Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The Trouble with June
is everywhere you look its green, green green! But with my newly honed sense of the careful observation (remember I just did the Shils Guerilla Bootcamp for painters) its not JUST a green field, but a problem to be solved. This particular problem presented itself Sunday June 28th when a group of plein aire peeps headed out to the Saul Lake Bog Preserve. As this was my first trip out there I wasn't sure what to expect. What I didn't expect was all the GREEN. It was everywhere with not a structure in sight. Not even a fence post! My first clue should have been the word Preserve. Duh. Don't get me wrong this is a beautiful site and I've already been back, but I'd just come off of a pretty intense workshop where I was looking pretty carefully at structures in the landscape. My response to all of this green was to make this an accurate paint mixing experience. Once I had the plan in my head as how to solve the problem of all that green, the painting became more about the poetry of paint vs. the image.
I've been meaning to update about the workshop and just haven't had the time. Came back to a mountain of freelance and have been trying to dig my way out ever since. Three Pines Studio in Cross Village hosted the workshop. They arranged housing for those of us who needed it; the place I stayed was amazing. It was a lovingly restored farm on Division Road. The property owners have turned some of the outbuildings into vacation rentals. The building that I stayed in was an old grain mill. Joanne and Gene of Three Pines really outdid themselves as far as hospitality goes. We were greeted on Sunday night with a fabulous dinner of poached salmon, pork tenderloin, a rustic bean salad and my favorite; little red peppers stuffed with blue cheese, and wine. Throughout the course of the workshop, the Condino/Recks made sure we never went hungry or thirsty for that matter.
The nuts and bolts of the workshop started on Sunday night at dinner with intros all around. Right after dinner the Stuart Shils experience began in earnest with a 2 hour slide lecture comparing and contrasting painters throughout history. Monday morning began with breakfast promptly at 8:15. By 9:30 we were in in the field. A short break for lunch and then back at it. Dinner, and then another slide lecture. Shils really "shows up" for these workshops. He is incredibly well-versed in the history of art and art-making and armed with an arsenal of slides/presentations. I would have to say that he sets a high bar for those who step forward. After three days of painting, on the last day at 4:15, he looked at the painting I was working on and said, "You've got a nice painting going there". I wanted to get that in writing. Shils isn't one to give praise arbitrarily, in fact I definitely wouldn't say that he coddles the sensitive ego. But, when he does critique, its always with a fair and objective eye. It is my opinion that he really is looking to help develop the skill of the careful observation and that by being fair in his assessment of the work, he does his participants the biggest favor of all. In short, I would have to say that that workshop was invaluable to me and am ready to sign up for next years offering.
And one last thing, it was really inspiring to be in the company of all these talented people who came together for this workshop. Hi to Lori, Patricia, Kate, and Jim. You know who you are.........