Monday, March 25, 2013

Clayton J. Beck, III Workshop Recap

I wish I had more time to write about this, but for now I'll have to give a quick recap.

This month I had the great privilege of attending my second Clayton J. Beck, III workshop. This time it was here in Dallas at the Society of Figurative Arts, and I helped organize it, hire the models, even pick Clayton up from the airport. :-) He probably got tired of me after a while, but I sure enjoyed the one-on-one time, picking his brain on all things art-related. :-)

Below are some pictures from the workshop, and my notes with some of the main points from his discourse that I found particularly helpful.

- Every brush stroke you lay down is a reflection of your thought process.
- Making the highlight on the upper eyelid too light will cause the model to look sleepy (ha!)
- Don't add a background to a figure - add the figure to the background.
- Don't constantly try to get the model back into the first sitting's pose, when they were in a different mindset.
- Everything is just as important as everything else.
- Establish from the beginning something that is absolutely correct, and use that as your "key" or "anchor."
- Don't have anything in your line of sight that disturbs the harmony.
- Leave some white on the canvas. If you take it all out, you'll never be able to put it back. Resist the urge to "fill in all the holes".
- Each time you look up at the model, gather specific information.
- A block-in = enough information to move to final painting. The block-in should be a success. Don't degrade it or take away the excitement. Adorn it.
- Ask yourself the right questions, in the right order.
Here's a big one: Don't get bored with your own paintings. Your work should show that you love painting. Love every square inch of your canvas. Each part of it should be a gift to the viewer.

Of course, probably very little of this makes sense to you unless you attend Clayton's workshop and watch him paint. It's truly amazing - and he is a fantastic teacher!

I didn't get photos of every demo, but here are pictures from his first demonstration. For a classical realist, this method probably looks like chaos, but Clayton put every brush stroke down with complete intention and clarity of thought. It was fascinating to watch.

The first three days of the workshop were portrait-focused. We had a different model every day, and attempted to complete two or more paintings each day, with a specific goal for each piece (OTHER than "making a pretty picture").

Here are my efforts from these three days - all different, for sure! I didn't get two paintings in every day, since I was the class monitor, AND I was always the last to get a spot in front of the model. That made it more fun for me, since I had to try and make the absolute most of whatever perspective I was given.

 Above: My goal was to turn the form using color temperature, since the light was so flat from my angle. Below: My goal was to keep the focal point in the light, even though the face was 3/4 in the shadow.

Above: My goal was to have very soft edges, with only 2-3 relatively harder edges based on the contrast in those areas.
Below: My goal was to stay high key and not ever get to "black" in the value scale. That took a great deal of self-control, since I love drama in my paintings!

The last two days of the workshop consisted of figure painting. Below is the setup on the model stand, and pictures of Clayton's first figure demo, which turned out beautifully.

Below: Clayton's second figure demo, completed in perhaps no more than 45 minutes.

 Below: my efforts from the two days of figure painting. Having an absolute blast. When I set up in front of the model for this first painting, the pose and dramatic lighting took my breath away.

I would like to give a big thanks to Michael Mentler for hosting such a great workshop, and allowing me to participate. And of course, thank you to Clayton for coming all the way down from Chicago and doing such an excellent job teaching and demonstrating. :-)


1 comment:

  1. very nice and informative blog it is.all post are very useful in this blog.thanks for all post.


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