Saturday, March 21, 2009

William Wray Workshop in December 2008

For beejane, because she was curious:

William Wray held a one-day workshop in December of 2008 in conjunction with his show at the Bakersfield Museum of Art which I was able to attend. (It was a hot show by the way!) The workshop was hosted by the Bakersfield Art Association. I am posting what I did as several people have asked me about it. What he had us do was color notan studies, mine were each approximately 3" x 4" in size, evaluating and laying down the major values and colors in the scene, then modifying by warming the side where light strikes the subject and cooling the shadow side, adding additional details to complete the composition. We worked small and repeated the study of each subject until we felt that we were able to represent it to our satisfaction. We painted at one location in the morning and another one in the afternoon. Although the weather was cooler than I am used to which made my Holbein paint both mix and spread too much like refrigerated butter (argh!), I had a great time. Hand or back warmers are definately going to get stuck to the bottom of my pochade box next time.

I am very glad that I went back to look at and scan these today for posting as I am still trying to fully incorporate these principles in what I paint every time out of the box and I needed to be reminded of a few things.

Show and Tell:

I have learned more about composition from photographer, Craig Tanner's, "Daily Critique" videos than in all the art classes I have taken, except perhaps Kay Mortenson's figure classes eons ago. Although the feature is aimed at photographers, all artists will find plenty of information there for them. Viewers of his videos send in their own photos in the hope that one of theirs will be selected for his in depth, "In a perfect world...", critiques. I used to subscribe to them from his old site, Radiant Vista, via iTunes podcasts, but that site is no more nor is the feed to the older podcasts currently available through Apple. However, Tanner now has a new site, The Mindful Eye, and the videos can be watched in higher resolution on the day posted for free registered membership, or lower resolution via Youtube indefinitely. Check out his other features on TME too.


  1. Thanks, Vicki. I really appreciate these notes as well as the longer ones on wetcanvas. And I'm glad you included some pictures. I finally understand what Bill wanted; big masses. Big. Cut it right done to light and dark. Big shapes. Then use warm and cool to start separating. Bill sounds like a knowledgable and caring teacher and it would be good if he could do more workshops. Thanks for the link to the photographer as well. It sounds like another good place to get good teaching.

  2. Yep, 3 major values, two if that is what there is. That is why I talked about massing of your trees on the barn picture. If you read what he has said in various places, you see that he recommends very few sky holes as well--the tendency for them to attract more attention than is appropriate, get finicky, is high. Kevin MacPherson says that the edges of a mass give the viewer enough information to infer leaves rather than trying to render them. You handle paint much better than I am able at the moment so could institute the information much faster, Barbara.

    I think time is a major, major issue for Bill right now, between FT work (which I understand is being pretty demanding at the moment) and keeping up quantity and quality of painting output. I don't think he gets much sleep at the rate he is cranking them out. Galleries are also NOT doing any promoting and he has to do all of that as well. I asked him about teaching when I got the studio tour it seemed that time and being able to make it pay (enough students consistently) was the issue.

    Thanks for you comments, Barbara. Keep coming back.

  3. Hey Vicki--A lot of people started to "get It" that day, but you were one of the best listeners.