Monday, February 5, 2018

Karen Wooly Offutt workshop

Karen wooly Offutt workshop

Alia El Bermani studio

February 2018


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 canvas. 

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 here.” 

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.”