It took a while for me to actually see that rivers have a lot of brown in them. It's all that mud on the bottom, and the rocks below, and shade around them. Here in New England, a lot of the water I look at is blue, or deep gray, or sometimes that dark green/blue/gray. If you're from around here, you know what I mean.
The rivers out in Idaho are a different thing entirely. In the foreground they tend to be a warm sepia tone, then they darken up in the mid-ground. And far, far in the distance they are often light, reflecting the sky.
It's too much for a girl from these parts to comprehend. I'm going to search out some of my local rivers and see how they behave. It's high time to check out the newly renovated Deerfield Inn, which had it's own troubles with river waters. And I can usually lure John into a ride if it ends with Bub's Barbecue in Sunderland, MA.
I'll be sure to post my findings.
It's been a few weeks now, and I've had some time to digest the whole Christensen experience, which is a good thing. I'm amazed by painters who can go from one workshop right into the next. Not me, I need that post-workshop time to appreciate what I saw and heard. To cogitate, so to speak.
There seems to be a considerable amount of art book buying that goes on apres workshop as well. It's no coincidence that books about Zorn, Sorolla and Carl Rungius have recently been added to my studio library. Joining them is a beauty of Scott Christensen's, with a personal inscription, I might add. I'd like to tell you what he wrote, but that will remain between Scott and me.
Exhibit B was executed on a bright, clear afternoon up in Tetonia. The entire class descended onto a lovely piece of property owned by an artist and friend of Scott's named Bart Walker. He allowed all nineteen of us to set up camp and spend the afternoon painting some of the prettiest stands of trees in southern Idaho. Trees bordering wide open fields of long grass. When I asked about ticks, the natives thought I was kidding. They have no worries about Lyme disease whatsoever. (I thought about mentioning Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but decided against it. I did not want to appear fragile...) Being so cold in the winter and so dry in the summer has it's rewards!
It was there, on the edge of a beautiful field, that I discovered the many benefits of using an umbrella. It flies in the face of my mantra to TLWPAP (travel light when plein air painting), but it was sorely needed for the palette and the painting. When you hear "blinding sunshine", you should think "Tetonia, Idaho in June". The umbrella allowed me to see what the heck I was doing, for better or for worse. It wasn't that the best of paintings that came from this day, but it was undeniably the best day to be painting.
Sidebar: Bart invited us into his studio to see what he does with all that space, sunshine and beauty. Without his permission, I don't want to put a link to his site here on my blog, but if you are interested, how many Bart Walker's can there be in the aforementioned town? Go for it.
The first day, Scott did a bit of lecturing, and it was clear that having just seen the Anders Zorn exhibit in Boston was a very good thing for me. We discussed Sargent, Zorn and Sorolla quite a bit, and their influence in Scott's work was undeniable. My only disappointment came when he showed us his very first attempt at landscape painting... it wasn't nearly as bad as I had hoped. Ah well.
Off we went to grab a lunch and start plein air painting, Idaho-style.
Still waters, open skies and all those mountains were new to me. As you can see from Exhibit A.
It's pretty awesome. He is a great teacher, very generous with his talents and insights. He has the ability to frame a thought in multiple ways, reaching out to whatever learning style may be sitting in the class. I heard metaphors about golf, fly fishing and interior decorating. And if none of those rang your bell, he was ready to show and tell on the easel.This is an example of Scott painting over a study he had knocking around his studio. Yup... painting over it. Actually, by day 6 we all took a shot at it. His painting, not our own. Go figure!
We listened to classical music and discussed Roger Scruton. And to say his work is inspiring, well... you gotta see it to believe it. If you're looking for a quick review, here it is: worth the effort to get there.
And there being Victor, Idaho.
Yes, I know, you want to see what I produced. That's coming tomorrow, but prepare yourselves. I took Scott at his word- these were studies, not finished paintings. If you don't know or aren't sure what that means, you can see for yourself tomorrow.
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