Thursday, September 13, 2012

Don Demers Workshop in Falmouth

Don Demers held a three-day workshop in Falmouth, Mass., which is on Cape Cod, in early September. I was one of twelve people who managed to get into the workshop, which is in high demand. As soon as I heard about it, I signed up. It was a wonderful three days of painting, with lots of information and great places to paint. The Falmouth Art Association hosted the event. They have a new building that has wonderful gallery and classroom space and is large, bright and airy. Don brought samples of his work, mostly small studies of different landscapes and seascapes. He uses these studies to expand his knowledge. He turns some into larger paintings. Don spent a little time in the mornings talking about his style of painting and some of the wisdom that he garnered over the years as an artist.
Each day, we drove to a different seaside location to paint. Don would do a demo, all the while explaining his methods as he paints. I found the charcoal three-value thumbnails a great way to look for values in a view and to plan a painting. There were some things that I had seen and heard before from other artists and in other workshops, but it was great to hear them again. It helped to reinforce my thinking. I was struck by how deliberate his planning was for each painting, including how important the composition and design was. He advocates using a viewfinder and really paying attention to shapes, patterns, and rhythms.
His ocean waves demo was captivating, though the wind was pretty intense that day. His deliberate interlacing of light and dark elements was fun to watch. I highly recommend attending one of his workshops if you can.