16 April 2013

Monterey Plein Air Convention 2103. Part 2.

I am not used to all this green! "Corral del Cielo" 12"x9"
The second day of the convention was also filled with marketing  boot camp and demos. I must highlight a few. Scott Christensen is one of my favorite landscape artists. As a young man  he played football but a neck injury  left him wanting so he took up painting. And how! I suppose he applied all his sports stamina to his artwork because he is one hell of a landscape artist. His palette was unique and I couldn't get the reasons behind it. I think he uses Vasari colors and a series of greys. I have to do more research on that.He talked about establishing an idea before starting work.
Oh wait, someone already did. Underpaintings. Awesome!

 The dynamic duo of Camile Przewodek and Ned Mueller was very entertaining. Camile is a colorist, and Ned is  a self-proclaimed tonalist. Camile's earnest style contrasted wonderfully with Ned's devil-may-care sense of humor.

Camile's art is intriguing. She is a student of Hensche who in turn studied with Monet so there is a color lineage right there. I've wondered about her philosophy for a while since she is such a popular reference. and gives many workshops around the country. She is a popular teacher with many followers.  She claims admiration for Sorolla, Frank Benson and Isaak Levitan among others.

Her favorite quote from Sargent: "Don't be a landscape painter, or a still-life or a portrait painter. Learn to paint  and paint anything."  ( I know this quote thing gets tired but  quotes are really like easy mantras to keep in mind while painting.) Ok, with that out of the way ...the main point I got from Camile is that she likes to start with bold high-chroma colors, well beyond what one might perceive and then proceed downwards taming the initial explosion into more subtle variations. Easier to start high and then descend. Another distinct characteristic is how wide her palette is with 20 colors plus as opposed to more limited choices in the rest of the speakers.

Camile is not against finishing a painting outdoors. Many artists declared their outdoor studies a total necessity but nothing more than color notes. Among them, Ray Roberts, Jill Carver,  Scott Christensen and Skip Whitcomb. Camile doesn't find it troublesome to return to the same spot twice to "finish" a piece. In that, she is following Monet as well.

Ned Mueller is another proponent of black and white studies to settle the  composition and reduce anxiety. Big shapes first. And never ever think literally but visually. His self-deprecating humor made him fun to hear but his briefly executed demo was great on top of that.

Point Lobos Turmoil. 8"x10'
"Blue Jay and Lupine Meadow" 9"x12" SOLD
And this brings us to yet another amazing demo, the pair of Jill Carver and Ray Roberts. I am a devoted Ray Roberts groupie so I was all ears even though I took a four day workshop last summer with Mr. Roberts in Malibu.  You can read all about it in my previous post. Roberts is on a quest to find interesting shapes and dark patterns whose abstract qualities attract attention.  He has an extensive illustration background in which he was forced to work in extra clear black and white graphics that wouldn't be drowned in print format. This, he says, was excellent training ground. 

His influences are multiple, Assaro, McCaw, Craig Nelson, Clyde Aspevig, Sullivan and co-conspirator Skip Whitcomb.

Ray Roberts starts with the dark shapes first to obtain the interesting high  contrast pattern from the start. He commented on how he doesn't paint the color he sees but the relationships. For example, when painting white water, distinguish between the whites that represent foam(in dark and light) , glistening or just turbulence. All these entities should have distinct colors to differentiate even though in reality they might be much closer in hue and value than what we could paint. 

My notes on the Jill Carver, ray Roberts pairing.

Scott Christensen

Skip Whitcomb

C.W. Mundy. He painted the whole thing upside down until the very end.

Alexey Steele drawing Scott Christensen

James Gurney (Dinotopia) also making a portrait of Scott.

Ned Mueller showing his demo.

Ray Roberts displaying some of his work.

Ray Roberts demo

Ned Mueller


georgia mansur said...

Fabulous post Jose, it was so great to catch up with you again and i love the paintings you did at Monterey. Your blog post really captured the spirit of generosity that all the artists have shared with us~ karma is a good thing and it will come back to you my friend. : D

mick mcginty said...

Sorry I missed meeting you Jose! I was there also and your description of each artist I can fully attest to. Great conference! Is that your rendition of Point Lobo? Great work!

mick mcginty said...

Great work Jose! Blogger made me write again...I think. Just wanted to comment on the coverage of the event that I attended also and your work looks amazing.

Marian Fortunati said...

I love the way you explain and illustrate everything so well.

Thomas Jefferson Kitts said...


Nice painting of the Lupine and gate.

I love the Sargent quote as it never gets tired for me.

Here are a few others:

“Do not try to make a pretty picture”

When John Singer Sargent traveled to America in 1890, he went painting with Frederick S. Pratt, an amateur painter and founding trustee of the Worcester Art Museum. Lucky for us, Pratt wrote down what Sargent had to say about a few of his painting methods:

“Choose simple subjects, near objects at first. Do not try to make a pretty picture so much as to render truthful effects. Paint over the whole canvas with colors approximating the masses so as to obscure [sic – did he mean establish?] relations of tones while working. When finishing, ‘paint into paint’ when possible and in portraits, paint around the features in detail, using small brushes rarely."


“Always use a full brush and a larger one than necessary. Paint with long sweeps, avoiding spots and dots (‘little dabs’). Never think of other painter’s pictures or how some one else would treat a subject but follow your own choice of colors with exact fidelity to nature.”

So much to consider in all of that.

I look forward to seeing you again!