Last week I had the privilege of taking a two-day workshop from Australian artist Colley Whisson. The workshop took place at Leiper’s Creek Gallery in historic Leiper’s Fork, TN, a charming little town full of art galleries, restaurants and shops. My friend, Karen, from Artists on Main was also at the workshop. We were able to get a lot accomplished since our other two Rowdy Room compadres (not mentioning any names here) were not in attendance.
Colley began the workshop by discussing the supplies he works with and then took us through the day’s painting in step-by-step fashion. He circulated throughout the room and gave each person very individualized attention as we each worked on our paintings. Colley really stressed color versus value in saying that if you get the value right, the color doesn’t matter so much. “Value does all the hard work, but color gets the credit.” – Colley
Day two was much like day one in that Colley demonstrated each step of the painting and then came around to help each of us as we worked on our own pieces. He talked a lot about the methods of creating focal points in paintings and using lines to lead the viewer’s eyes where you want them to go. He said that if you have your artwork hanging somewhere and people just walk right by, you lack a focal point. This is definitely something I want to learn more about.
It is always fascinating to learn about the different supplies – brushes, paints, paint colors, brands, palette knives, canvases, boards, panels, palettes, mediums etc… – used by each artist I have studied under as well as their methods of approaching a painting. I have not yet painted with two artists who paint exactly alike or use the exact same supplies. When I first learned to paint, I was blind to fact that there were multiple ways to go about painting. I thought the way I learned was the only way until I started taking workshops and discovering that there is more than one way to skin a cat when it comes to art. What I have come to realize and accept is that there is no one right way to paint. You as an artist have to find the supplies and methods that work for you and that you are comfortable with. Do what feels right, do what comes naturally to you. Don’t try to make yourself work in a method that feels foreign to you.
Thursday evening, Colley did an hour-long painting demonstration at Leiper’s Creek Gallery which was open to the public. It was a nice way to end the workshop by bringing full circle all that we had learned. This was truly a fantastic workshop – great location, great teacher, great workshop attendees. I can’t say enough good things about Colley as a teacher and artist. His paintings are absolutely stunning and they really capture the viewer’s attention.