Monday, September 7, 2009

FAS Calvin Liang Workshop

Sauer Beckmann Farm
9" x 12"
oil on canvas board

Let me start by saying day one was TOTALLY AWESOME!!! For really and truly, if you ever get a chance to take a class from Calvin Liang, do it! I kicked myself all morning for not bringing my camera. I wish I had a photo of today's demo to show you. It was beautiful, and so simple, a lot of implied shapes and lines. Just amazing! I aim to paint with that kind of control and confidence.

Above is my painting for today- I took the photo after getting home. I have never tackled dappled sunlight before. It was a little daunting. The shadows kept moving and disappearing and reappearing and rearranging themselves into new patterns.

At one point, I was painting away and feeling a little frustrated and disappointed with my progress, and Calvin came by and said "don't touch this part anymore, and make this cool color warm." Wouldn't it be nice to have someone standing over our shoulders every time we paint telling us how to improve our work? Instead of a Shoulder Angel, it would be a Shoulder Artist. My problem came from trying to paint what I knew and not what I saw. The shadow colors were warm oranges and pale purples, not the blue and greenish-gray I had been using.

So here are some of the things I learned today:

There are 4 elements of painting.
1. Shape
2. Value
3. Color
4. Edges

Always start your painting with a preliminary thumbnail to work out the design. -And don't just copy what you see- create a good design.

Color Structure: Think of the color wheel, and paint with the full circle of colors within highlights, shadows, and mid-ranges. Everything goes in a circle.

Now keep in mind, these are Calvin's tips after being digested by my mind. When you take a workshop from him, I would love to hear what you get from it because we all gather different information.

I am now off to rearrange my plein air set-up... I made the mistake of taking my French easel instead of my Thumbox, because I thought it would be easier to paint on the 9 x 12 canvases. I have a clip for the Thumbox to keep anything larger than an 8 x 10. I'm going back to my beloved itty set-up. Someday I will have a larger pochade box for larger canvases.


Regina Calton Burchett said...

This is a beautiful piece, Sara - and how nice of you to share what you've learned. Vicarious workshops have to suffice sometimes. I'll have to check out Calvin Liang's website too. Thank you!

Karen Hargett said...

I love this piece. Thanks for the tips you learned. I'll be anxious to see more of what you learned and if you recognize you are incorporating what you have learned. Can you take a picture of your plein air set up and post it?

Marian Fortunati said...

Isn't it amazing how he creates such beauty with just a few strokes.

I also found that it was amazing that he uses every color under the sun and still manages to get such lovely greys and the colors all go together so well.

Thanks for the reminder... I remember he did come over to me and remind me about temperatures... Had me add warms or cools where I wouldn't have before. I enjoyed that workshop.

Mark Bridges said...

That is a sweet painting. I couldn't make the workshop this year. So I'll need to see More of ya'lls paintings. It's so cool.

Karen Hargett said...


You've been awarded the Kreativ Blogger Award. You can visit my blog to accept and pass it on to other deserving artists and bloggers.


marcello saolini said...

nice work