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Monday, 8 September 2014

I'd Do That Again.

Wow.  I did it.  I took a two day workshop.  That's a first!  I did En Plein Air out at Wanuskewin Heritage Park with Bobbi Clackson-Walker.  It was a beautiful setting, and a beautiful weekend.

They group of artists were all fantastic - I loved 'show and tell' and the end of each day.  I worked in Soft Pasted (I don't actually own paints).  Others did Watercolour, Acrylic (brush, pallet knife), and Ink Sketching as well.  It was a real challenge for me to not take photos, and even more of a challenge to not bother with details when doing en plain air.  We were directed to capture lights, darks, shapes... the basic information from the subject matter.  I walked and walked until I found this bare little tree in the ravine.  This is where I stopped and took out all the pastels.

I worked for about an hour on this.  I know... still too much much information, though I really enjoyed working on it.  Once I sprayed it with fixative, the bright yellow mustard and white highlights just faded away.  Super disappointing.  Under the right light, this piece still just glows.

I really wanted to work on sky, but it was clear and blue all weekend.  A few clouds formed one afternoon but they were still so far away.

At least that landscape was simpler - lights, darks, shapes...  On day two, I went straight up onto a hill up the other side of the valley.  It was early, and the sun was shining through the leaves that were beginning to change.  This is the view of the buffallo jump.  It was in deep shade with the morning sun far to the left and behind it all.

I couldn't help but notice all the glowing colour right beside me, so I tried to capture the sunlit shrubs without focusing on detail.  There were thousands of little branches and millions of loonie-sized leaves twisting in the breeze.  They were all lit up.  It was so pretty.  I think I was able to convey the feeling here.

 That left me feeling pretty hopeful.  It's likely the most abstact thing I have ever done.  I sat on the hill enjoying the view, and the quiet.  The sun was warm, the breeze was cool.  It was just perfect.  I could see little dots of colour all around in the distant hills of the other artists set up with their easles in the hillside.  Down the trail from me was a woman working on oil pastels I believe.

So I thought - what the heck?  Lots of light and shadow.  She's holding pretty still.  And I grabbed my ink pen and quickly sketched her out before heading back for lunch.

I really enjoy sketching.  I don't do it very much at all, but I really am pleasntly surprised every time I do one.  (haha - look.  The back of her left heel is missing!)

After lunch, clouds started up on the horizon.  WOO HOO!!!  I was pretty excited.  I don't love this next scene but it has a funny story.  (There are fence posts and trees missing.  I got carried away and forgot to finish.)

Another artist walked past and commented on the clouds.  I was so excited.  "Look at the beautiful purple out there!!  That whole layer is purple!"  And then I took off my sunglasses.

Oh crap.

There was no purple.  It was my tinted shades throwing me off!  lol  OH well.  She laughed and said, go for it!  So I did a bit more of the land and left it alone to do a few more from the same spot, but looking in other directions.  Here are some more of the cliffs and the clouds.

 I'm still trying to keep it simple.  Shapes, colours, lights and darks...

That last one was kind of boring.  I was looking for colours and light, and forgot about composition. 

It was hot out.  I was tired of looking at the same things for two days.  Maybe I should sketch some more people?  I felt like I was approaching that creative wall... and then I had an 'ah-ha' moment. 

I was really digging the soft pastel's square-tipped applicator brushes.  So, I let go of everything and did one final scene from the view right in front of me.  I focused ONLY on light, dark, and colours... and added that cool purple sky.  There's blonde lit grasses on the horizon, and deep rusts in some of the brush... green grass, and look!

Monika made abstract art, and it's on purpose, and she likes it so very much.  And there's NO detail!?  Now THIS I could do more of.  There's something so happy and joyful about it for me.  It inspires some big fat chunky stitching too... lots of options! 

Thank you Bobbi for such a great workshop.  I think I grew a lot, and made some wonderful friends in the process.


Lin said...

Great pictures Monika but I love the last one! Lots of stitching there - do you know the work of Julia Caprara? Lots of beautiful hand stitch in blocks would be gorgeous. xx

craftykaren said...

I really loved this post. Your work always amazes me and it was really terrific to see how beautiful your work is in other mediums. Please keep sharing!

Patti said...

Your talent seems to span many mediums. So lovely. Glad you enjoyed the workshop!

Valerie Wilosn said...

Love your pastels! You have definitely caught the essence of the prairie. Great sketch too.

Threadpainter said...

Just Excellent !

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