portrait workshop at GCCA

Late last week that I was invited to partake in a portrait painting workshop with Anthony Conway at Greenville Center for Creative Arts over the weekend. The workshop was an intense session of live-model painting. I only made it to two of the three sessions, but completed 3 paintings. I was introduced to the qualities of the painting medium, maroger, which we were instructed to use on the canvas before any paint. It wets the surface really well, and made the process of plotting out the gesture much quicker.

My oil portrait of local photographer and artist's model, Eli Warren.

My oil portrait of local photographer and artist's model, Eli Warren.

Another surprise to me was the consideration of skintones as gray above all else. I generally think of a grayscale grisaille as totally separate from a color layer, but that doesn't work for an immediate alla prima method. The grey certainly puts emphasis on areas of color, and I will continue painting with that notion in mind.

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There were three high school students in the workshop, made able to attend by a gracious sponsorship by the Beach Ball Foundation, and supplies for them provided by M. Graham & Co., and Suburban Paint. It was exciting to see them dive in with seemingly less inhibitions than the adult students. It especially made me recall how I approached painting at that age and how I came to understand certain techniques and observational skills, but also my frustrations with painting & my expectations of my own ability, then versus now.  It's not a smooth road, that's for sure.