Sunday, May 17, 2015

Meeting Roos Schuring Carmel California

On Saturday, I had the chance to meet and paint with internationally known Dutch painter Roos Schuring.  Roos (pronounced Rose) was in the US to participate in the Carmel Art Festival, a plein air event attracting some of the most well-known and talented plein air artists.  Roos is obviously one of that group.  If you don't follow her blog, you are missing out on experiencing an incredibly dedicated and gifted artist.  Watching her paint on the beach in Holland in the most challenging circumstances is an inspiration.  Plus you are also missing her very generous videos and other painting and marketing resources for the plein air artist. Click HERE to visit'll be glad you did.

The opportunity to meet Roos came about after I purchased one of her fantastic plein air paintings.  During a back and forth email exchange about the purchase, she mentioned that she would soon be in the US to paint at the Carmel festival.  She invited me to come and paint with her, an invitation that she extended to other American friends as well.  Since Sacramento is only about 200 miles away from Carmel, I knew I couldn't miss it.

What a great afternoon it was.  Meeting Roos was a thrill and to paint with her was just the icing on the cake.  She was as charming and fun as I could have imagined, all the while speaking perfect English with a slight accent and a dry and wonderful sense of humor.  I won't forget the experience of painting with Roos Schuring for a long time, I can assure you! What a treat!

Roos Schuring, Dutch painter, and Me   Carmel California

Roos Schuring taking time to offer suggestions on my painting.   Carmel California
Roos Schuring  Carmel

Trying not to embarrass myself!!! 

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Old Shadows - Plein air During Kathleen Dunphy workshop

In my preceding post, I talked about my great experience attending a workshop with Kathleen Dunphy in Murphys California on the last weekend in April.  We had a few weather challenges, but the intensity of the workshop and the learning experience was never interrupted.

On the second day, we finally got a break in the rain and I was able to get in one painting.  I tried very hard to use the lessons gleaned from Kathleen's invaluable teaching.   I think her guidance shows.

Old Shadows    Oil on linen panel    12" x 8.5"

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

A Fabulous 3-Day Workshop with Kathleen Dunphy in Murphys California

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
This is the hard part to relate.  Maybe just telling how her teaching open a door for me will do it best.  On the first day of the workshop, we spent most of the day in lecture and demonstrations by Kathleen.  At about 3 pm, we went outside to paint.  It wasn't until later that I truely appreciated this approach.  I mean we are in a painting workshop to paint, right?  Well....

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