My neighbour alerted me to a couple of guests in my backyard last week. A storm had taken down yet another branch from our willow tree – and this tree has been struggling for a while. Needless to say, the break exposed a buffet for these two pileated woodpeckers. There are lots of these around, but I have never seen the big ones together before – usually only one at a time – so this was a treat to capture. Obviously, my presence was known and unwelcome!
One of the things I think is very important for me as an artist is to expose myself to the work of other artists. To be an artist is to be in a constant state of learning and development. Working on my own, I can get stuck and I don’t always find solutions for some of my painting problems. Watching another artist work can be both inspiring and excellent for problem solving. It is not always possible for me to attend workshops with the painters I admire – some are all the way in Florida (Linda!) and some are even further. I am not one for flying much anymore, so if I can’t drive there… well…. So technology is a wonderful thing – and so is the DVD.
I have often struggled with reflections and water. Part of the problem was the short window of open working time for acrylics and part of it was how to interpret the abstract nature of the reflections themselves. With the introduction of Golden Open Acrylics, the issue of the medium might well be solved, so the next thing was to find someone that does great water.
In my search I came across Jay Moore, a Colorado landscape painter, who just so happens to have made a DVD that includes painting water at a large scale. Jay’s work is very realistic and his handling of colour is remarkable. After touring his site, I was very impressed and excited to learn from him.
In his DVD, “From the Field to the Studio”, Jay demonstrates how to bring a small plein air field sketch into a large studio painting with the support of both a journal and photos. One of the challenges of realist painters is to determine which details are of importance and which are best left unrefined. Jay makes these decisions look easy and communicates his methods in a way that is easy to understand. Jay focuses his efforts on painting the way the eye sees – the importance of opposites and the use of texture and progressions. Jay demonstrates how to move the viewers eye around the painting to create realism that reflects that of the human eye as opposed to the camera.
Autumn Reflections, White River (demonstration painting) © Jay Moore
The program was a little over 4 hours and full of wonderful tips to keep in mind as well as techniques. This DVD is not for the beginner in my opinion, but, more directed at the intermediate painter looking to enhance their skills. I found it brought some of my design knowledge into the context of fine art and I immediately was able to apply the lessons to my own work. Jay’s background is as a graphic designer and illustrator, so the approach was very familiar to me.
The DVD, “From the Field to the Studio”, is the second in his series, and I recommend it highly to landscape painters that seek to paint realism.