Montego Bay Painting Workshop #3

November is such a beautiful month; the weather cools down, the light becomes more mellow, and northern birds migrate to our warm islands to feed in our lush gardens, filling them with song. No better place to enjoy the season than in Niki Delicious’s hillside home in Montego Bay, where we were invited to return and conduct the third Young at Art On the Road Painting workshop.

This workshop differed from the first two (which covered the basics of color mixing and painting a simple face), as we moved on to the beautiful but challenging Fayum portraits. A fascinating juxtaposition of Greco-Roman painting and Egyptian sarcophagi from 2000 years ago resulted in hundreds of sophisticated portraits, and we began our workshop looking at a slide show of some of my favorites.

A demonstration of the importance of TONES in a portrait was explored by selecting a color photocopy of a Fayum portrait, analyzing it for the predominant colors, and choosing only two colors which we could mix with white to create tones. We spent the rest of the morning exploring endless tones by painting Tonal Targets:

Stefan

Stefan

Niki

Niki

After lunch we continued with drawing our chosen Fayum portrait, most of which were painted in a slight 3/4 pose, which we observed, and we also looked closely to identify tonal subtleties:

Niki

Niki

Caroline

Caroline

Stella

Stella

Bruce's Tonal Target

Bruce

Stefan

Stefan

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Gail

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Sharon

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Tammy

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Heather

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Ricky

Shelley

Shelley

Stephanie

Stephanie

Andie

Chris

It was a day of concentration and focus, so at the end of it the group relaxed,gathering beside the pool, surrounded by orchids, and quietly watched a demonstration aimed at connecting the tonal subtleties on the Fayum portraits with the tones explored with the Tonal Targets earlier in the day.

The next morning this demonstration was repeated, with a different portrait as a guide, and then the whole day was spent painting. The results are beautiful:

Ricky

Ricky

Andie

Andie

Sharon

Sharon

Tammy

Tammy

Gail

Gail

Caroline

Caroline

Stephanie

Stephanie

Stella

Stella

Shelley

Shelley

Niki

Niki

Chris

Chris

Bruce

Bruce

Stefan

Stefan

At the end of this long day we gathered poolside once again, in front of an amazing display of re-interpreted Fayum portraits.

Gathering on Sunday afternoon...

Gathering on Sunday afternoon…

It is extraordinary to me that the vast majority of workshop participants had only ever painted at the previous workshop, or in school many decades ago – the work is so brilliant! There is so much talent and ability waiting to be tapped, so much individuality hungry to be expressed, so much appreciation for the world of art ready to be expanded, and so much enjoyment and delight in the learning!

It is truly an honor and a privilege to be in a position to share my own passion with so many others – give thanks!

 

 

 

“The Dance”

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“The Dance” Oil on canvas, 41″ x 37″

This piece is meditation on this journey of life. It’s therefore also about death. The word ‘death’ is collaged onto his chin, and it’s a reminder that death can happen at any time. Rather than something to be scared of, to shy from in fear and avoid, by accepting the reality of death we can embrace life as supremely precious and valuable.

I read something this morning that expresses a perspective so well: “Most humans believe that you come into these bodies and you live for a little while and you get it right or you don’t and then you leave, when really what is happening is you are eternal. You never really leave.”

When we are in a awareness of the transience of life, and accept that passing through death is just a passing, and nothing to be afraid of, we are in a state of grace. We can shed fear. Staying in that ‘posture’, that  connection, our trusting angelic self is expressed, and then Life’s journey can be a synchronistic dynamic dance of interaction, of joyful movement, of self-awareness.

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detail

This piece was begun a few years ago, and worked on again a fortnight ago, and perhaps it still will evolve a little more. Sometimes, often in fact, an oil takes years before I know how it’s to complete. Revisiting in this way brought me back internally to the place and time when I first started working on it. I was dancing at the time, with choreographer Tony Wilson, a very joyful learning experience! The model for this piece was one of his professional dancers, hence the piece is called “The Dance”.