From Wednesday, May 3rd to Saturday, May 6th, 2017, PADASOR was very proud to host an international group from Finland, France and Rome for an intensive oil-painting workshop with the American painter, Charles Weed, that focused on the still-life (skulls and shells) and the portrait. With plenty of enthusiasm and good humor to go around, it was a great pleasure (and luxury) to work diligently from 10:30 to 18:00 for four days straight. Never a surprise, though no less disappointing, when such quality time quickly comes to an end.
I’m sure the take-away for each was unique to her temperament, but allow me to share what I thought to be the principle lessons:
- Start with a palette that puts color temperature immediately in play.
- Make strong statements: don’t let ambiguity compromise your ability to evaluate the precision of your drawing.
- Look for the big shapes/planes of light; don’t let halftones compromise their integrity.
- Carefully consider how the surroundings are affected by that same light source; be aware how the management of those surroundings and their edges with the planes of light affect the continuity of light in the painting.
- Find shadows by building the surrounding lights (as opposed to making the shadows darker–like furrowed brows, darks under eyes, lines under cheeks, etc.).
- Keep the key high; you can easily darken over time.
My thanks to all participants: Paivi, Lisa, Antonella, Joëlle, Mary Ellen and Ludovica. Photos below of the group and the incredible development of each of the paintings.
Finally, speaking as a figurative painter and educator, Charles Weed is one of the finest I know on both accounts. The empirical reasoning and straight-forward specificity of his teachings brings to mind a quote I am rather fond of by the writer David Mitchell: the tighter the straight jacket, the more spectacular the escape, which is essentially a succinct and clever argument for the necessity of rules in art. I am convinced that without rules, there is no craft; without craft, there is no art. Or, as Charles might say, there is no thingyness. (Trust me: it’s more profound than it sounds.)
In essence, Charles is very, very good in helping others to see those rules.
Thank you, Charles, for your precious time, infectious passion, and generous friendship. Until the next time, a toast to the shifty Mississippi and old leather suitcases.
Founder and Director
The Painting and Drawing Art Studio of Rome