I've followed Kathleen Dunphy's excellent blog for several years. I highly recommend it.
And if you've followed my blog for awhile, you know that I had an opportunity to meet her once when I was fortunate enough to receive her "Juror's Award" at a show in Murphys. I later took advantage of her good nature by....well, it's a fun story and you can read it in an earlier post.
(Meeting Kathleen Dunphy, April 27, 2013)
I FINALLY was able to register for one of Kathleen's fairly rare workshops - they fill up fast!- and on the weekend of April 25 - 27, I spent a fabulous three days learning from the best. It is hard to describe how impressed I was with Kathleen personally and as a teacher. To say that she is charming and gracious would be understating it. I couldn't get over her patience with all of us in the workshop. She never stopped smiling and joking. But she brought more than good humor to the classroom.
|Kathleen Dunphy, Artist and Teacher April 25, 2015|
I finished my only painting of the day about 6 pm. I felt the feelings of frustration and disappointment that are almost a hallmark of plein air painting for me. When I returned to my hotel room I began to reflect on Kathleen's lecture during the day. In particular I thought about her comments that as artists we can "fix" painting problems with logic. We don't have to be ruled by emotions, particularly the negative ones. Fighting down the feelings of futilitythat threatened to defeat me again, I found Kathleen's class handouts and my sketchbook and I began to analyze my painting, LOGICALLY. Realizing that I might have settled too quickly on a design, I drew a few new thumbnails exploring other ways I could have composed the painting. Using Kathleen's guidelines,I wrote notes about what I felt went wrong during the painting process, and then what I will do specifically to correct that next time. And when I was done, the frustration was gone. Gone. Imagine that. I couldn't wait for tomorrow and another chance to paint. That was when I realized the power she had given me. And why in a painting workshop, sometimes painting isn't the first order of business.
It's up to me of course. To be a painter, I have to paint. A lot. But I don't have to paint the same way I have always painted and HOPE to magically improve somehow. For the very first time - amazingly enough at my age - I understand that improvement isn't about luck or about taking the right workshop or buying the right easel. It's a logical process. Every painting is an opportunity to study and learn, even the ones that eventually go in the burn pile. (And hopefully, those will be fewer and fewer over time thanks to people like Kathleen.) I seems so simple when I write it now. Why of course, what did you think? But that is the whole point,isn't it? I didn't. But I will....that's my promise to myself.
My only regret about taking Kathleen's workshop is that I didn't do it long ago.
|Kathleen Dunphy, Artist Demonstrating at Ironstone Vineyard lake|
|Do the days get much better than this???? I don't think so.|
My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art