Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nelson Shanks Demo at Studio Incamminati Intensive Workshop

The demo begins with a grisaille. This image, taken after the first 20 minutes, shows the beginning of the color block in on the shirt.

Here is the painting after the second break,about 40 minutes. Notice how the model's white shirt shows the effect of the warm, artificial light.

Here is the demo after about 2 hours. Strong color is being developed all aver, and the face is being highly developed.

The audience was able to also see the painting enlarged on a screen to Nelson's left. Nelson isanswering questions from the audience. Student artwork (drawings) from Studio Incamminat are in the center background.

Here is an image from the enlarged screen. Nelson began with very strong color notes in the face. As the painting developed, they did not seem unusually strong, but fit in beautifully. This is always amazing to watch.

Nelson Shank's completed demo of Alexander (last 2 images).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Color Study and Composition for Art Educators

Days 4 and 5
Color study with a clothed model

The students begin their study with a grisaille, keeping the basic shapes simple. Instructor demo is in the center. Each color shape will begin with a strong note expressing the impact of the light. All of the same principles used in the box studies apply (see previous post).

No facial features or wrinkles in the fabric are included at this stage. The students simplify and unify the skin to one color in light, and one color in shadow, and relate the color of the skin to the rest of the colors in the environment, treating it the same as they would any other color note.
Color study as taught at Studio Incamminati is inspired by the work of Henry Hensche and Studio Incamminati founder Nelson Shanks. We work with a full color palette with includes about 22 colors.
For more information about Henry Hensche's teaching methods, check out the article at

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Color Study and Composition Workshop for Art Educators, July 12 -16, 2010

Days 1,2 and 3 Intro to Color Study, "We're not in Kansas any more..."
Box studies

The stage is set. The set ups are very simple to begin with. A single box under warm artificial light, situated so you can see 3 distinct planes. One light source. Simple drapery, one for the bottom plane and another for the background. A cast shadow on the down plane or the back plane adds another color shape. This should create a set up with 6 or 7 different colors to relate, a good starting point.

Start with a grisaille and construct a simple drawing; lightly mass in the shadow shapes. Keep the paint thin. This step should take about 5 minutes. Start with the most easily seen color. It should also be a color that is easy to mix. This is usually a color in the light. Keeping each color shape simple, try to see color as the effect of light on form, not as a "local" color.

Start with strong, simple color statements for each shape, exaggerating each color. Don't spend too much time correcting a color at this point, state it and move on to the next color. Work your way around the canvas, relating each color to the adjacent colors, scanning your eyes back and forth from one color to the next to help you see the color relationship. Color is relative. Work your way around your study until you have stated all of the color shapes. Keep it simple. No variation in the shapes at this point.

Express each plane change as a color change. Don't add brown or black to make a color darker, instead see each plane as a distinct color, influenced by the light source. After your first pass around the canvas, start by making adjustments to each color spot, making them more correct in relation to the surrounding colors. Try to adjust the colors by applying paint directly on the canvas, without premixing on the palette. Use enough paint to really cover the color when you are adjusting it. Use a little stand oil to help subsequent paint layers stick, if necessary. You can use a little medium- stand oil and turp- to get the paint flowing if necessary. When relating one color to another, as yourself the following questions, "Is it warmer or cooler (hue), lighter or darker (value), saturated or dull (intensity)?"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Intensive Workshop- Day 3

Closed Grisaille

Steve and Lea demonstrate beginning with the grisaille.

Steve mixed a color for the lights and began by painting a uniform low value in the light mass.

Lea is applying a second pass of a lighter value, beginning to develop the form. For this exercise, she began by mixing three puddles of paint for three values in the lights.

The finished demos.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Intensive Workshop- Day 2

Grisaille and block-in

Students further develop the figure with the block-in by massing in the shadow shapes. Initially the shadows are simplified and massed in as one value. Students add an additional dark value and incorporate the cast shadows as they develop their grisaille.

The concept of the envelope helps students with complex seated and reclining poses.

Summer Intensive Painting Workshop- Day 1

Figure gestures - Grisaille

This week we began our two week summer Intensive Workshop at Studio Incamminati. This workshop, offered each summer, focuses on the figure and gives students the opportunity to learn painting exercises we teach during our full time program including gesture, open and closed grisaille, color study and the combination of these skills into the opening stages of a painting. Lea Wight coordinates this workshop and clearly articulates the following concepts:
"To get the most out of this workshop experience the artist should not expect to master the skills introduced over the period of the workshop but should understand that each one of the skills introduced will take months or years to master. Ideally the artist will come away with their own samples of each skill to use as reference tools. The main principle that guides the painters at Studio Incamminati is to work from macro to micro; from the biggest statement, whether it be in value, gesture or color, to progressively smaller statements. Three important working habits to develop are standing back to see the largest information, scanning to see color relationships and squinting to see value relationships."
Also teaching this workshop are Studio Incamminati instructors Stephen Early, Natalie Italiano, Jafang Lu and Robin Frey.

Day 1- Grisaille Gestures

Students mix the grisaille with burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and a little titanium white. They work on 16 x 20 canvas prepared with a cool grey-blue ground, approximating a mid value. The basic gesture is painted with energy in a few straight lines, using the entire arm, capturing the essential abstract movement of the pose. Simple landmarks are added, such as a directional line across the shoulders. Shadows shapes are blocked in adding mass, and lights are wiped out, correcting shapes. Students are encouraged to emphasize the movement of the pose.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ellen Eagle Workshop - Portrait Painting in Pastel

Ellen Eagle taught a 5 day workshop, Portrait Painting in Pastel, at Studio Incamminati in June 2010.

Ellen Eagle (center) with Studio Incamminati students.

Ellen Eagle demonstrating pastels.

Artist's Statement:
"I paint portraits in pastel. My portraits evolve slowly, during a series of sittings. I don't like to talk much when I work. I like my model to almost forget I am there. Inevitably, during the course of the sittings as the model drifts deeper into his or her own thoughts, he or she experiences deeply felt emotions. And though I respond to the body's genuine expression of those emotions, I am aware that he or she is engaged in private thoughts to which I am not privy.
I strive to express my response through acute observation. Fidelity to my subject's particular qualities is very important to me. Of course, I see through the filter of my own temperament.
I always work in natural light. The most exquisite expression of light I have seen is in the radiance of flesh. The timeless and fleeting human subject as seen in the eternal and ever changing natural light".

Ellen Eagle