Monday, March 31, 2008

March Madness and SketchCrawl 18

March was a pretty busy month for me. It started out with the Gerald Brommer watercolor workshop in Myrtle Beach (see below for workshop paintings). I came home to my street blocked by a fallen tree and no electricity, heat, internet, or phone. It took 10 days before everything was restored to normal.
My newest grandson was born in March - Louis Joseph - a bouncing 9 pound 10 ouncer, and my 10th grandchild.
I celebrated my 63rd birthday on the 28th.
And I finished the month by participating in SketchCrawl 18. This was my second SketchCrawl. My sister Joan and I started at the Fort Lee Historic Park and our first sketch was the George Washington Bridge. I couldn't believe how close we were to the bridge. It seemed to be right in our laps as we sat and sketched. We did a few other sketches in the park, one of them a sketch of a gentleman who was dressed in period costume in front of a soldier's hut sewing a pair of "britches". While I sketched he told us a lot about the living conditions of soldiers in Revolutionary War times. On the way home, we stopped at the Celery Farm in Allendale where I did a watercolor pencil sketch of the marsh from one of the observation platforms set up for bird watchers.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gerald Brommer Workshop Day 5

Day 5, the last day of our workshop. We were ending early on Friday, so we only had time for one painting. This time the exercise was in IMAGING. The object of the lesson was to work without reference material, and to "image" a painting from memory. Again, we were to make thumbnails of a subject, choosing several elements that we wanted to include. At first I didn't think I could do a landscape without a reference, but decided that if I could, it would probably have to be of Maine, because I can probably paint Maine in my sleep. So I decided on a lighthouse, rocks, the sea, and beach roses - all things I have painted enough times that I should be able to "see" them in my mind. After 5 thumbnails, I chose this vertical view.

On Friday evening, we had Gallery Night. The rooms were cleaned up and everyone had several paintings matted and hung. We dressed up, and enjoyed wine, hors douvres and piano music as we viewed the paintings of our class as well as the other classes that were there that week.

It was a great workshop, and I was very sorry to see it end. I learned a lot and hope to incorporate the things I learned into my future landscapes.

Gerald Brommer Workshop Day 4

On Day 4 Jerry did a demo on fog, and he pinned up several other paintings depicting interesting weather, times of day, or seasons, explaining that each of these were another way to show CONTENT. I chose to depict fog and rain, which, in hindsight, look quite a bit alike except for the slight streaks on the "rain" painting. It was a challenge to keep the colors muted and pale in the distance, and darker and slightly more colorful but still somewhat grayed in the foreground. I decided to go back to my white house reference for this exercise.

Gerald Brommer Workshop Day 3

It's day three and Jerry had a new challenge for us. He handed out a printed sheet of adjectives that described MOOD. We were to choose three adjectives for each of two paintings - again using the same reference. This time I had a simple house framed by two trees. My adjectives for the first painting were PEACEFUL, QUIET, COZY, and for the second SNOWY, ISOLATED, BLEAK. As you can see, I tried to make them as different as possible. They don't even look like the same subject, but if you look at the second one, you can see the same house way off in the distance, framed by the two trees. We wrote our "mood adjectives" on the back of the paintings so that Jerry could try to guess what we were trying to say. I really enjoyed this exercise.

Gerald Brommer Workshop Day 2

On Day 2 we were able to use our own reference photos. But there was a catch! We were to choose a few elements from our photo - white house, rocks, pine trees, lupines, sea and rearrange them in several thumbnail sketches, then choose 2 of our sketches to make paintings. This would be our routine each day - to do two different paintings from the same reference/references. I enjoyed doing this one, using a photo that I had taken in Maine a few years back. Great minds think alike, because my sis ended up chosing the same sketch as I did of the barn on Day 1, and her day 2 paintings also had Maine, and lupines as subjects. You can see Joan's workshop paintings at

Gerald Brommer Workshop Day 1

Last week I took a watercolor workshop in Myrtle Beach with Gerald Brommer. My sister Joan and I took this workshop together. The emphasis of the workshop was on CONTENT.

We started day 1 out by looking at slides of landscapes, and we had approximately 5 minutes to do a sketch of each one. You could hear the groans as the class tried furiously to sketch each one. Then we were assigned to take one sketch and do two paintings from it, one high key and one low key. I chose this barn because it seemed to be the least complicated, and therefore, the easiest to translate from my far from adequate sketch into a painting. I wasn't really crazy about the high key version, since I really like color, but I was pleasantly surprised at the low key one.

Here are the results from Day 1.