John Taft Plein Air Workshop Real Time

| May 31, 2009

I hope I actually get some painting done! I am a hopeless web and techo-junkie that loves to try new technologies and gadgets. I discovered tonight that I can email photos directly to one of my albums in Google Picasa. Equipped with my nifty iPhone, I plan to shoot a few photos during the week of the happenings at the John Taft Plein Air Workshop. The new photos will automatically appear in the slide show as I email them to the album. Is that sweet or what? Well I think so anyway!

DAY 1: OK, painting outdoors is tough! We had two outdoor sessions today. The first session was to loosen up with no instruction, and the second was to do a value study of the landscape. We had about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete each of them with lecture in between. Considering that I usually spend six hours or so in the studio on an 8×10 painting, needless to say I was a little out of my element! Good experience though and I am sure that when we are done, I won’t be as reluctant to gather my gear an head outside to paint. Time to hit the sack. It all starts again tomorrow at 8:15am. By the way, John is working on a killer ginormous painting in the studio. I am a big fan of his landscapes and am looking forward to seeing the finished piece.

DAY 2: When I left this morning, it was raining cats and dogs. Since we could not go out and paint in the rain, we had a lecture on color and then an exercise on mixing color. After lunch we were able to go out for a while, although lighting was really flat and we had to battle the elements from time-to-time – a true plein air experience! I thought I had the basics down on mixing color until today. John had a very interesting approach to thinking about color and how to build a palette. He discussed the limitations of only using tube primaries for mixing all colors and how you can extend the variety and intensity of color by adding additional tube colors to your palette. I feel that I will be able to mix purer colors as a result of the exercise and I have have a much better understanding of the multiple dimensions of color. I will address his approach in a full post later. Time for dinner and a few touch ups on my battered piece that I worked on outside today. Hoping for better conditions tomorrow!

DAY 3: Whew! It’s 9:40pm already and it all starts again tomorrow. I had to drive home through the lovely Boulder/Denver traffic tonight so I could pack for my work trip to Asia on Saturday. I will be up at 5:30am to make the drive again tomorrow to Longmont. We had a good day today. John took us to a great spot to paint near Longmont after a lecture on composition. John gave a plein air demo that was very helpful after we arrived on site. Seeing a professional artist’s process definitely helped me get my bearings for outdoor painting and I feel that I made progress on my own painting today as a result. I was much more deliberate with my composition, my colors were more accurate, and I felt more confident as I painted. I still have a long way to go but I like the idea that I am moving forward. The rest of the folks in the workshop are really nice and I have enjoyed painting with them. The weather was still a little gloomy today but better than yesterday so we are all looking forward to sun tomorrow and painting something other than silver skies!

Day 4: Today was a great day. Although the morning was overcast, the sun came out before lunch just in time for plein air painting. We all went to a place called Sandstone Ranch in Longmont. It is an awesome place to paint due to it’s diversity of subject matter. There are ponds, barns, trees galore, a meandering stream and sandstone formations! We were all able to spread out over a wide area so all of our paintings will look different. We have decided to go back tomorrow to paint a different subject. After painting we went out to dinner at the Pump House to wind down. Sorry for the short post but I am blogging from the iPhone so it is not so convenient to type. I will have a final post on the workshop tomorrow and then I will be off to Tokyo and Beijing on Saturday.

Day 5: Finally home and packing for tomorrow. We went back out to Sandstone today and had much better light. We wrapped up about 1:15pm and headed back over to John’s studio for a final critique. I plan to post my paintings after my return from Asia and share a few nuggets of wisdom from the workshop. Overall a great experience and I feel that I now have a better foundation to move forward with my painting. Big thanks to John Taft for an excellent workshop. It was a pleasure to meet such a wonderfully talented painter and a very nice person indeed.

Category: Fine Art and Painting

Comments (7)

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  1. Chris Wray says:

    I hope the weather is cooperative for your plein air sojourn. I know you’ll make most of it regardless. Brooding skies might make for some interesting compositions. Have fun!

  2. Randy Saffle says:

    Welcome to Plein air! My legs are all bitten up, I have a great farmers tan, My feet hurt standing all day and last Sunday I completely forgot to eat until dark, BUT it is so much fun. Can’t wait to see your progress.

  3. Lee says:

    No pain no gain I guess! Thanks for the visit. I will plan to catch up on posts after my bsuiness trip next week.

  4. Lee says:

    Weather has been challenging but creates a more authentic experience! At least that is what I keep telling myself. Having fun though!

  5. Ric says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve been painting and hearing about the whole experience…guess we’ll have to wait until you’re back from your Asia trip, though. Safe travels, my friend!

  6. Lee says:

    Thanks Ric. We will definitely need to catch up when I get back!

  7. Tracy Brech says:

    Looks like you had a great time and that it was a good experience. Have a great time in Asia with Matt and I’ll be thinking of you guys. Love you!