June 3, 2018

Changing it Up

"Outflow"  oil on board, 10X8"

I wanted to share this quick study with you because it illustrates so well something that I have been working with
lately; painting on a dark surface.  This board was primed with acrylic paint - a very dark, transparent brown.  I know it looks black in the photo, but it isn't. 

You can see how much of the board remains unpainted, which can make for good success in paintings that have a lot of dark values.  The darks are already there, so all that is required is to "carve" into them with middle and light values.  I am having a lot of fun with this approach lately, and have been using it in the studio and in the field.  I could go ahead and paint into these darks, but I think the design is stronger without and further value changes.

It's always good to try new things.  When you are watching a demo or attending a workshop, try what is being demonstrated rather than staying in your comfort zone.  The only good thing that can be said about the comfort zone is that it is, well.....comfortable.  Nothing can be discovered from there, and it is a place where ambivalence, boredom and unrealized potential abound.  I don't dig it much.

 Be bold!  Be willing to "sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment" (eastern saying, not sure from where, but it has become my mantra).  

And above all, have some fun, will ya?  It's just a canvas.  I understand there are lots more at the art store.


PS - check out my upcoming Croatia tour and also my summer plein air workshop.  I still have room for a few more.  Go here for more info: http://www.gayeadams.com/workshops/

April 28, 2018

Croatia 2018 - and other Painting Adventures....

Swimming in the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik,
nice and warm in September!

A view from atop the walls of Dubrovnik

One of our painting locations,  Fort Lovrojenac
(one of the filming locations for Game of Thrones)

The thing I absolutely LOVE about plein air painting is the excuse to go to amazingly beautiful locations, and then explore them by finding amazing subjects and then expressing them in paint.  Standing still in one spot allows you to paint an experience.  For me it's a visual journal that transports me back to the day I painted, and I recall the little things.  The smell of the air, the sights, sounds - even the cold beer at the end of the day with fellow painters- it all comes flooding back.  I revel in these experiences.

I have included a number of photos of various locations on my upcoming Croatia tour in order to tantalize you - it truly is a wonderful experience, and I have gotten to know some great painting locations in the area through the years.  The class size is small, the cost very reasonable, and I think it is a really great value.  Non - painting partners or spouses are most welcome on this tour.  There is lots for everyone to do.  For details on the Croatia trip, go here: http://www.slikamilina.ca/gaye-adams-workshops/

If you are new to the plein air experience, I have a new workshop offering this summer, called "Introduction to Plein Air", to be held in July.  I will have it on my site soon.  It will be held in the earlier part of July in the Langley area, and details will be available very soon.  It is a good primer for the Croatia trip.  I also have a plein air workshop offered in July for those of you who have done it before.  For details on these local workshops, click here: http://gayeadams.com/workshops/

I hope you will come out and have some adventures with me this summer and fall.  You'll work hard, and you will also create some wonderful memories.   I suspect some pretty decent paintings will come out of the experience as well. :)

Contact me with any questions:  gayemadams@gmail.com.  The rains are ending, so let the painting begin!!!!


March 7, 2018

Edit Down - Waaaaaay Down.

6x8" plein air study, Leadbetter Beach, February 2018

This is a plein air study that I recently did on my trip to SoCal.  As many of you know, I do a yearly painting junket to Santa Barbara, and this piece was painted at the end of the day, and is only 6X8".  It was a busy day at the beach, yoga practioners were doing their thing, as were surfers, dog walkers, sand castle builders, etc.  The view I had started to paint facing the opposite direction was the more obvious painting subject, beautiful sunlit cliffs up against the sea.   I spent most of the morning on the first painting, but this quick study turned out better by far.  Ironically,  I  had not even considered painting this direction when I first arrived on location.

 I did not have a clear idea how to tackle this subject,  so I started with the big decisions- the division of space on my canvas.  Next, I laid in the basic values and colors, which I completed in about 15 to twenty minutes, isolating and checking I had the big relationships down with accuracy.   Lastly, the small shapes, the "grace notes" to add some interest and scale and to direct the eye. I pushed in  a few palm trees that were actually just outside my view, to add a horizontal dark to anchor the composition, and it worked.  I do love to exercise artistic license.  It makes all sorts of things possible.

I love these small studies because they either go very right or very wrong in a big hurry.  The small format forces you to pay attention to only the important elements, there is no getting lost in minutiae.  Oil paint is too thick to make teensy weensy exacting shapes - unless you want to make yourself a little crazy.  Far easier to keep it simple and save yourself the aggravation in my opinion.

Less is always more.

In closing, I have a few things I want to share with you:  I am in the West Fine Art Show coming up this weekend.  Here is the basic info in case you are in the area and want to show up and say hello (I would love to see you!)

Location:  Yorkson Middle School, 20686-84 Ave, Langley
Dates:  March 10 and 11, 10:00 till 5:00

Also, I have  ONLY THREE MORE SPOTS  in my upcoming atelier workshop.  Go to the link below for info on that workshop, or any of the others that are coming up, including my July plein air workshop.

My September tour to Croatia is filling nicely, still room for a few more there.  For info on the trip go here: http://www.slikamilina.ca/gaye-adams-workshops/ and also check out the link above.

Happy painting everyone!!!!

February 2, 2018

Doing Your Own Thing

Alpen Glow, 24X30", oil on canvas

Today I have posted an image that you may have already seen if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook.  I thought about painting this image for about a decade before it actually got birthed, and when I set brush to canvas, it almost painted itself.

Why did it take me so long to get to it?  Well, I wasn't sure I knew how to do the subject matter justice.  I used a photo reference from the Lake Ohara area that I had taken over a decade ago, but lacked the confidence to tackle.  By the time I did get to painting it, I had more tools in my belt as an oil painter.  I had become better at manipulating the paint, allowing me to handle the diversity of edges and nuance of color I needed in order to do this piece justice. 

So often as artists, our vision exceeds our grasp.  We don't even know what we don't know.  Given enough time and practice, the solutions do eventually appear, but it is a long learning curve.

So, if you have a painting (or two or three or four even) that you are wanting some input or feedback on, I have an offering for you:  this April I am starting a studio class that is geared at helping painters work on pieces that they are not sure how to tackle or resolve, in a friendly, informal, and intimate setting.  Over ten weeks, students will attend eight classes (I will be holding all ten classes so that students can miss one or two and still make all eight classes that they have paid for).  The idea is to mentor students individually on their own projects to lend suggestions and guidance that will shorten the learning curve while students work on subject matter and in a format that most appeals to them.   Lord knows I don't have all the answers, but I guarantee I'll have some ideas for you to consider.

 In addition, I will  do some demo work by bringing to class what I currently have on my studio easel.  I'll show you mine and you can show me yours....

The class is suitable for all skill levels and all mediums, so go to my site for the details: www.gayeadams.com  and look under workshops.  Classes will be held Thursday afternoons from 1:30 till 4:30 in Fort Langley and the cost will be $425 for eight sessions.  The class will be capped at 12.  Our location is a lovely bright room right on the river front.

Let me know if you are interested by emailing me:   gayemadams@gmail.com.

I am preparing for my annual Santa Barbara getaway, and shall post next from there.  Looking forward to escaping the rain and painting on some beaches...such a rough life.

Until then, happy painting!


October 13, 2017

If You Would Just Hold Still!

"Temperate Paradise" !2X9" oil on mounted canvas

I have had a wonderful summer of painting outdoors - from ocean islands to golden aspen covered hills, hidden creeks and white sand beaches.  What a grand adventure.

I wanted to show you this recent plein air study from my trip up into the Great Bear Rainforest in July.
Shorelines, wet sand, moving water....these are things I am endeavouring to learn to paint well en plein air, and they
are difficult because they are always moving.   It is both daunting and delicious.

Not long ago, I had a student in a plein air class taking pictures of the landscape with her Ipad and then, standing at her easel,  she disregarded the landscape before her and started painting from the image on her Ipad.  When I questioned her on her choice, she said she was doing it this way because "It is so much easier".  Well, I couldn't argue with that logic.

What she was missing was the experience of being in the place.  She was painting a moment frozen in time rather than the living, breathing, moving thing before her.   "You need to learn to embrace the technology" she commented after I  had questioned her.   Of course, I was thinking the opposite - "you need to let go of the technology and just be right here, right now".

I find it hard often to part with these studies ( of course I do, as making sales is making a living)  because they are a journal, a diary, a record of an experience.  When I view them, I remember everything about the day... who I was with, the sounds of the seabirds and ocean, the sunburn on my sandaled feet, the scents floating on the air.  I even remember what specifically I struggled with on the canvas, as well as where I triumphed.    It transports me, and if I do an especially good job I have the opportunity to perhaps transport the viewer as well, to a place they have been, and we share the experience together.

Plein air season in Canada is drawing to a close, but I have soaked up the summer, and feel expanded, full, satisfied.  In returning to studio painting for the winter, all of these studies will serve to inform my larger works.  There are also surprises in how my skill sets have increased after all the painting from life.   I embrace the technology to share these experiences with you, fellow painters!

Before I sign off, I wanted to let you all know that I will be conducting a studio class where students will work on their own pieces at their own pace with personalized coaching from me.  Here is the info:

Title:  Studio Thursdays
Location:  Gallery 204, Langley BC
Dates:  November 2,9,16,23,30 and Dec 7
Price: $350 
Time: Thursday afternoons from 12:00 noon till 4 pm

Please email me if you are interested at gayemadams@gmail.com.