The photo above is me on Day Three of a workshop with Stapleton Kearns. Days One and Two we had no sun and quite a few snow flurries–the more prudent of us stayed on the porch to paint. Stape set up in the field, however. We would start each morning by watching Stape paint. It’s called a “demo”–demonstration, not demolition. Stape is really good at narrating what he’s thinking about, and that is often not about the painting. I guess he doesn’t need to be thinking about the painting to paint a good painting. Makes painting look easy! Here is a photo of Stape setting up on Day One, and another of him critiquing another artist on the porch. Our location was the Sunset Hill House, in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire.
I worked on a single 16 x 20 painting on the first two afternoons. Between the bad lighting on the porch and the weather itself, it took me that long to find my color balance.
After Day Two
Take note of the tree on the left. It reappears in every scene–including the one with me in the foreground. The third day, we finally enjoyed sunlight and views of the mountains, although it was bitterly cold.
I forewent the demo and set myself up in the deep snow to paint the scene above, which is very close to what I painted on the third day last year. Here is last year’s version:
The stone wall was missing this year. Probably not removed, just buried. The innkeeper had remarked on this winter’s gentler winds; normal winds might have exposed the stone walls.
As happens many times, I plan to apply perfecting touches to this painting. Right at the end of my day, I realized that the horizontal surface of the snow was not white. The low hanging winter sun was catching the mounded up snow in a dazzling light that really drove the point home. So the next time you see this painting, quite a bit of the snow surface will be shaded back.
Stape wants us to eat our meals together at his workshops and enjoys his role as our leader, being entertaining and informative at the same time.
Saturday night we were joined at dinner by a person who has become something of a celebrity to Stape’s regular workshoppers–Stape’s wife Kathleen. She was entirely as likeable as Stape had declared. Here is a picture of her next to me at dinner in the “Pub”. Behind me is Nita Casey.
Nita gave me a ride to and from Sugar Hill, on her way from and to Pepperell, Massachusetts. Nita is a “Daily Painter”, and specializes in watercolors. Like me, Nita does not usually paint vistas. Quite a few of Stape’s loyal followers were not there to learn how to paint like Stape, but rather to take it all in a spirit of adventure. The power to observe colors and values can be honed in any kind of painting.
A plug for the venue: The food at the Sunset Hill House was superb this year, and, like last year, I luxuriated in a whirlpool bath each night before hitting the sack. My room had no TV (or phone), but following a day outside in frigid temperatures, then a huge dinner (with wine), and a long soak in the hot tub, who can stay awake?