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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Reflections on a Workshop...Most Important Thing I Learned

'Across the Meadow'        6x8      oil on panel      ©Karen Margulis
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Sometimes it takes awhile to digest a workshop experience.  Sometimes you are just not ready for all of the information that you are given.  Years later the light may turn on and you finally have an 'Aha' moment.  I believe that every workshop presents us with something of value.  It is up to us to take the time to reflect on the experience, compare it to your goals for the workshop and see what seems to stand out.

I decided to take Marc Hanson's workshop because I have been a big fan of his work. In fact I purchased one of his April Challenge paintings a few years ago and it continues to inspire me.  I have recently been working in oils and thought that it would be good to take an oil workshop with an artist I admired. I have been winging it with oils with no formal instruction so this would be a chance to see if I was on the right track.

In three days I learned quite a bit about oils. I added several new colors to my limited palette. I got new brushes. I started to use a medium.  I became more comfortable with a palette knife.  After watching Marc do a couple of demos I realized that I was taking a similar approach to blocking in the painting. And I realized something that I already knew but wash;t really doing. And it is going to be big for me I think.

Restraint.  That is the word I will try to keep in mind as I paint.

  • I want to restrain my speed for one thing. I usually paint fast.  But I want to take more time in the resolution stage of a painting. I want to take my time and gradually refine the details rather than rushing the finish.
  • Restrain my color.  I love color but I realize that a painting needs subtle and neutral colors to allow the more intense colors to work. I am sometimes successful with this but it is an idea that I will try harder to accomplish.
  • Hold back on the exciting stuff....plan in advance and know where they will go but don't rush to put it in right away.....gradually build up to the finishing touches. This refers to things like the highlights, intense colors, finer details. Again, this is something I try to do but I want to work harder at it.


Verónica Guzmán said...


Karen said...

Thank you Veronica!

Brenda Ferguson said...

Hi Karen,
I am a pastel artist turned oil painter, both self taught. I love both mediums and learn so much from your daily posts. Would you please talk about the medium, your palette with new colors and the brushes you referred to in this post...all gained from your recent workshop?
Thanks for your generous sharing of instructional information and creative inspiration! Best,