Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Olga works on flowers
Judy, Ann-Lillian, and Mace at work
Michael Murray's painting

2013 Campbell Workshop

The Kachemak Bay Watercolor Society's annual watercolor featured artist Annella Campbell of Green Valley, Arizona. The workshop began Thursday evening with a get-aquainted gathering and a chance for people to bring in materials and find out what was on the agenda for the next three days. Coordinator Marilyn Kirkham, with help from Beth, Renee and Lynda, had everything ready for the group for a smooth start. Annella was introduced by her brother and KBWS member, Michael Murray, after which she covered some basic history background and answered questions. It was a beautiful fall evening with extreme low and high tides and frost in the air.
Friday morning we began promptly at 10 a.m. with a demonstration and discussion of value.  Annella gave each person a copy of a photograph of Tumacacori mission located betweeen Green Valley and Nogalas. It has great character and is a great subject for a value study of light medium and dark values. The initial values were established using cerilian blue for lighter values and ultramarine (or prussian ) for darker values. She also showed people ways to incorporate people into the work and make adjustments either adding or removing elements from the photograph. She also included some ways to check paint for opaque and transparent qualities as well as ways to make "black" with colors other than black.

People progressed through much of the day working on this project study as Annella moved about assisting as well as encouraging participants. Midway she did a second demo to show how washes can be applied using the complements of the blues (orange tones) as well as how to add some detail to the work.

Annella also had an image of a Native American dancer that she was working on and shared her idea for a background and resist. She applied the background washes as we observed and pointed out that she
had not used the resist of white crayon before and hoped it would work. The idea that she would experiment on such a beautiful nearly completed work was a subtle way to let people know that we are always
learning and taking risks as we paint and hopefully grow.
Our end results were of the same subject but all different as you can see. People were very excited and worked hard throughout the day and quite exhausted by 5:00 pm when we wrapped up.

Day 2 and 3 of Annella Campbell's workshop  concluded with participants noting it was one of the best workshops they had attended over the years.

On day 2 we worked on still life, either from photos or real-life set ups. Some members brought items from home including fresh veggies from the garden. Annella prepared a drawing and demonstrated a painting of
cactus flowers from  photos she had taken in her yard.  Once her painting was partially developed she got us started and moved around the room to offer suggestions and encouragement. Her eye for value and
composition helped push us to better work. For those who were new to some of the ideas, she assisted with proper tools and materials. The day went by quickly and the review of work at the end of the day
showed great progress.

Day three, the snow was creeping rapidly down the sides of the mountains and we had a day of varied weather, some strong wind and very high tides. Inside we began a more abstract project with the use
of random application of charcoal powder on hot press Arches 140# paper. We went out on the windy porch to see the initial demo of application and pouring and to Annella's delight and surprise, the
wind assisted in getting some great results. Since these pieces would take most of the day to dry, Annella had pre-prepared a half sheet for her demonstration and 20 quarter sheets for the group's use (she did
this in Green Valley and brought them with her to distribute). One could continue to work abstractly or one could try to see something in the charcoal shapes, which many did.

Later in the day Annella demonstrated how to paint an image of a glass object. several people had asked for this as they were having difficulty with it and knew Annella had done this successfully. She did the demonstration and some of the people in the group tried their had at it.

We wrapped up the day with a discussion and a look at the pieces people had painted during the day as well as ones they may have developed further from previous days.

We are all tired and full of renewed excitement about the joys and challenges of painting in watercolor.

Thanks to the Workshop Committee and a huge thank you to Annella for going the extra mile and doing a wonderful job of listening to what people were asking for, offering helpful tips as well as new ideas, allowing each person to continue to develop individual styles while pushing them to use a critical eye to further develop pieces, and being so well prepared.

Lynda Reed invited the group to show work developed either at the workshop or from the workshop at the Picture Alaska Gallery for a 1-month show in October. Work is to be either shrink wrap matted or framed. The show will open on first Friday in October.

Once again reporting from just 10 miles east of Homer Alaska - this is Michael Murray saying good night and happy painting!