This is part 2 of the 2011 IAPS recap by our treasurer, Anne Kiefaber. Read Part 1: The Setting.
The room was quiet except for the scratching of pastel on sanded surfaces or the teacher quietly giving advice to a student. Concentration was high as each student was trying his/her best to become a better landscapist or figure painter. Sometimes one could hear murmurings among certain students as they attained a good point. This was a typical workshop at the convention.
From a learning point of view, the IAPS convention offered an abundance of choices for learning and inspiration. First of all was the quality of the presenters, some of the greats of the pastel world: Maggie Price, Albert Handell, Doug Dawson, Bill Hosner, Alan Flattman, Elizabeth Mowry and Richard McKinley, to name a few.
Workshops in landscape, portraiture and figure were added for the first time this year and I am sure they will be repeated as they were quickly filled.
Richard McKinley gave a two-day workshop, using underpainting in a pastel painting, Clark Mitchell gave one on vibrant skies and water and Desmond O’Hagan gave a workshop on raising the level of one’s pastel painting. Margaret Evans was offering a landscape workshop in the mountains at the end of the convention, which sounded like fun to me. Others like Kim Lordier, offered a one day workshop on painting snow–what a great idea when it was so hot! Margaret Dyer gave a workshop painting the figure.
Luana and I decided to watch demonstrations instead of doing a workshop, so on Friday we chose to see how Claudia Seymour painted her classic still-lifes. Her demo “The Beauty of Light” was quite good. She had set up an elaborate still-life with artichokes, a basket of eggs, a tall pitcher of vinegar as well as a bottle of tabasco sauce and a copper saucepan. A stick of butter was in the saucepan and a set of measuring spoons was hanging overhead to break the line.
She had pre-drawn several steps of her process and would demonstrate her way of setting in the darks first then the brightest local color so she could ‘see’ it. She was very well prepared and organized and her humorous approach was interesting and fun. I also felt for her because she was set up on a small stage along with her set up, lights, a camera. They had provided screens so if the artist blocked your view, you could still see what she was doing. I was really impressed with this artist and her work is incredible considering she has been doing this for a relatively short time.
Our next demo experience was not so successful. It was Rae Smith’s demonstration on different kinds of mist. The first was early morning mist and the second was evening mist at the beach, but I never made it to the third. This artist does not draw but uses shapes to start her pieces and she did not explain her process but depended on questions to orient her demo. I was surprised since she is the president of the pastel society of America and she teaches as well.
On Saturday, we attended Richard McKinley’s demo which was well organized and fabulous although we both questioned his use of pencil to do his under-drawing.
Finally, our last demo was Duane Wakeham’s talk on the use of color as value and sometimes as shadow. He used a power point of many different award-winning artists to show how they used their color in their paintings. This was very interesting and one thing Luana and I noticed was that most of the winning paintings had primary colors as a dominant color.