I semi-impulsively signed up for a local two day painting workshop with Susan Hotard. I admire her paint handling- there is obvious care and intent in how she handles light and there is a sense of joy, almost care-freeness in her loose brush work. I had some apprehensions about attending the workshop- primarily $, time, and what the parking situation would be since the studio is in the city and I am devoid of paralell parking skills. Somehow all these things worked out well- a collector bought work online which basically covered the workshop for me and when I called to ask what the parking situation looked like Susan told me I could call her and she would come and park for me herself!
As it turned out there was plenty of space on the side roads. The workshop spanned two days, 8 hours a day. The time flew by. We had 2 different models, Susan did demos for us and talked a lot about her process.
In contexts like these I find myself eager to follow instructions, I am aware that I can only get as much out as I put in (attention wise) and know I am not there to paint how I normally would. It is really interesting to take an experience that is common and regular for us and see it through someone elses eyes and how it takes on foreign qualities.
Also it is really heart warming to be in a room where people give a fuck about the same thing as you. Hearing people sigh about mid tones or get really excited about the highlight on a forehead is refreshing for me. Over time this is something I have come to love more and more about classical painting approaches, I am glad to not be working in a vaccuum where it's up to me to discover everything for the first time. (Although- in another aspect- that is inevitable.)
My main take aways were:
-The use in making 'posters' -Basically reducing all shadows down to clear blocks out areas in the begining of a painting. And then keeping those light and shadow areas clearly distinguished.
A phrase susan said a number of times: 'It's easier to tame a wild horse than to bring a dead one back to life'
(Which is painting means- go a bit wild and messy and chaotic at first, with passion, it's more possible to rein that in than to be overly cautious in the start and then try to liven it up toward the end.)