confusion. Camille (very wisely) insisted that we continue with the first stage, seeing and representing the big, main color notes. I didn't photograph her demo that day, but here are some charts which show the progression through the stages of representation and refinement. The top two illustrations show the stage that we were practicing, statement of the big, main color notes.
At the end of this post, there are some examples of more developed studies by Camille and Dale. For now, we were just trying to see the main color notes, disregarding reflected light and variations within the main color notes. Today we had blocks and round objects, to encourage us to find the pattern of light and shadow regardless of the presence or absence of planes, relating the color notes and light keys correctly. Shadow inside an object is invariably a different color than shadow on the outside of that object, even though it is the same local color. And while yesterday I was still trying to create more of a still life than a study, today I focused on the specific color notes and light keys, without worrying about creating a completed painting:
There is white canvas left between the color notes; they are not brought together until later, so that adjustments can be made more easily in the early stages.
Below is a more developed demo painting by Camille, showing the subtle shifts within the main color notes of shadow and light, especially notable inside and outside the pot:
To see how Dale Axlerod applies this colorist approach to still life, take a look at the beautiful work on his website.
Our focus in this workshop is landscape, learning to see most anything as a series of blocks or other shapes in light and shadow. Tomorrow, we get to apply what we've learned to houses, trees, fields and distant mountains.