I am finally finished with this painting after 3 complete attempts and extensive critiques!!! Whew! It's a million steps forward for me - probably still several 100,000 steps away from achieving the results of Susan Harrison-Tustain, but she's been doing it her way for a long, long time! This is all brand new to me! And that's OK!!! Drum roll....here it is:
Change is very difficult for me, as it is for many. I've loved watching Susan's DVDs and truly love her artwork. Hers is a very long process, but the end results will be worth it! I used Fabriano cold press - 300 lb. She recommends Arches hot press - 140 lbs. My new paper will arrive on Monday and I'm hoping it is better at absorbing the many, many layers of colors and will allow them to shine thru. I've not yet ordered her Schmincke paint pallet yet, and have chosen various brands/colors that I have on hand while I learn. Once I feel I have it - you bet I'll order them! :-) Right now I feel like I'm playing piano with my hands crossed! And all it takes is practice, practice, practice!
These results are in no way a reflection on Susan or her teachings - just my cluttered head full of many "rules" I've painted with for a long, long time. Painting with a limited palette and from dark to light finally taught me the concept of values - I used to think if I changed colors, I changed values - NOT! But, it didn't allow for considering warm/cool colors to bring items forward or back. Susan's palette has my old favorites - Phthalo Blue, Phthalo Green, Alizarin Crimson, and Aureolin Yellow - from my teachings with Lynn Ferris. She has 12 colors total that she uses - warm/cool variations, some purples and oranges for consistency - very nice selection!
On the Iris, (2nd try) I painted the flower for 10 days - a very long time for me. It started as 18X24 (with matt) and I cut it down to 16x20 as I was so intimidated by the huge surface of leaves! I did the forefront leaves with a bit of glazing, and opted to finish with negative painting - laid down the primary colors randomly and then worked from front to back. You'll note the hard lines from the masking on the detail of the flowers - I ordered a drafter's erasing template to start using that to lift vs hard edges of masking fluid.
On the beach scene, this is the 3rd try. I wanted to grasp the notion of reflections in the water - I think I did that OK. I played with the water too much. I did under painting of yellow on the sand which makes it lean towards green! Yellow priming doesn't work well with blues and purples - does great with yellows, oranges, reds, greens.... I'm learning! Slowly but surely!!!
I won a free one hour critique with Susan on a Facebook contest. I'm going to save it until I get a little better - and then if I need more, I will gladly pay for additional sessions. I haven't run across anyone who teaches like this - so generous with her knowledge and talents - and so dedicated to working with students until they get it! I'm very, very happy to have found her and look forward to improving by leaps and bounds!
I finally finished watching all 4 of Susan Harrison Tustain's DVDs. They are incredible and I love her style, her teaching, her art - just awesome! My discovery of her could not have come at a better time. For the last year I've painted "Life on the Lake Series" with all the events of this new area that we live in. It was fun, but I felt like I was painting the same thing over and over again. With this new direction I am changing the way I think about art - and my photographs will no longer be "tourism" but rather looking for the relationship, the emotions, the story, the connection! I'm very excited!!!
Andrea Burke, WVWS
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