Karen wooly Offutt workshop
Alia El Bermani studio
I arrived at Alia’s studio at about 9:30 and most of the
students were there setting up. I only
knew Judy Tacketts and was anxious to catch up with her and talk about her
latest “Chicks with Balls” painting. If
you haven’t seen Judy’s work you much check it out. As I walked in the room I was greeted by Alia
and Karen…the other students introduced themselves as I walked by. It was a welcoming atmosphere. I noticed August Burns and remembered her
from the Portrait Society Conference. I
love her work and may have gushed a bit.
The first day we had a demo by Karen in the AM and then we
painted in the afternoon while Karen walked around and gave us the benefit of
her expertise. Her comments were always
complimentary…but she gently nudged me in the right direction.
During Karen’s demo she talked about her palette. Titanium White and burnt sienna mix her light skin
tones. Burnt sienna and manganese make a
shadow. She will mix one color for a basic
skin tone and then take from that puddle of paint adding colors to make darker
and lighter tones. Karen stressed the
use of optical mixing…when you create paint colors not by mixing on the palette
but through knowledge of color theory and how the eye perceives colors that
abut or overlay each other.
Squint…see shapes and values…place anchor points on the
figure to emphasize areas. Put in all shapes and values…use the same value but
use warmer and cooler colors to turn the form.
Blend on your palette. Colors can get cloudy if you blend on the
A great exercise: do
a small study THEN do a larger piece using the same number of brush
strokes. It helps keep the spontaneity.
There were many quotes throughout the three days.
Karen quoted David Shelvino “We are not dismantling a bomb
Karen’s quote 's included “always paint as if there is not commitment” “break the rules” August Burns chimed in “know the rules…then
break them” “Don’t create challenges you don’t need” “once you get to a certain point in your
painting you have freedom to play” “magic happens in your intuition not in your
logical brain” “Avoid Challenges”
Karen’s quote from a Savvy painter podcast “when the task
and your ability meet you are fully engaged”
And finally the long awaited Vincent Desiderio quote “Great technique
is often on the cusp of collapse under the weight of its own ambition.”