Meeting Notes, October 15, 2015

At today's meeting Loretta, Tim, Charlie, Betsy, Teresa, Marty T, Jerry, Joanne T, Tom, Peggie, Stephanie, Marty D, Vicki, Kristina, Za, Kay, Carrie, Loretta L, Ward and me, Celeste

Today's suggested table topic: Highlights in painting or drawing. What can you tell us about highlights? 

Celeste: Quite some time ago Eric Jacobsen recommended books and videos by an artist named Helen Helen VanWyk. Some of her work looks a little dated now, but her books and videos are informative, especially for the new painter. I brought in a book where she described lots of highlights. I also brought in a color chart and a painting I did in Jennifer Diehl's color workshop. She stressed no student paint....ever! (Her color is so clear and fresh). I also brought in a portrait that I did where I thought that the highlight in the eye worked.

Stephanie: I consulted the Internet about this question. I found answers that seemed rather obvious, but also made me think. I read something where it said you make an area lighter by making areas around it darker. Of course! But putting in a highlight ...especially in alla prima painting is a challenge....and you have to think ahead.  It is sure not just a matter of adding white. Some highlights need to be cool on a warm background or warm on a cool background. I brought in a painting that I did yesterday at Cooper Mountain Nature park. My show is up at the Remax office. I brought in a brochure that shows all of their artists. 

Za: The highlight will describe the well as the direction and brightness of the light. You have to be aware about whether or not the surface you are describing is glossy or not. If a highlight is not there it does not need to be put in! Sometimes on the forehead you can see that the highlight is there, but it might not be necessary. If you look at Fechin's work he obviously was very judicious in deciding about highlights. I brought in a recent portrait and also a recent large painting that I have been doing for my upcoming solo show. (It is in-progress, as much as I could get done in three hours). Sometimes when you have a highlight you will put it in, kill it and hit it again. Highlights are important. 
Please come to my first Friday show in November at Art on the Boulevard! (I will bring in cards about this next time). 

Kristina: I was so grateful to Za for her plein air workshop where she taught us about "color shifting". It made me realize that highlights are not just white ...they have a spectrum of colors within them. I brought in a painting that I consider a personal victory of mine. I painted this during the plein air event in Hood River. It was right on the heels of a failed painting. It was a matter of steeling myself to paint another after some discouragement. I did it! In this painting I responded to the scene....and I made the artistic decision to "move" the mountain in order to improve the composition. I like how it came out.

Peggie: I brought in a whole bunch of stuff that I'm going to give away from a studio clean out. I put it on the table over there! Just take whatever you like because I'm going to donate the rest. I brought in a painting of glass apples (from my recent series of glass apples)!. 

Marty D: I brought in this flyer from the Portland Art Museum.  It describes some upcoming events/tours. I will talk more about it later. 

Joanne T: I did a plein air workshop with Jennifer Diehl. This was behind the Lawrence Gallery in Sheridan. I finished a 11 x 14 painting and I put it on the top of my car. I drove away and then later realized that I had driven away with the painting on top of my car! I drove back to where I was and I never found the painting. Someone probably found it I hope so. I decided to paint it again because I had a photograph of the lost painting. I brought in that painting to show you. Also, I have taken a workshop with David Riedel. He helped me a great deal (especially with highlights)! I brought in a painting from the workshop.

Tom: There is an emotional aspect of putting in highlights! It seems to me at the very end when you put in a highlight the painting really comes alive. You need it for dimensionality to accentuate the light and the form. I brought in a recent still-life painting of a pair of shoes. 

Betsy: I brought in this floral. There are not very strong highlights in these flowers....! (Perhaps because of their delicacy/softness). 

Teresa: I have been taking classes with Eduardo Fernandez at the Multnomah Art Center. The mannequin that he uses to teach us indicates all the the planes of the face. It shows so comprehensively where the highlights will go. I have been practicing this. 

Marty T:  I especially like Fechin, however, recently I have discovered Sorolla!  I am just in love with his work. What a wonderful draftsman he was and his highlights are exquisite. He uses complements in order to describe the strong sunlight. 

Loretta Lang (new, Welcome!):  I have I have been taking classes with Jennifer Diehl. I have been painting for three years. Jennifer tells us that you have to "have a home for a highlight". You have to plan for it in advance! It means having a lower value + a lower value and then the highlight. In other words some color must surround the highlight in order for it to read properly. 

Loretta U: I have been told the last thing that you place on the painting -- is the first thing the viewer sees! 

Vicki: When I read today's topic I had sort of a brain freeze I mean-- the highlight? What? (Laughter)! I brought in two vineyard paintings that are recent. 

Tim: What I often don't see in plein air paintings is the blue reflection from the sky into the trees. I spend a fair amount of time in the outdoors and I see this the blue in the trees! But! I think that it is very difficult to indicate in paint. I haven't been particularly successful doing it and I haven't seen it done all that well by others. It is definitely a reflection/highlight. I brought in a studio landscape that I did from memory. 

Charlie: I like what Loretta said about the last thing being the first thing that the viewer might notice. But! I usually muck up the last thing! (Laughter)! When I remember to put in a highlight I know that it helps "describe".

Ward (new, welcome): I am a master of highlights! Because I've been a hairdresser for 30 years! (Laughter)! I've been sitting here thinking about how the discipline of hair coloring has so many parallels to painting. You know, when you are trying to diffuse an area in hair it is very similar to what is being done with paint. Sometimes we have to integrate color, one color next to another in order to make things read correctly...  and to allow the light to reflect back. I didn't bring anything today, but I will next time. 

Jerry: Where it comes to watercolor is white so everything is white. Everything is a highlight. So you really have to be able to think in reverse or think "negatively" and it's interesting and helpful if you do both oil painting and watercolor because you have to have this "cognitive switch" from one discipline to the other. I like vineyards and I recently painted at a place called Garden Valley Vineyard. It is a very quiet place. I am showing you this painting and the blue in the background that comes through the trees seems to be a "highlight" to me. 

Kay: I have been on my East Coast art museum tour! I saw Sergeant at the Met. He sought out the composition and the values so carefully. Talk about knowing what goes where! gah!!  I also went to the Barnes Collection and I saw van Gogh. It just blew me away. I posted about all this on my blog. I spent the summer plein air painting. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps I am not a plein air painter! (Laughter)! Relate, right??  It is difficult. But of course, I certainly understand the value of it. I visited Maine and took a workshop there with Tim Horn. Recently I've been working from photo reference again. Photos are great because then I can make up my own colors. I did this painting thinking about Henri Cartier Bresson (photographer). He describes something he calls "the decisive moment". When I painted this painting that's what I had in mind --- the decisive moment. A second before or second after this image would be different. 

Carrie: I AM the highlight! (laughter)! 


Eunice had surgery on Tuesday....(Eunice, we all hope you are having a super-good and speedy recovery... and we miss you)! 

Peggie Moje' will be painting at the Swan Island Dahlias tomorrow in Canby ---join her!

Brooks Hickerson has planned paint outs for the fall colors (see the calendar in his sidebar):

Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson will be at the Forestry Center Nov 2, 5-6:30 pm  (Thanks, Jerry Dickason), Public invited

Portland Art Museum (great impressionism show)

Au Naturel deadline Nov 7:

Mark your calendars for Za Vue solo show, "Lyrical Expressions" first Friday November 6 at Art on the Boulevard.

Leslie Elder: This weekend at the MJCC in Portland for a "Taste of Art" Saturday night 7-9:30 pm (live band, free libations and raffle tickets) , and for "Celebration of Art" Sunday 9:30 am-4:30 pm.

Rowena Sanford is at the Columbia Art Gallery during October with 33 paintings in the nook. Also, the show "Rain" is up until October 31(Cathleen Rehfeld and others):

Find out about workshops on Facebook:

Clark County Studio Tours: (Khanh N. Huynh,  Hilarie Couture and others)

Portland open Studios continues this weekend (Karen E. Lewis, Joanne Kollman, Don Bishop and others):

Washington Plein Air show continues at Sequoia and check out their classes/workshops too:

That's it for today, thank you for coming in and sharing your ideas and your paintings!

Next meeting Thursday, October 22: Suggested table topic:  "Professionalism" as an artist. Can you describe what you think are the hallmarks of professionalism in an artist? Do you aspire to be professional? Also (bonus question), conversely, can you describe examples of "poor professionalism"?

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