We convened at Shollenberger Park (on the west side of Petaluma) on this VERY warm day, to paint scenes of the wetlands where Camille has produced a stunning series of paintings. She set up to paint the first demo:
and almost immediately, a family of swans showed up:
Dad, Mom, and six babies. Mom gave us the evil eye, but ultimately decided we were okay, so they spent the rest of the morning teaching the young ones how to forage.
Here's another shot of Camille's setup, showing more of the shore grass which figures prominently in her painting:
Typically, she starts with the most obvious color note, and then lays in the adjacent color notes, so that they relate properly. The Colorist approach is to see colors in relation, NOT in isolation, because it's not possible to relate them properly until they are next to each other on the canvas. That's why we mix and apply color, and then adjust it on the canvas as necessary. The spaces left between colors in the early stages make it easier to do that. That's also why we start with a white canvas instead of a toned support, so that the perception and relationship of the color notes won't be influenced by an undertone. Here, she has finished the initial color notes:
And here is the finished demo painting:
There was not enough room for all 20 of us to set up in the area where Camille had been, so I chose to paint a scene off to the right a ways (no photo of the scene, unfortunately). Here's my painting (which is currently for sale, as of 12/2010):
Shollenberger Slough, 10" X 8", oil on canvas panel, palette knife
Purchase this unframed painting for $135. (No Paypal account required.)
Again in this painting, I had gotten much too detailed and fussy with the foreground. Camille unified it with a few strokes of the palette knife, and then I added more shadow notes. Vast improvement. Each session, morning and afternoon, was three hours long. Camille would paint for about 1 1/2 hours, and we would have about the same length of time to paint. We were strongly encouraged not to get into detail, but rather to see the color relationships and light keys, and paint the light and shadow planes accurately.
The temperature continued to climb, and there was no breeze and almost no shade whatsoever out there. By the time Camille started this second demo at 1:30, it was 99 degrees and we were all standing in the sun on a broiling hot asphalt path which radiated more heat. But she persevered, and we all did too. Here's the demo:
With about an hour left in this session, we all spread out to find a spot to set up. Especially in this heat, my priority was to keep a very simple composition, and to really focus on seeing the color relationships. No details. I found a spot that I recognized from one of Camille's paintings (this one, done under very different lighting conditions). Here's my study:
The whole scene was in the light plane, except for the reeds and their shadow right at the base where they entered the water. The reflection and the whole surface of the water was in the light plane, and Camille pointed out the need to lighten and warm the reflection to keep that water surface in light, not shadow.