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Friday, August 5, 2011

Final summary of Bill Cone workshop. . . . . . .

Still thinking about this  very incredible week, and its hard not to want to share it all with you.  As we know, I do have a lot of words to share!    This picture is just another one I have of the buttes in evening time, taken from the boat loading area.    Tuesday began early with 7 o'clock breakfast, making our lunches ourselves, then a discussion of where to go.  Bill wanted to talk about " Atmosphere"  and getting those effects into your work.   We car-avaned down a few miles into the valley floor, (Sierra Valley) to better see these effects thru  distance.  Looking into the sun's light, and placing mountains in its path, we could see how they " Blue" with distance, become both cooler and lighter as they regress back from the viewer, into the picture plane.  Painting this with the correct value's and color was this morning's job.

We were in the small town of Sattley,  and set up right along side of the road.  Many of us painted about the same scene as it lay out before us, with just a little different angle depending on where you set up.   Bill painted, then went from easel to easal to see how we each had done, and he offered the right comments to each of us.   Mine went OK only  - and he helped  me "complete" my view so to speak.    I have to show you one of the others work for this exercise, - - -Diane Olivier, who is an artist from San Francisco really painted a "Fresh" piece.  Using a white Lenox paper, she captured this area very well.  The white paper did leave small specks of white showing thru which made this work sparkle.  Most of us used the Twilight Canson with bits of that showing thru which made it more muted, and in some cases, helped with the atmosphere we were capturing.  I thought Diane's' work to be very eye-catching and bold.

bridge over North fork of the Yuba river,
The group, after a steep hike down to the Yuba River.  It was roaring, but beautiful.  This was the only part of the whole trip that caused me concern, and that was because my gear was STILL  to difficult for me to pack.  It was steep, with dirt that made you slip and my poor 1/2 french easel was a bit large for me to handle with my back pack and all.   Some of the others had a difficult time as well, and painted from the bridge.  Some of the rest, including Bill, went a bit lower, and was right by the water.  I tried that and didn't do very well at all and left my easal up above on the trail.   This is what Bill accomplished in a very short time:

Beautiful, and a good lesson for me as I was very close to him.   He looks for that light, that touches everything and makes it "Wake up"  In this one, the sun's ray's were beginning to come up the canyon that the water falls down, lighting this little pool along the edge of the river.  He painted fast, but pretty accurately.   I tried a scene of the falling water, gave up and hiked back up the trail.   I felt out of my comfort zone, which is what this was about for me - - -I really need to look at, and paint more water.   While up on that upper trail, I came across this!

In  the red box, is the rattles.  It coiled, and was ready to strike.  I tried the zom on my new camera, and then got away from there!   For the rest of the afternoon, I and Patty Kellner, took a drive to one of the neighboring towns to look around, then went back to Lower Sardine and painted - - then back to camp.  The falls really wasn't all that easy of a place to paint from, but Bill sure did a great job!

This above painting is a sample of Bill's  small pieces that he does when he is studying a place - -maybe for the first time, or an idea, or theme--from life,  just a study and very good practise in looking at the subject and the light and how you might get it painted.   Each of these he has done were just spectacular, small interesting light filled pieces.  He takes out a 9 x 11 sheet of paper mostly, then if its to be a study, just uses a section of it - -and again for another study.   Good advise.

One afternoon was spent at another beautiful lake,  Salmon Lake.   The people who enjoyed swimming, did for awhile, and others just found a good place to paint from.  It was beautiful, and as the day passed, I sat on a rock next to another lady, then Bill joined us in the shade, and we all, including Dado painted this rock which was hit by light and sitting in the lake.   Surprising on how close all the painting were, until it came to depicting the top of the water which was also hit by light, but rippling in the breeze.  You naturally want to try and paint each rippling edge you see, one side in blue from the sky, and one side dark like the water - - - very confusing.   I knew others were stopped at this point as well as I - -and  I did remember to 'squint" my eyes as I looked at this - - -and darn, problem solved!!   As you squint your eyes, the light all blended together as a colorful gradient coming down the lake toward you and gave you the solution of how to paint that.    This is exactly what Bill did, and his gradient was beautiful - -as was DaDo's who also included in his a tree that was perfect  on the left-hand side of his work.   This was a great lesson, and learning curve.

 The last day came surprisingly fast, and I was not ready for that but all good things do end.  We placed all our paintings on the side of the dinning hall for a final critique  with Bill  how was always fair and helpful.    

Here he is, just looking at all the paintings - - -each of us had done at least 7 to 8 - - -I also did , but won't post those!   I have them along with my notes in a tracing paper pad to refer back to from time to time.      I also want  to post the works done by a young artist from Toronto, Ontario Canada who came all the way down here to paint with and see Bill's work and to see him work.   Dalibor Dejanovic  will be I am sure, a up coming new artist and will do very well in his career.  I was very glad to see his work and to meet him.

Look at these closely and enjoy them.   They are really nice pieces.   He will have  a great future - - -and he also works in animation, but in Canada.  Sounds like a great field to be in for sure.   Well, this concludes my artful week with Bill Cone.   I am so pleased that I got to go and enjoy and try to learn form this instructor who will also become a big name in Fine Art , in pastels when he choose to loose his day job and be an artist full time.    He did tell us he will be perhaps in a gallery in Colorado, Abend Gallery, and I think this a good move for him.   That gallery has other really good artists and names with it.   I do wish him well , and a great future as Fine Artist ahead!!!!


  1. Ida, this looked like an amazing workshop. I feel a little bit jealous, but very happy to read through your thoughts. At workshops I seldom am able to paint anything good, but all of that information somehow comes out of me later. I think the ideas and techniques take time to percolate, wish I was there with you, maybe sometime in the future.

    your friend,


  2. I can 'hear' the joy you experienced attending this workshop in what you write! I'm happy that you took advantage of this opportunity.