Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Garden Girl's Reflection"

      "Garden Girl's Reflection" oil on Classen's oil primed linen canvas, 24" x 18".  This is the canvas on which I normally paint.

Diane Tesler's summer studio is in a very old IOOF hall in Kewanna, Indiana, a little old farming town mostly abandoned, on the cross roads of two rarely used state highways in middle north Indiana.  As with many forgotten towns, most of the buildings are abandoned, but the people who live there are a close knit community struggling to survive.  She lives in Alexandria, VA in the winter and teaches at the Torpedo Factory, a beautiful and totally congested part of America.  Years ago, she happened on Kewanna with a friend and fell in love with the old memories lying about in the town and on the surrounding farms.  These abandoned cars and tractors find life in her paintings along with the abandoned farm houses.  You can see her paintings on her web site at  

In this three day workshop, she prepared about ten still life set ups from which the fifteen participants could choose.  I chose this old mirror with a little garden girl and potted plants because it was close to the floor-to-ceiling front window with natural north light.  What did I learn?  hmmmmm  Well, I learned about a couple of synthetic sable brushes that Diane absolutely can't paint without,  the formula for her medium of Damar varnish, Stand oil, and Gum turpentine, and two or three new paints that I want to add to my palette, especially Holbein Rose Gray, and maybe Holbein Gray Green, and Monochrome Warm.  She also told me about a source for "tough as nails" canvas stretchers for large paintings.   Yes, I would like to paint on a large scale occasionally.  Diane's a very encouraging yet truthful teacher who makes comments to each student at that person's own level of expertise, not an easy task.  I suspect it takes a great deal of teaching experience to tactfully cut to the chase with each participant's "baby".

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