Oil Workshop – October Zest

January 19, 2012

October Zest, Oil on Canvas 14" x 11"

I had the pleasure of leading an Oil Painting Workshop last weekend at The Next Picture Show in Dixon Illinois. Ten students were enrolled, but a case of the flu took us down to nine students in attendance. I knew several of the people, which helps. Even had a fellow who is known in the area for his watercolor paintings joined us (I felt a little intimidated).

I utilized a larger painting (Kishwaukee Flare) for the inspiration of my primary work. The finished painting helped my students anticipate where they were going. The smaller studies (shown below) help to identify the steps to get to the completed work.  I discussed the small studies and attached them to a post in the classroom where they were in full view of most of the students. It was my goal to complete my painting before noon.

After some initial discussions concerning details such as the format of the workshop, my equipment, the additional paintings and block ins which were present, I started by showing the students a quick idea to help start the drawings on their canvases. The students jumped in and were quickly following my lead through the painting process. They moved fast.

I tried to narrate my way through my painting to explain items such as colors which I was using and why, where I was painting, areas that were a cause of caution and how I would address these potential problems, etc. I got a good pace going and was able to take several breaks to view the work of the students. Although I wanted the work to be their own, I still offered advice (and occasionally a few brush strokes), to help keep them moving in a positive direction. One student seemed especially happy with an “Aha” moment which she experienced during the block in of her work. I goaded her into setting this start to the side and keep it as a “How to” example for future reference. I challenged her to start another canvas and see if she could recapture that magic. She was a good sport and, although the second start was not as energetic as the first attempt, it was still very good and helped her complete a nice painting.

Several students were able to join me in completing this painting before noon and start additional paintings during the afternoon. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed the warmth of the studio before heading into the cold January dusk. My thanks to The Next Picture Show for their assistance and to the students for being open to new ideas and views on creating oil paintings.

October Zest - Initial Sketch, Oil on Gessoed Paper 8" x 6"

October Zest - Dark's Established,, Oil on Gessoed Paper 8" x 6"

October Zest - Block In, Oil on Gessoed Paper 8" x 6"

Students attending the January 2012 Oil Workshop.

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