We’d like to welcome our returning and new friends to the 2nd Annual Realism Live! Each day included words of inspiration and guidance from Eric Rhoads and Peter Trippi, followed by hours of instruction and networking among everyone present. Replays are available, so visit RealismLive.com now to access them and/or join us for the rest of the week!
Beginner’s Day Highlights
“The key for realism is understanding values,” said Craig Nelson in the day’s first official session.
Craig uses the Zorn palette, also known as the limited palette, which “allows you to get the feel of full color while focusing on the values.”
One attendee described it as “an enormously important demo.”
In our next Beginner’s Day session, Thomas Blackshear II used the “loose line” technique to create shadows in a realistic graphite portrait and also explained how to establish specific lines and elements for a strong drawing.
Sharon Sprung began with a short tour of her studio, including a rare, special mannequin that has been passed down from artist to artist for about 200 years.
“For the portrait painter, hands are absolutely essential to master,” Sharon said. “Hands are often overlooked because the face is so seductive.” She explained how hands are just as expressive as the face, and gave an in-depth lesson on this critical feature.
In a session dedicated to color theory, Graydon Parrish taught us how to know which paints to pick and mix the color you want, how to organize your palette using the Munsell system, and why it’s helpful to have a Poptart nearby.
And yes, that is a Bougereau painting on the studio wall (more on that to come…)
Luana Luconi Winner painted a pastel portrait in her session, where she gave advice on how to “flatten” the shapes in your reference photo to better understand the values, angles, and more.
In his still life demo, Jeffrey T. Larson explained what to consider as you’re trying to take a three-dimensional object and portray it in a two-dimensional form. He said to think of it as a crossword puzzle by filling in the “easy answers” first, adding, “I’m in no hurry to get to any certain aspect of this.”
Watercolor can be intimidating, but Stewart White explained the ins and outs of painting so you can take away the “freak out factor” and create a beautiful painting of any subject.
In addition to all of the incredible demonstrations above, we also enjoyed mini-sessions from our wonderful sponsors, featuring John Pototschnik with Blick Art Materials, Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, and Pierre Guidetti of Savoir Faire.
Day 1 Highlights from Realism Live
Coming to us live from the studio, Graydon Parrish created flesh tones for a portrait painting, using an actual Bouguereau as a reference.
Graydon went over basics of color theory for those who weren’t in our Beginner’s Day session, analyzed the Bouguereau for us, and explained principles of science to help simplify the painting process.
Throughout the day, we checked in with Graydon as he continued to paint in Streamline’s Dean Pickering Studio.
In her still life demo, Sarah Margaret Gibson explained how to take a monochromatic underpainting and turn it into a fully finished color block-in in a single session, alla prima style.
The artists Melissa Franklin Sanchez and Ramiro share a home in Florence, Italy, and a love of art that has grown only stronger during the pandemic.
Peter Trippi asked them what they are working on now, and the answers may surprise you – from interior scenes painted in oils on copper and brass to the decorating of a Virginia church with multi-figure scenes of saints made in mosaic.
In a session with Vincent Xeus, we learned how he brings together a figurative painting, seeing it come to life before our eyes as he explained his thought process as well.
The artists Lisa Egeli, Andrea Kowch, Jesse Lane, and Teresa Oaxaca have kept very busy during the pandemic making wonderful art of different kinds. In this Realism Live exclusive roundtable, Peter Trippi discovered what they have been doing in their studios and what their forecast for contemporary realist art is.
Wrapping up Day 1, we had the honor of awarding Mary Whyte with the Fine Art Connoisseur Lifetime Achievement Award. She also gave a complete demonstration on how to paint with watercolor, which “relies strictly on timing.”
Mary did a sketch of a friend of hers, who is in her 90s; shared the three colors she uses the most; and offered countless other helpful tips for painting portraits with watercolor.
Our sponsors also did not disappoint – throughout the day we enjoyed a bonus pre-event seminar with Blick Art Materials featuring Zhenya Gershman and later a mini-session with Frank Ordaz; the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association; Savoir Faire with Quang Ho (and his special guest, baby Liam! Congratulations to Quang Ho and Adrienne Stein!); and Michelle Dunaway with Royal Talens.
We closed the night with a fresh Paint Along Cocktail Hour, filled with camaraderie.
Day 2 Highlights from Realism Live
Our first faculty session of the day featured Teresa Oaxaca, who painted live from her D.C. studio as she worked on the largest painting she has ever started. We learned her inspirations, preferences, techniques and saw real-time problem solving. Throughout the day, we checked in with Teresa for updates on her progress.
“In the beginning of a drawing like this, the focus can, and often times should be, about paper awareness.” Dan Thompson explained this in much more detail during his demo of drawing the human torso from life.
From the chat, we enjoyed additional dialogues, such as this nugget:
Q: What was the most challenging part of learning to draw well?
A: Great question. I think perseverance. You’ve got align the study with a feeling of joy and exuberance. It shouldn’t feel like work!
Artist/author Todd Casey walked us through a still life demo of a small Dirty Martini cocktail. His beginning steps? “This was drawn on a piece of paper, then transferred onto a panel. I make a printout, smear paint on the back, tape it to a panel and then use a pen (like a stylus) to transfer the drawing to a toned panel.”
In Joseph Lorusso’s portrait painting demo, he said, “There’s nothing that replaces painting from life; the reality, though, is that it’s difficult … and not very practical, so that’s where photography comes in. Photography is a great tool – if it’s used well, and that’s a big caveat.” He added that you don’t want to use photography as a crutch: “I implore everybody to paint from life, and draw from life, especially.”
Artist and author Sam Adoquei’s session featured a variety of critiques of drawings and paintings submitted by attendees. Throughout his presentation, Sam explained ways each artist could take the work to the next level. He also expressed how in portraits, there are habits we must develop quickly; if we don’t, bad habits could hinder our ability to create a realistic rendition.
Overlooking a city park in Denver, Daniel Sprick demonstrated the use of 2-point linear perspective, which “always throws a wrench in the works when you’re painting on location.”
We also enjoyed bonus seminars and messages from Jeff Olson of Royal Talens, Savoir-Faire featuring Adrienne Stein, Blick Art Materials featuring Frank Ordaz, the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, and Golden Artist Colors. Sponsors, we thank you for helping to make Realism Live possible!
We closed the night with a new Paint Along and Cocktail Hour!
Day 3 Highlights from Realism Live
Coming to us live from his studio, Quang Ho joined us again for a 90-minute painting demonstration complete with lessons that are critical for artists. For example: “So much of learning how to paint is learning how to see. You can’t underestimate how important that is.”
Above: In the beginning of the demo, Quang is shown laying in the “subplot,” or the foundation of the “bigger picture.” You can see his reference image in the upper right.
Morgan Weistling painting a portrait in pastel using a reference photo of a model. In the early stage of the portrait, he was in “robot mode”: “I’m just objectively looking at shapes, and am trying to get something specific so that I can gauge a lot of things from this first starting point.”
Using a vintage black and white public domain photo of entertainer/activist Josephine Baker, Adrienne Stein explained how using such an image helps her have fun with a painting and “let loose,” to be more intuitive, and to let her imagination go wild when it comes to color application.
Jean Stern, Director Emeritus of The Irvine Museum, gave us an in-depth presentation on “Realism from 1600 to the Present.”
Attendees learned the differences between traditional, magical, and contemporary realism, and saw masterwork examples of the development of realism throughout history.
Jeff Legg uses his still life setup as a springboard to create something that’s already embedded in his mind. He “spent a fair amount of time to create something with variety and interest,” and explained that he was thinking about the relationship of shapes and how colors relate to one another – the red of the melon, the pinks of the flowers, the compliments of red and green and blue and orange, and how everything comes together to form a pleasing arrangement.
A leading figure in the contemporary revival of classical painting, Jacob Collins gave incredible insights on the art of realism in an academic discussion.
Collins, who has said he aims to “paint with the skills of past masters while still feeling fresh,” relies on meticulous observation, careful draftsmanship, and dramatic use of darkness and illumination to create works that – while set in the present – exude a sense of timelessness.
A lot of people know Kevin Macpherson as an impressionist painter, but he considers himself to be a realist in the sense that he is “totally inspired by nature, by the natural phenomena” that he sees. During his demo, Kevin painted a landscape en plein air at an 8600-foot elevation in New Mexico.
We’d like to thank our loyal sponsors once again; on Day 3 we enjoyed more sessions from Pierre Guidetti and Michael Mentler of Savoir-Faire; Blick Art Materials featuring Susan Kuznitsky; and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association.
Browse even more highlights at MiamiNiche.com.
Remember, replays are available at RealismLive.com for a limited time; and coming up next is the 2nd Annual Watercolor Live! We hope to see you there!