This past week I finally had a chance to revisit “starts” from my five day Richard McKinley workshop in Bend. This was my first experience attending an Art in the Mountains event. Boy, does Tracy Culbertson, workshop coordinator, have the venue of all venues. The Cascades and downtown Bend are a mecca for inspiration. Coupled with a stellar instructor, and companionship of a fellow artist from California it was five days of instruction, beauty, discussion, and determination to go the next mile.
As a plein air painter, the grandeur of the vista can be overwhelming. Having spent hours in the field, I would like to think I am comfortable in the wilds. But the reality is that I still try to depict the scene as I see it. Finally I was given permission to not only move a tree or a mountain but to capture the sencse of place without being wed to the what’s in front of me. In fact.I got to the point afer five days, to turn my easel away from the scene and paint from memory. What a liberating concept!
It all started with some thumbnails to define the shapes, value plan and composition. Then a quick field study, in this case a small 4×6 supplied me with color notes. Now back in the studio, I did a watercolor underpainting, referring to my field notes. After a day in the studio here is where I am so far. And it feels good!