|Ebb Tide at Devereaux, oil on canvas, 8X10|
I have just finished teaching my Santa Barbara workshop, four days with perfect weather, beautiful scenery and very apt pupils. They worked very hard, and took my suggestions with patience and good cheer - they also turned out some rather nice paintings!
This is a demo piece from the final day of the workshop. I consider myself ever a student, and I may actually be learning to take my own advice. Sometimes in the heat of a demo, it is easy to forget. I learn so much when I teach.
Here are the principles I shared with my students, and that seem to work for me when painting outdoors:
1. Begin by blocking in large tonal patterns to establish your design - a painting without a sound design is no painting at all.
2.Endeavor to get your painting done in and hour and a half, start to finish - don't end up chasing the light or the tide; if you do, you will never get finished. Working smaller instead of larger helps.
3.Paint first what is going to change first - in this case it was the water as this was a tidal slough.
4. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing - ask yourself what is engaging you, and plan your painting around that one thing, keeping it dominant. In the painting above, it was the eucalyptus tree.
5. Work big shapes to small shapes - don't get caught in detail. You will run out of time and miss what is most important.
6. Don't take yourself or your painting too seriously - they will not all turn out. This is practice; if you get a keeper, it's a bonus. If not, wipe it out and start a new painting!
7. Be curious, and above all HAVE FUN. It's just a canvas and paint, nothing worth getting your knickers in a knot.
I have another few weeks here in Santa Barbara, and am looking forward to lots of beautiful painting days; this is definately a painter's paradise. I shall post the new painting as they are created - and for my Canadian friends, I shall soak up some sunshine on your behalf.