2018 Workshop Schedule. New workshops added! click here for details.
Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Liz Haywood-Sullivan Workshop Report ... Day Three

'A Change of Seasons'           18x18             pastel            ©Karen Margulis
 If only this could have lasted a week! Today was the last day of our workshop on Sky and Water with Liz Haywood-Sullivan. Liz packed a lot into three days and I can only imagine how much thicker my notebook would be in a longer workshop!  The workshop experience was all I expected and more. It was fun to meet new artist friends and learn from them. I picked up a few great tips from my fellow artists that I'll be sharing here. Sometimes that alone is worth the price of admission but in this case, I gained so much from Liz's thorough demos and critiques.

I have a notebook full of helpful information but what stands out for me is how pleasantly surprised I was  by the grid. I was dreading the grid. Let me explain.....

My reference photo with my crop marks
I took a 4 hour class at IAPS several years ago with Liz and all I remembered was that we had to grid our cloud photo before painting. Those of you who have seen me paint know that I am not a grid person. I use teeny tiny awful photos so that I won't want to copy them. I couldn't imagine having to grid my photos.  I have had a change of heart.....sort of.  After this week's workshop I can see the value of Liz's method and understand it much better.

And we didn't need a ruler!  All we did was put crop marks in quarters on our photo and on our paper. The crop marks are in place to help us find our way through the reference and to simplify it into simple shapes. (see photo below)

The crop marks help us size up our drawing to our paper and get the shapes in the right location and proportion. The nice thing for me is that you can just eyeball the crop marks. They really do help! It is so easy to loose your way in a painting....where does the water end and the land begin? How tall are the mountains? and so on.  The crop marks helped me make sense of my marsh especially in the distance with the ribbons of land and water.

Liz's sketchbook with her thumbnail and value sketch using crop marks
Will I always use crop marks and waypoints from now on? It will depend on my subject and mood. If I have a complicated subject AND I am happy with the composition of the reference photo I will use the crop marks.  If I am just in the mood to interpret a photo loosely and don't care if I change elements around...I won't be using crop marks. They are just another tool in the toolbox which is a wonderful thing about taking workshops!

More tomorrow!


Marian Fortunati said...

I often experience losing my "place" while painting en plein air.... I guess it would be similar using a photo reference.

I will say that your finished painting is stunning... So congrats.

CarolB said...

Karen, I love this painting...which to me is quite large for a workshop painting. You are amazing.
Thanks for all the tips from your workshop.

Anna Lisa Leal said...

Stunning painting and I agree that it is even more amazing that it was created so quickly! You are an inspiration!

Susan Williamson said...

A stunning piece....all the more considering the size and that it was done in a workshop!