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'In any land what is there more glorious than sunlight! Even here in the desert where it falls fierce and hot like a rain of meteors, it is the one supreme beauty to which all things pay allegiance ... The chief glory of the desert is its broad blaze of omnipresent light.'
-John Van Dyke

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Advanced Watercolors with Linda Feltner at the ASDM

Last weekend I attended the Advanced  Watercolor class at the Art Institute of the Arizona Desert Museum. Linda Feltner, the teacher, is a friend with whom I share many interests besides painting.
Top left:  Linda's own demonstration pieces. It was interesting to see how she let the first washes suggest the direction each painting would take.
I'm not sure at all that I like my juicy colors here, and I wished the mountains would stay in a greater distance
For most of our exercises we used reference photos, but they were smartly chosen to keep us from copying them too closely: they were underexposed or strangely proportioned, but all of them had an area of interest that deserved to be developed or just posed interesting problems. Accordingly, the results produced by seven students, all of different backgrounds and skill levels, were refreshingly different from each other.

This creek with its origin in distant mountains reminded me of some Norwegian Tundra setting.
 I am no great landscape painter and the mood of the suggested photos was as far from our brilliant Arizona desert light and sculptural succulent vegetation as you can get. In addition, I challenged myself to use Linda's pallet with a dominance of earth tones. So I was way out of my comfort zone. The outcome was a little unpredictable but thought provoking. The best, as with any good teacher, was of course the critique session when the paintings were all lined up on the wall. 

Maybe inspired by our unusually wet spring, I had played around with cloud formations over the last weeks. So the concept that clouds are not just amorphous wisps but have body, edges and perspective was not altogether new to me. The sky part of this little painting was thrown together and critiqued in less than an hour and a half, but I liked doing it. At home I felt the urge to push it a little further towards a finished painting. The cowboy and dog just wanted to ride into it, but seemed a little too cliche - so I did them on my computer - a brush full of pixels and a new file, but the original painting is still untouched and unspoiled and open to all kinds of other solutions

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