The workshop in St. Augustine went very well. So much better in November there than it was in August. It was coolish, atmospheric and the Mulee (sp?) grass was in bloom. I’ve never seen mulee grass and I’ve lived in Florida all my life. Really beautiful pinks and mauves, fluffy like a himalayan kitten and great contrast to all the pointy greens of the palms and windblown, sweeping grays of the scrub oaks. I could have painted there a bunch. Anyway the focus of the workshop was on controlled experimentation, painting a thing while consciously pushing one or more of the elements of picture-making: drawing, value, color, edge, paint, etc. As an example, I painted a couple of different scenes in different ways, like high-key/high-chroma, or pushed shape/midvalue/high-chroma, to show how moving out of ones comfort zone would help the artist see what was possible and maybe get them out of whatever rut they are in. I’ll post the board with the four studies on it later but for now I’m putting up a painting or two from the surfology series I did a year ago. The project was to make paintings that told the story of my life growing up on the coast in a way that required me to paint less literally; stylizing shapes, combining narrative elements, painting more abstractly, pushing color.
The project taught me a lot about painting, for one thing while I was painting more abstractly I was freed up to apply paint in a thicker, more broad way. It was a lot of fun. I used narrative elements but broke them up, overlapped them, altered the form, scumbled, scratched and scraped. It showed me how I can use this process more in my plein air painting. I love paintings that are loose and work more from a distance then they do up close. I may not paint this way from here on out but I will incorporate some of the things that came from giving myself permission to play and experiment.