Sunday, June 16, 2013

Convention Recaps!

I try to keep up with my blog posts about once a week, but with two trips out of town in the past few weeks, things have gone off track a bit...but for good reasons!

The first trip was to the Oil Painters of America (OPA) National Exhibition and Convention in Fredericksburg, TX last month. I'm still on cloud nine just knowing that I had work included in this extraordinary show. Plus I had the awesome opportunity to meet many artists I've admired for quite awhile and watch some incredible demos! I don't have as many photos to post as I do with what I discuss below, but this event was certainly just as exciting and inspiring!

"Afternoon Refuge" proudly hung in the OPA national show.

Then last week I attended the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) Convention and Exhibition in Albuquerque, NM. This was my second time attending this inspiring week of nonstop pastel EVERYTHING! I watched demos and took workshops from some of my favorite artists, purchased a couple of much needed pastel supply items, and even got in some painting time at some gorgeous locations in the area. I also, again, had the wonderful opportunity to meet many new artist friends.

A couple of other exciting tidbits from painting "December Heat Wave" was awarded an honorable mention by Terri Ford, who judged the Master Circle portion of the IAPS Exhibition, and I also received my Master Circle medallion.

"December Heat Wave" was awarded honorable mention.
This thing is heavy!

Although I've been an instructor myself for a number of years now, whenever I take a workshop, I always make sure to put myself into "student mode" and turn myself into a sponge, absorbing as much new information as possible. As an instructor, I teach methods that I've found to work best for me, so it's tempting to want to approach any painting I do in a workshop using my own method. But I find that it's a waste of time and money to do this in a workshop taken from another instructor. The reason I set aside time and money to take any workshop is to learn how a certain artist does what he or she does. So I turn off all previous knowledge, I do my best to bring exactly the supplies given on the workshop supply list, and try it totally and completely their way. Even if I don't want to later continue to paint exactly like these particular artists with whom I'm studying, I want to find out how they achieve their unique "look."

My first workshop was with Terri Ford. Her "deeper, darker, richer" approach helped me see that a more intense color can be used rather than a lighter value in order to liven up color that may show up dull, or even nonexistent, in a bad photo. After a few attempts at her approach, I found myself making some exciting new color choices I wouldn't normally use. Loved it!

One of my paintings from Terri Ford's workshop.

The other workshop I took was from the amazing Richard McKinley. This was only a one-day workshop, and I sure wish I could have spent more time watching him paint and hearing his comments on my own attempts. I really wanted to better learn his watercolor underpainting approach. So I watched closely, took lots of photos of his demo, and spent lots of time on my attempt. As I mentioned above, I really try to purchase the recommended supplies. I did have a varied supply of the watercolor paint recommended, but I knew going in that I may not have the best quality watercolor paint. They were artist quality, but not the kind Richard uses. I wanted to buy more before the workshop, but it was a budget limitation. This made a difference in the color vibrancy that Richard was able to achieve vs. what I painted.

Richard McKinley's vibrant underpainting.
My much duller underpainting.

My finished? painting with pastel added.
When taking a workshop, I bring a variety of my own photos that are similar to the typical subject matter that the instructor normally paints. And after watching the demo, I choose a photo from my supply that's as similar as possible to what the instructor just painted. In this case the most similar photo I had on hand coincidentally was the one I referenced for the painting I had in the OPA show!

During the convention, I also watched demonstrations by Marla Bagetta, Desmond O'Hagen and Lorenzo Chavez...three of my favs! All were spectacular and a joy to watch!!

I'll end this post with a few pieces I painted on location in Albuquerque among many other incredible artists. All were painted in the beautiful magic hour of the evening light, with the last one at the bottom painted fast and furiously as the light disappeared.


  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pictures. I admire your intent to go into 'student mode' as you put it. That takes courage to get out of your comfort zone. Also great to see that you're doing good work in oils as well as pastel. Have you ever discussed your thoughts on what you like, or don't like between the two mediums?

    1. Thanks so much, Bill! I'm so honored whenever you take the time to comment on my work, since I'm such a huge fan of yours! Back in early April, I posted on my blog some brief thoughts about struggling through the process to include oil in the work that I do, although I didn't go into detail about what I like/dislike. But I really think that I find an equal amount of pros and cons with oil as compared to pastel. When you consider drying time, framing issues, portability for plein air, and color mixing challenges, just to name a few...I come up with an equal list for both. And I can honestly say that I enjoy both mediums equally. It's nice to move back and forth between the two. Maybe in a future blog post I'll discuss this some more. Hey, thanks for the idea. :-)

  2. Thank you for this great post. I also attended IAPS and saw different demos....with a portrait slant: Schnieder, Demille and Margaret Dyer. I also attended a workshop with Vianna Szabo. So exciting and fun....I briefly met you at the paint-a-round. Love your work and am amazed you found time, energy and focus to knock out some lovely work too! Congratulations on your Honorable Mention and Master's Circle Honor! :)

    1. Thanks, Kim! Yes, I sure do remember meeting you! I'm so glad you introduced yourself. I enjoyed our quick little chat. What a fun but chaotic event that was during the paint-a-round. I'm glad you were able to enjoy so many great workshops there at IAPS. It was certainly a week of nonstop inspiration!

  3. I've never been to IAPS so I really enjoyed reading about your experience, Barbara. You did such beautiful work there! Congratulations on your awards - especially that Master Circle!

  4. Congratulations on receiving your Master Circle and for being in such prestigious shows! Well deserved by a master artist! I enjoyed your post--beautiful paintings and informative. It gave us a glimpse into your experiences at these shows. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Your blog was forwarded by a friend and I can see why...lovely work and good to see the 'in progress' pics

  6. Enjoyed meeting you, barbara and seeing your work in person. It was stunning! This post is a good one for workshop junkies who somehow think by painting the way they always have will help them learn...?... Something new. I've even witnessed students who tried to convince the tutor to try THEIR methods. Amazing

  7. Thanks, everyone, for all your kind, generous responses to this blog post. I guess I got behind in answering individually, but I do appreciate them all!

  8. Congratulations on all your good news, Barbara! It is well-deserved!! Thanks for sharing and for all the great photos!! Gorgeous, as always!