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Posts Tagged ‘Workshop’

Painting Workshop 2018

Like most Americans, I have found the last couple of days have been exhausting. My reasons are most likely different than most other Americans. I was fortunate in not being able to watch the proceedings surrounding the Supreme Court and instead spent the last two days leading a painting workshop up in Penn Yan.

Tiring but not maddening. I feel so fortunate.

It’s a two day workshop and these people do an amazing amount of work in a very short time. Probably too much. Working off a piece that I am painting in front of them, they basically finish two decent sized paintings in two days, start to finish. The last half of each day is a flurry of activity as each of them moves quickly to bring the painting to state of completion.

There is little time to consider each movement. Just paint.

At the end of each day I am always stunned by how well they have adapted to techniques that are not easy and require a bit of practice, more than the short time in this workshop affords, in order to have any degree of mastery. I look at the work completed and realize that what they have done is much more than I do normally do in any two days in my studio. I am not sure they even realize how much they have done.

Hopefully, they take some small bit of the experience with them. Maybe look at the pieces they’ve done and say Wow, I did that!

It was great group and I feel fortunate to have gotten to now each of them a bit more. I am sincerely proud of each of them and how much they have done in the short time we worked together.

But like I said it’s exhausting, a lot of work and anxiety for a guy whose real comfort zone is in my studio tucked away from the rest of the world. I am not sure if I am going to do it again but if I do, it will be because the folks who come each year treat me so well. I think if I do opt to do it again, we would only work on one painting and work at an easier pace where they can take more time to consider what they are doing.

But that is the future. As to the present, many thanks to to the great folks I spent the last two days with. It was my pleasure.

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Character

I am busy getting things around today for a workshop that I am leading up at Penn Yan in the beautiful Finger Lakes tomorrow and Friday. This is only my fourth year doing this but every year I say that this is most likely the last time I will do this. The words have already left my mouth this year.

I do not feel that I am a natural teacher and get somewhat stressed out doing these, much more so than giving a talk. Because the folks at the workshop are paying to be there, I worry that they won’t get their money’s worth. That’s where the anxiety comes in for me. I probably overcompensate in response to this but if it helps me feel that I have given something of value to these folks, then I can accept that.

Even though it’s stressful, I have to say that I am glad to be doing this workshop this year, given what might be happening in the next couple of days in DC. I would rather be teaching a few of my techniques to willing and friendly faces than yelling and swearing at my television.

Now that is stress.

So, I am taking a few days off from the blog. The image and Helen Keller quote at the top speak very much to the trials this country is currently experiencing. Whatever character we possess as a nation, now is the time it will be truly revealed.

Good luck to us all. See you in a few days.

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The Studio Barn at Sunny Point

As had been mentioned here in the recent past, I will be leading a workshop next week at Sunny Point on the shores of beautiful Keuka Lake here in the Finger Lakes of New York. Sponsored by the Arts Center of Yates County, this is a two day workshop that runs from about 9 AM until 4 PM on September 28 and 29, Thursday and Friday of next week.

This is my third workshop here and in the first two years we focused on my watercolor based method which is what I call a reductive process. You put paint on then take much of it off, creating the edges and transparency that define this style. It was a lot of fun and a little messy.

This year we are going to be working on what I call an additive process which starts with a dark surface, in this case a textured canvas with a layer of black paint. Layers of paint are added, each layer defining form and creating light. The piece at the bottom is an example of the kind of work we’ll be doing. It’s typically a bit slower process with a little more control, more meditative in approach. But we are going to be moving along at a pretty good pace which should make for some interesting work.

It should be a good couple of days in a great environment with the lake just paces away and the glorious fall foliage ablaze on the surrounding hills. All that with some hard work, good fun and a few surprises along the way. I don’t know how many more times I will be doing this type of event so if you would like to share some time painting with me, come on up.

More info can be had by clicking here.

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Sunny Point from Keuka Lake

Have some details here for a two day painting workshop I will be leading at the Sunny Point location on the east side of Keuka Lake, located here in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York state. The workshop is being hosted by the Arts Center of Yates County and their Sunny Point location is a wonderful setting. We will be painting on the wonderful porch overlooking the lake and if the weather turns will move inside where they are in the process of updating their lighting with full spectrum LED’s.

The dates are September 28 and 29, Thursday and Friday. The workshop begins at 9 AM and runs to 4 PM each day. Enrollment is limited to 8-10 workshoppers with materials being provided. It is open to all levels of ability– from working artists to pure beginners. Even if you have never held a paintbrush, you can take part and create your own piece of art. You can go to this link to contact them about enrollment.

Looking out from the Sunny Point painting porch

This is my third year with this workshop and it is, surprisingly for me, something that I enjoy. Believe me, I was a little apprehensive in the beginning, as I am sure the folks who attended that first workshop can attest. But seeing how attentive and excited they were by the things they learned was invigorating to me. They made tremendous strides in a very short time and much of what they did was, simply put, exceptional. Plus, it was fun, with a lot of story-telling and good natured conversation.

In the past two workshops we focused on my wet process, one where a lot of liquid paint is put on the surface then taken off. It is fast paced and sloppy but the effects of the paint show themselves immediately. It can be exciting.

We will be painting in this style at this year’s workshop

This year we are switching gears, moving to a more controlled type of painting, one where we will be working a bit more upright on easels, applying multiple layers of paint. To put it simply, the wet process was about pulling paint off to reveal light and this process is about adding paint to build up light.

It’s a different thought process, one that is often a bit more meditative and slow forming. But, that being said, we will be moving at a fast pace. I want the artists there to try to see how it is to paint without thinking so much about painting a picture and focus on each stroke and its importance. My feeling is that every stroke is significant and the painting as a whole is a compilation of small paintings that come together to express something emotive.

Maybe that sounds ambitious for a two day workshop. But I have a feeling that the folks who end up at Sunny Point will be willing to have some fun and work hard to see that end. If it sounds like something that might interest you, I can guarantee you that I will work hard to make it worth your while.

Hope to see you on Keuka Lake in late September!

 

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Sunny Point on Keuka Lake, Location of this year's Workshop

Sunny Point on Keuka Lake, Location of this year’s Workshop

As it was last year, I am leading a two-day workshop this month for the Arts Center of Yates County.  This year’s edition is going to be held at their Sunny Point facility (shown above) on the shores of beautiful Keuka Lake on Thursday and Friday, September 22-23.  I plan on having the attendees experimenting in my reductive technique as well as composing their work in different shapes and sizes than they might otherwise be accustomed.

One of the  purposes of this workshop is to see their materials in a different light and to knock down the limitations and rules that we often set on ourselves.  Basically, the idea is to get them realize that there are no rules when it comes to expressing yourself.

Last year was my first attempt at teaching and if you were reading here at that time you may recall that I had a lot of anxiety and reservations about the whole thing.  But I found it to be a very fulfilling experience and the feedback from the attendees was strong enough to convince me that there was indeed something of value here, that I was getting across something of use to these folks.

Frank B. at last year's workshop

Frank B. at last year’s workshop

Plus, it was just fun spending some time with some really nice people.  We had a lot of laughs, told some stories, learned some new things and made some really interesting work in those two days.  If you recall, I was blown away at how quickly that group absorbed the lessons.  At the end of the workshop they were working at a point that took me a year or more to reach on my own.

I was informed yesterday that there was still one and possibly two spots available for this workshop.  So, if you are interested in attending, you can get more info and register by clicking here or phone the Arts Center of Yates County at 315-536-8226.

Keuka Lake in the fall is always beautiful and I know we’ll have a pretty good time along with a few pleasant surprises.  Hope you can make it!

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GC Myers- At the End of the Day smI have written here several times about my dislike for the month of August, most recently in a post from last year called Cruel August.  This year’s events have not changed my mind one bit.  But today mercifully ends August and there is the somewhat more soothing feel of September and October on the way.

Here’s what is on my calendar for the next month or so:

There are only a couple of days left before my show, Contact, comes off the walls at the West End Gallery in Corning.  The show ends this Friday, September 2, so if you want to take a look at this year’s show, please get into the West End in the next day or so.

On September 17, I will be giving my annual Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.  This is my 14th talk at the Principle and it is always a pretty good time.   It’s a simple matter of combining some good folks, good conversation, a few confessions and the chance to win one of my paintings at the end of it all.  And a little more.  There are more details that will be revealed in the next week or so.  As I said, it’s Saturday, September 17, beginning at 1 PM.

Then then following week, I head up to beautiful Keuka Lake where I will again lead a two-day workshop for the Arts Center of Yates County.  Last year’s workshop was my first foray into teaching and, despite the initial apprehension that I wrote about here on the blog, was a wonderful and fulfilling experience.  I was amazed at the amount of info the attendees absorbed and the great progress they made in two days.  It was very satisfying and I am excited to be at it again this year.  The workshop runs on Thursday and Friday, September 22 and 23 from 9-4 each day.  For more info click here.  You can also call them at  315-536-8226.

After that, it’s on to this year’s last solo show, Part of the Plan, which opens October 29th at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA.  It’s been two years since my last show at the Kada, which has represented my work for over 20 years now, and I am eager to show some new work in this show.  There will be more details upcoming on this show but mark your calendar.

 

 

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2015 YCAC Workshop- The class hard at workThe best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.

Edward Bulwer- Lytton

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I tried to bear these words from English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton (famous for coining the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword” and the most famous of beginning lines, “it was a dark and stormy night“) in mind when I began instructing a two day workshop on Thursday at the Art Center in Penn Yan.  Having never taken an art course or workshop outside of a disastrous college drawing class thirty-some years ago, I had little reference material on which to base my instruction to the group.  I wanted to show them some of my techniques and have them hopefully incorporate them in their own work or be able to use these techniques as a springboard into something new of their own making.  I just wasn’t sure how to get that across but I knew that just having them leave inspired to want to paint would be my main objective.

After the first day, I wasn’t sure I was cut out for this task at all.

I started with a quick demonstration and then sent the group immediately into the paint with limited direction on where they could  go with it.  I just wanted them to work with the process and get used to seeing the paint move and mix.  But by the end of the day I could see that many of the group were frustrated in trying to master the technique and I was afraid I had put too much in front of them.  Going home that first evening, I realized I was asking them to learn a process in several hours that had taken me thousands of hours to master.  It would be like a musician playing a fairly difficult piece then asking someone who was observing to play it in a few hours.

So on the second day I showed a simplified version of the technique.  The work of the day before, frustrating as it had seemed,  seemed to set the groundwork for making the new work seem easy to handle.  They watched my demo in the morning and they just took off like a rocket after that.

Bonnie B. With her finished painting

Bonnie B. With her finished painting

I was blown away by what happened.  Each member of the group went in their own direction, those with some prior experience seamlessly meshing the technique with their own prior experience and creating pieces that were uniquely their own.  I was amazed at how much solid work was produced in such a short time by this group.  By the end of the day, my frustrations and anxieties were completely lifted and I left feeling that something of value had been transferred to this group, something they could use for to help them find their own path forward.

It was very satisfying.

Many, many thanks to everyone in the workshop.  You were patient, intent, fun and easy to work with.  You made my first venture into teaching a wonderful experience and provided a lot of inspiration that I will carry forward with me.  While I am glad that you may have learned something from me, be assured that I learned as much from you and for that, I can’t express my gratitude enough.  Thank you, Paulina, Jackie, Patti, Suzanne, Frank, Gini, Joy, Bonnie and Grace.  I listed the names from the front of the room to the rear.  Grace was obviously a trouble-maker so she was relegated to the rear table.

Thanks also to Kris Pearson at the YCAC for her dogged perseverance in getting me to head this workshop.  She was determined to have me do this and succeeded despite my initial resistance.  I am glad she did.

Frank B. showing off his distinct style

Frank B. showing off his distinct style

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Next:  TOMORROW, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20–  GALLERY TALK  at the PRINCIPLE GALLERY  in ALEXANDRIA- 1 PM

Come on info a lively talk on art and stuff and you might win this painting!

There Will a Drawing For This Painting at the Gallery Talk on Sunday

There Will a Drawing For This Painting at the Gallery Talk on Sunday

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