Workshop Recap: Dreama Tolle Perry, April 2011

Now that I have this fancy schmancy blog, I can recap some of the past workshops I have attended! First up, the fabulous Dreama Tolle Perry. I took Dreama’s workshop in April of 2011. Since this was my first art workshop, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but it was such a great experience and I definitely took away many methods which I continue to employ when I paint. This workshop was especially enjoyable since so many of my friends and fellow painters from Artists on Main were there…there’s never a dull moment when the Rowdy Room is in full force!

We started each day circled around Dreama’s easel as she walked us through each step of the day’s painting. Then we returned to our easels and got to work. Dreama circulated throughout the room to provide individualized instruction and feedback.

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Left photo: Dreama helping my friend and fellow artist, Jeanne, with her painting.

Right photo: Had to throw this one in for fun. Two of my fellow Rowdy Room artists, Karen and Gina (or as some know her, Gina). If you think they look serious here, don’t be fooled, they are merely posing for the camera.

This is the beginning of Day 1’s painting — blocking in dark shapes in transparent paints so you don’t have to go back and add your darks later. It’s so important to save the best part — highlights — for last. So many beginning artists, as I have observed and been guilty of myself, try to start adding light values straight out of the gate. Establishing your darks when you first begin a piece is of monumental importance.

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This is my painting after step 2 — adding in some medium values, mixing transparents with opaques, and defining shapes, all the while not completely losing the dark values.

Day 1 part 2

Here is my finished product once all highlights and the final touches were added:

Day 1 part 3

The first day, we all painted the same thing. Here are our finished paintings! I love to see the many different interpretations of the same painting. Can you find mine???

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Day 2 was much like Day 1. Dreama demonstrated and explained her methodology, then we painted. We all painted the same painting again and further practiced the methods we learned on Day 1. This is my painting (left) along all of the group’s paintings together (right):

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Day 3 was a bit different. If you have ever taken a workshop with Dreama, you will recall her signature event of ‘Musical Easels.’ For this activity, we were each given a different reference photo to tape to our easel, then Dreama instructed about half of the group to tape their picture upside down. When the music started (‘I Gotta Feeling’ by the Black Eyed Peas on repeat), we worked fast and furiously to lay down the base of our painting. When Dreama called out “Switch!” we had to move to the next easel carrying only our paint brush, and then started working on that painting where the previous person had left off. We were given free rein in that we could do anything, yes anything, we wanted to any painting. This went on for about an hour as we moved from easel to easel. By the time we each made our way back to our own painting, it was a finished work of art! At this point, we were allowed 3 brush strokes to bring our painting together, if needed, or to add any final highlights.

This exercise may sound like it was all fun and games, however, there were some great lessons to be learned and they are as follows:

Lesson Number One – FREEDOM!!! You will be surprised at how freely you will paint on someone else’s painting, where as we work meticulously and scrutinize every detail of our own work.

Lesson Number 2 – THINK FAST. This exercise requires that you make split second decisions, thus cutting back on the poring over minute details. We had no idea if we were going to get 2 or 10 minutes to work on a particular piece so we had to think and execute quickly.

Lesson Number 3 – SIMPLIFY. Although the thought may have crossed your mind, Dreama was not crazy for making half of the group hang their reference photo upside down. This really made us look at shapes and shadows rather than getting bogged down with the subject matter.

Most everyone loved their finished product, I however snuck a few more than my allotted 3 final brush strokes to pull my piece together. Shh…don’t tell Dreama! This is my lovely painting from Musical Easels:

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All in all, this was a great workshop and I highly recommend taking from Dreama if you get the chance.

Drema and I

Myself with Dreama.

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