Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jan Blencowe's Tonalist Class Today Was GREAT!

Underpainting for acrylic landscape by Joan Cole  12" x 16"

Today's class at Maple &Main Gallery of Fine Art in Chester was such a treat.  Jan Blencowe began by giving us more background on the Tonalist movement and its place in history.   She read to us from Emerson's essay, "Nature."  She shared a beautiful seven-minute video she had created just for our class, set to music of the period.   Listening to Claude DeBussy's "Reverie,"  we admired painting after painting by Tonalist masters.   An eye-opening experience, the beauty of these landscapes was overwhelming.  Simplified shapes in nature, emphasis on value and atmosphere, softened edges, an appeal to the spirit and emotions of the viewer--these are the characteristics that became evident in these works. 

We did several value studies, using as models postcards that Jan had brought of  well known Tonalist paintings.  We were looking for the BIG SHAPES underlying these beautiful works, and trying to capture them in 5 x 7 studies of 5 to 10 minutes each.  This is NOT my strong point, so it was challenging for me trying to SIMPLIFY sufficiently.  I am more likely to paint each tree in the forest, rather than suggesting the forest.  That was excellent preparation for watching Jan's demo of underpainting the basic shapes in one of her photos, using three basic values.

By the time we got to laying a brush to canvas, I was chomping at the bit.  I'm sharing the results of this first class, so I will be able to show you how it develops tomorrow.  This was my first time using acrylics, as I mentioned yesterday, so it was definitely a different experience for me.  My curiosity is piqued to see just what I can do with these new "tools of the trade."

Stay tuned.

No comments: