Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I am posting the painting sequence that George James went through to show us how he builds a painting. I was sitting in about the 3rd row and was photographing the overhead mirror. You can see the distortions that creates. The final finished piece was taken directly looking at the painting. The color is as close as I can get it but "no cigar" as they say. I hope it gives you some idea of his process.

It is so interesting to take a workshop and experience the "student" mentality as opposed to giving the workshop and watching what others do with your information. I noticed real resistance in myself to painting in a new way. I always make an effort to try it the instructors way, so I did but was unhappy with what I produced and felt "lost" much of the time, not knowing how to proceed. You think you want to paint like someone else but it feels "wrong" when you do it. The other thing I noticed in myself was how quickly I want to give up and tell myself this isn't for me because I'm not any good at it. We don't give ourselves very much time to succeed, do we? Another observation is that, almost to a person, everyone was pretty much painting the way they always do instead of forcing themselves to work in his manner. I think there are two general categories of workshops. The first is a "technique" workshop where you attempt to paint in the style of the instructor. The second is a non-technique workshop where you are focusing on something other than technique and apply the information to your style of painting. The workshops that I give tend to be the latter. The trick for the "technique" type of workshop is to figure out how to adapt the ideas and integrate them into what you already do. It takes some time and experimenting. It seems the older I get the less time I feel I have and the less patient I am with myself. There is no skirting the learning curve. Tomorrow he will demonstrate working with the figure. That should be great fun.

Tonight a few of the workshop participants went out to dinner with George and his wife. He is a very genuine individual, with no prima donna traits. An interesting man with a great deal of experience in the art world and shares generously. I have taken quite a few workshops and have found every instructor, so far, to be very personable. I do hear stories of a few who have delusions of grandeur but haven't met them yet.

Kathy Mitchell is also taking this workshop and did a beautiful painting today. I am posting it with her permission.


Nava said...

I fully relate. I also tend to rebel in technique workshops - which is why I prefer the other kind, that does not try to change the way you paint but rather enrich and inspire in other ways.

And several WOWs - for Kathy's painting! It's stunning, and her famous brush strokes (that make us all envy her) are even more pronounced on Yupo.

Don't let your spirit break - I think you're at the "what am I doin' here" stage. Good luck with your figures tomorrow.

RHCarpenter said...

Great sequence showing us how he worked on his composition and colors to get the final version :) And Kathy's painting is lovely! Thanks again for sharing - I imagine your brain is tired after the day. We all give up too soon when doing something new but I think it incorporates into our scheme of things a few days or weeks AFTER the workshop ends. I always felt it was a waste not to try to paint like the instructor was showing you even if you ony do it in the workshop.

Tracy Wandling said...

I must be tired, cause it took me a minute to figure out why the painting at the end of the slide show was reversed...it's all done with mirrors!
Thanks for sharing with us...it's the next best thing to being there. I saw your painting in the Artist mag today...and I said, "Hey, I know her! Well...I sorta know her." Congrats on that; looks great!

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