Thursday, January 30, 2014

Workshop Wrap Up - Terry Ludwig Pastels, Littleton, CO

Earlier this week I returned from a two-week visit to Colorado, which included a family ski trip in Winter Park, a few days of plein air painting with artist friends in Longmont, Rocky Mountain National Park and Boulder, and teaching a three-day pastel workshop at Terry Ludwig Pastels in Littleton. I came home exhausted...yet energized! I just now had a chance to post some tidbits from the pastel workshop...

Following below are my three demos from the workshop...

Bright Spot, pastel, 11x14

Farm Road Curve, pastel, 11x14

Snow Covered Marsh, (100-stokes) pastel, 6x8

With "Bright Spot" I described my basic method for composing my painting and how I construct my thumbnails.

On day two, we did the "five-shape landscape" exercise, and I began "Farm Road Curve" by blocking in only five shapes to start the painting.

We practiced minimal stroke exercises on the last day. After some warm-up 20-stroke exercises, we painted small landscapes using no more than 100 strokes. "Snow Covered Marsh" was my minimal stroke demo.

There were several accomplished pastel artists among the students in this workshop. As they were blocking in their five-shape-landscape paintings, there were several very strong examples of well designed foundations, so I snapped a few shots. Most of them adhered to the 5 shapes. Some of them went with the "5ish shape" method, which still works. ;-) I hope they don't mind me posting them here.

Student examples of 5-shape block-ins:

Next month I'm off to Akron, Ohio (Feb. 26, 27 & 28) and then in March in the Chicago area (Mar. 14, 15 & 16), both pastel workshops. Last I checked, there were a few spots still left in Akron, but I believe the Chicago workshop is full.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sun & Snow

Three O'clock Shadow Dance, pastel, 8x10

December Light, oil, 10x8

In my previous set of classes at my studio last month, we focused on snow in cloudy, low light conditions. I did two separate blog posts on this: one for pastel and one for oil. I've combined them here this time. In this month's classes, we turned up the sunlight and studied the effects of strong light on snow.

I happen to like the color and lighting effects of both cloudy and sunny conditions on snow. The subtle greys that subdued light conditions create are gorgeous in the winter landscape. But with strong, direct sunlight, you get those luscious deep blues and purples in the snow shadows. With this stronger light, you also have higher contrast in the snow and more vibrancy in the shadows. And the use of cools and warms placed together in the sunlit areas creates that reflective, sunlit quality of the snow.

In my pastel demo, "Three O'clock Show Dance," I used a very warm underpainting which I allowed to show through quite a bit in order to capture the warm/cool color vibration.

In my oil demo, "December Light," I placed strokes of warms and cools next to each other in the snow and on the sunlit birch trees.

Below are a couple of progression shots of each...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Upcoming Workshops in Colorado, Ohio and Georgia

I'm excited to be starting off 2014 with several pastel workshops lined up...

Terry Ludwig Pastels, Littleton, CO - Jan. 24, 25 & 26, $325
2 more spots left

Red Cockerill Gallery, Austel, GA - Sat., Feb. 8, $120, 770-944-3160
This is an ideal workshop for beginners! The gallery is offering the option to purchase a small, affordable "start-up" supply kit for this the gallery for details.

Akron Society of Artists, Akron, OH - Feb. 26, 27 & 28, $395

More details are available on my website at, or email me with any questions at