Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review of workshop with Robert Johnson  ( Please make comments about whether this is helpful)

I took this workshop about 6 years ago in Richmond at the Brazier Gallery.  I had purchased Robert Johnson's book a number of years before that and to my surprise found a workhop sort of nearby.  I don't know if he still teaches at the Art League in Alexandria, Va, but he has an amazing website that includes demonstrations and photos of his work. If you ever have the chance, take his workshop.

You can see from his work why I was thrilled to take one of his classes.  I'll include some of the set-up photos and highlights from my notes.

I refer to this book often.  I had this one autographed, too



-  have concept of where the eye will move
- start with a design (10% of time goes to design stage)
-start with wash of transparent oxide red and cobalt blue or UB - work out problems at this early stage
-create depth by overlapping items
-Background is done with big brush, very dark and use medium, done loosely, then wipe out lights with paper towel (he uses viva)

-next did leaves with viridian and terra rosa, big dark shapes, no detail

We were doing rose paintings, after this general start, his direction was to "nail" a rose.  At this point every brush stroke counts, but still done in loose fashion thinking of shapes and values.

use background to carve out shapes

background done with vertical brushstrokes, keeps eye from catching lights and prevents glare in painting, used a neutral mix of cobalt blue, terra rosa, and yellow ochre

paints light with very thick paint

*(weakest part always sticks out, ptg rises to weakest point)  - the most frequent weak point is usually in the drawing;

-used warm for reflected light on vase

be aware of what's happening  at end of brush

Polarity - strength of painting is juxtaposing opposites

greenery - don't paint every detail - paint only a few leaves to perfection

push values (he said this many times)

think of objects in terms of planes

painting rug - don't be a slave to detail, scraped off excess paint to show weave of canvas

emphasis on drawing  - learn to draw without thinking, recommended book by Beverly Hale

think of objects as abstract shapes

emphasized use of soft and hard edges,

reflective surfaces - edges disappear- lose shape as go around

use best stroke at the moment to capture what your are seeing, the more economical the stroke, the more exciting it will be for the viewer

If you can't take a workshop, I would recommend buying any one of his DVD's.  One I have is very comprehensive and takes you through every step of the paintings. 

Tomorrow I will include more photos of the set-ups.  I need to find them from among the disorganized array of thousands of photos. 
(This is Robert Johnson's palette)

My painting from the class. 

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