Another Painting Workshop

Friday ended a week long painting workshop here with artist, teacher Bruce Williamson, a painter from Texas who repeated his visit last year with another one this past week.

Bruce treats every subject as a recipient of light, whether it’s a landscape, a still life or a portrait.


Bruce doing a portrait demo outside.

Some of his starting concepts:

Have a goal – what do you want the painting to be about

Shape- placement of lights, shadows, shapes

Values or tones ( urghhhh, values….)



In that order, using that outline, a painting ought to be successful even if you paint waves in pinks or a face in blues.

onbeachblogA fellow workshop painter

I bow the very deepest bow I can take without falling on my head to every plein air painter. The town dogcatcher has an easier time retrieving feral beasts with a lasso than I do, painting outside in the shifting sun.

To achieve an accurate painting and not just a sweet little drawing  requires constant checking, thinking, evaluating, measuring and that seems to thwart the process of even getting the brush to the canvas. It helped me to think of this as strictly an exercise of embarrassed learning and forego the idea that these would be finished pieces.



Just the initial block in of the above scene ( minus the horizontal volleyball net ) which I’m going to work towards completion.

I took a palette knife and scraped off the first few attempts until I got a few bones I thought I could work with.

Better to have painted and scraped than never to have painted at all- words to live by as invoked by the fellow below:


I’ll be away for a week and eager to get back to the easel so I don’t lose the lessons.

There were three lovely awards sent my way this week which I’m so pleased to have received. Thank you Theresa, Nava and Marian!

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20 Responses to “Another Painting Workshop”

  1. Marian Fortunati Says:

    Toooooo funny!!! philosoraptor!!! he he he!!!

    Looks like you’re having fun …. you’d probably be able to teach the class… But I’m sure you’re learning as well. ENJOY each and every minute!

  2. Ginger Says:

    Your cabana start is good! Keep at it and I’m sure you’ll achieve a great result! thanks for coming to our show! It’s such fun to share such events with friends and fellow artists! I’ll miss your blog… have a great time away but hurry back!

  3. planoaddlct Says:

    so you totally don’t know me, but i’ve been browing some art blogs and yours is great. your painting is much better than you’re making it out to be. i love mistakes. mistakes are what make a painting.

    also, the philosoraptor picture is HILARIOUS!!! i’ve never heard of philosoraptors before, but it will be used in the future by me!

  4. Carol King Says:

    I wish I could be down there with you taking classes. I sure need them. And we’d have fun. I, too, bow to everyone who can paint outdoors. It’s scary. But I have no doubt that you will take your lessons learned and come up with yet another fabulous painting. Keep up the good work!

  5. judith wolfe Says:

    Your ‘sketch’ is just plein great. Years ago when I would paint outside I would end up incorporating the dirt and leaves into the canvases. It seemed easier than trying to scrape them away. Brava, Bonnala.

  6. razzbuffnik Says:

    I’ve done some plein air sketching and you’re right, it’s hard and the hardest thing (for me at least) was to remain civil to people who wanted to watch.

    Nice painting by the way. It’s almost turning into an abstraction. I particuly like the bit at the top where the sky and tree top meet. It reminds me of paintings by a friend of mine Tim Allen (no, not the American actor). If you want to see what his work looks like, here’s a link.

  7. Donald Diddams Says:

    I’m with razzbuffnik… I’d have a hard time being civil to the gawkers. Let alone the other difficulties of working outside, like the wind and changing light. On the other hand, gaining insights on how others approach a work is always exhilarating, and a piece of it usually sticks.

    You have a nice start, nice shapes and light, but I wonder when the human figure will appear?

  8. nathaliewithanh Says:

    Your use of color reminds me of the South of France. I miss it very very much. 😦
    I think that in order to dissuade gawkers, outdoor painters should always carry a little bucket with “TIPS” written on it.

  9. wrjones Says:

    I feel your pain, Bonnie. I went on a workshop to Colorado where out of 80 painters I was in the bottom 4. Outdoors is a struggle against time. It it hard to move forward when you know the drawing is not correct. Then you can tell yourself oh well, it is only a tree no one will notice, but the colors are not right either.

    A workshop with Scott Christensen was very helpful. He pointed out that you should be studying not trying for a finished painting. If you were trying for a finished painting you would be frustrated over and over. Going out with this attitude is a big help. Go to enjoy and study. Susan Cornelis meditates before starting a painting. This has value as well. Relax, enjoy the beauty nature has to offer and simply learn from the experience of painting outdoors rather than require a finished masterpiece.

  10. Jala Pfaff Says:

    Can I just say that I LOVE the painting you’ve posted?! And I mean, I love it as is. (I know, I’m a radical…) Seriously. And I think the Philosoraptor would agree that you could teach the class. We’re all teachers AND students.

  11. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Marian- when painting doesn’t happen right, it’s always better to quote philosophy! A good distraction for your audience.

    Thanks Ginger for visiting here and leaving a comment.

    Planoaddict- welcome and thanks for the encouraging sentiments. Coming from a young guy with some talent of his own ( I looked ) I’m glad you left a comment or two.

    Carol- on your next trip, I think we’ll have a painting day. I have the tools, just bring yourself. Oh and Matt too.

    Judy- I went for the less is more approach. Leaving out the details and hitting the main forms. Hope I don’t lose the essence when I go back to finish it.

    Razz- you’re so right about the gawkers. I’m a better solitary painter. But going with a group takes the focus off of an individual which does make it easier. I surely would not go it alone.
    Checked Tims’ site – I like his abstract approach and the unfinished quality of his work, thanks for passing it to me.

    Don- this may be the first of mine without a human figure. It’s going to look too pasted on and maybe even incidental.
    It would indicate the scale of the building but I’m not sure that’s necessary.
    I’m trying to be a careful editor.

    Nathalie- “I think that in order to dissuade gawkers, outdoor painters should always carry a little bucket with “TIPS” written on it. ”
    This is one of the most brilliant and hilarious solutions to put up or shut up and go away. I love this idea and may have to try it.

    Bill- sound reminders. I really did have to tell myself I wasn’t painting to create a body of work on a deadline. It was meant to be a learning experience .
    Just how did you determine your bottom 4 of 80 ratio?

    Jala- really, thank you. I think I have a hard time seeing my own work with my own eyes. Like the person that loses 50 pounds, is a size 2 and still thinks they’re overweight.
    You’re right- we are all students AND teachers.

    Thanks- everyone for the encouraging words.

  12. wrjones Says:

    Just about EVERYBODY painted better than I. So the 4 I gave myself was just an estimate to give myself a little esteem. I was probably LAST which is not a comfortable position although intellectually I realize no one cares.

  13. Eldon Says:

    Better to have painted and scaped… Here Here!! Can hardly wait to see what you haven’t scraped. I’ll wager if you scraped much at all it wasn’t all that much in need of scraping. 🙂

  14. wrjones Says:

    Oh, Bonnie – time to put that workshop knowledge gained to work.

  15. wrjones Says:

    Carol says I can’t stay in your guest room. Will you please tell her to go paint in Alaska and leave us alone.

  16. Paz Says:

    very cool! these workshops sound like such wonderful experiences.

    paz (still looking for an art class)

  17. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Eldon- thanks for visiting again. I always appreciate your words of encouragement. Better to have scraped and tossed than never to have scraped at all.

    Bill- you don’t want to get Carol miffed at you. I certainly don’t. You’ve seen her “Backoff ” Obamicon, haven’t you?

    Hi Paz- you live in a city with so many classes, maybe that’s the problem!

  18. Kay Paiva Says:

    Love the philosoraptor picture. Have one on my facebook and makes me giggle every time haha. Also, I don’t think it was in this post – but I really enjoyed the photographs of food and then tires. Maybe it was because I saw them in a close vicinity. Caught me for some reason 🙂

  19. Nancy Rhodes Harper Says:

    Bonnie, I love your work. Saw one of your paintings framed by Randy Higbee on facebook. Beautiful brushwork and harmonious colors.

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