I’m down with the flu, so this week’s post is a demo from my Richmond Workshop. I want to thank Cathy Ellis for taking and sending me these photos for use in the blog.
On the last day of the workshop we painted in Hollywood Cemetery which is located on a hilltop overlooking the James River in Richmond. It was a beautiful day with the leaves just starting to turn on some of the trees.
Because I was painting complex architecture and I would only have an hour for the demo, I did a small 10x8 canvas. I started with my drawing and realized I had gotten my proportions wrong so I had to wipe it off and start again even though I had 12 students watching me. I wanted to make sure they see the process and how important it is to get things right from the start.
The second take got me to be more careful and I got through the careful placement of my elements.
I was painting Major Lewis Ginter‘s mausoleum, a prominent historical figure of Richmond; I wanted the composition centered giving it a formal reverent feel.
Because the trees off to the left were beginning to cast shadows into the scene I painted the foliage and background first getting the big masses of color and shadows down and locked in.
When those elements were done I began painting the mausoleum itself. I focused on the shifts in color and value and ignored details.
I finish up by adjusting edges and completing the background elements.
Here is the finished painting. Although there were sweeping views overlooking the city of Richmond, I was drawn to this intimate scene of a part of life often ignored in paintings. I think it is important to always paint what moves you not necessarily a postcard scene of a place. The painting was purchased by one of my students who is with the Historical Society of Richmond on its completion.