Written by Jane C. Michael
At the annual WVWS workshop, this year held at North Bend State Park, participants learned techniques for painting “en plein air,” loosely translated as meaning outside on location, led by instructor Brienne Brown.
Brienne emphasized the importance of value studies. She would demonstrate a value study, then have each of us do our own value study in pencil or markers, and then follow that study with a painting in a single color, such as Payne’s gray, or blue, etc. The third step was then to do a color painting using the value studies as guides.
She presented Powerpoint presentations to emphasize the steps and the justifications for value studies, as well as providing brief instruction in the creation of value tables, using only five values.
Each day at the workshop included a preliminary instruction session, followed by a demo, and then time to put paint to paper! Brienne is a fine instructor, and her background as a teaching assistant in chemistry prepared her to teach and to explain many of the reasons why paint behaves as it does. As the busy mother of three boys, she knows how to get right to the essentials and to simplify — a concept she stressed repeatedly. As a competitor in numerous Plein Air painting events, Brienne shared tips for getting right at the heart of a composition by eliminating unnecessary components, laying down the washes, and keeping it simple.
Judy Reed did a great job of choosing North Bend as an ideal site for plein air painting. The park management was most accommodating, and plans are being made to return in 2019.
Three college students attended the workshop, and their energy and enthusiasm were welcome additions to our group. We enjoyed the company of painters from Ohio and Pennsylvania, in addition to our own members.
The WVWS August meeting was held at 6 p.m on Friday evening of the workshop, and President Martha Reynolds managed to get everyone out in time to attend the park’s special presentation on Mark Twain at 7 p.m.
A gallery of additional images from the workshop is below (click to see them larger):