Friday, May 8, 2009

Susan Ogilvie Workshop Summary

This past March I had the wonderful opportunity to take a week long workshop from pastel artist Susan Ogilvie. Soon after, I posted a few of the paintings I created on WetCanvas. Many of the members wanted to know more about Susan's workshops and how she teaches. Susan has graciously given me an overview, and a few photos, that convey some of the stages she goes through to create a finished painting.

Susan offers a comprehensive workshop for the pastel painter who is interested in improving painting and “seeing” skills, developing stronger compositions, and moving beyond the literal sense of the landscape. She does this by establishing a more personal approach to using shape, value, and color, the student can learn to create a dynamic, sensitive, and unique statement about the subject. Experimentation is the core of her workshops. Each day will focus on a different topic, illustrated during a morning demo/discussion and then explored in the students’ work at the easel. The students will be able to create their own support surfaces, clarify the essential elements of value studies from the field (weather permitting), use photographs effectively, and gain confidence with value and color relationships in their paintings.

Susan's goal with each student is to encourage exploration and self-discovery, motivate artistic growth, and act as the safety net!” Her class will consist of mostly studio work. The workshop is a wonderful opportunity for the beginner to the professional - it will get you out of your comfort zone. Susan's workshops are an opportunity to explore, experiment, and grow.

From Susan:

Here is the on-location compositional sketch, the underpainting with surface texture, and the completed painting. You’ll noticed I changed the smaller structure. When I got back from Florida, I decided I didn’t like the direction the painting was going (where I left it at the workshop.) So I hosed it off, applied another coat of texture, and began anew on top of the underpainting. (Another reason I’m liking having a sound underpainting.) The final version has more things connected by value: the foreground fields, mid-ground pasture, and structures all share common values without radically different colors. This allows the mountains and sky to form a backdrop—enough going on to convey form, scale, etc., but not too much to compete with the foreground scene. I’ve included a black and white photo I shot before changing the structures, so I could see how the values were working.

About the small structure—as I was working, I became aware of the shape/value differences between the 2 barns. In order to group them better, I created something that would link better to the big barn. That turned out to be the hardest part of doing the painting!
Compositional Sketch:

Black and white photo showing values:

Under-painting with surface texture:

Completed painting:

Susan Ogilvie has received numerous national awards, holds signature status with the Pastel Society of America in New York, and maintains a busy studio schedule. She is a respected juror, accomplished painting instructor, and popular guest speaker. Susan’s paintings are held nationally in many corporate and private collections, and published in The Best of Pastel, The Best of Drawing, and Pure Color: The Best of Pastel. Her work has also been featured in Southwest Art, The Artist’s Magazine, The Pastel Journal, and International Artists. Susan juried the “Landscapes and Interiors” category for The Pastel Journal’s 9th Annual “Pastel 100 Competition.” Gifted with a spirited and motivational teaching style, Susan conducts several comprehensive pastel workshops each year.


Casey Klahn said...

Wonderful images, David.
Susan is a very, very generous teacher. I love her color sense and her landscapes.

Every Photo Tells A Story said...

Actually, I like her black and white version, as well!

L.Holm said...

Thanks for sharing this. Interesting to see her exploration. I completely agree w/Nancy--I love the B&W study.

side note: love Eva Cassidy. she was an amazing talent.

rahina qh said...

David, thank you for sharing this experience on your blog. I particularly found the stages of your painting very useful. And wonderful result! r.

Pat said...

Thanks for showing us Susan's method. Always interesting to see how another artist works.

David Patterson said...

You're very welcome everyone...thanks for stopping by!

José said...

Hi David,

Looking at that work, one can say that besides a well thought composition and convincing perspective, what really stands out is the excellent range of values.

Take care,


simoart said...

Great work and thanks for sharing the different stages, love the black and white piece.

Julie Magers Soulen said...

Wonderful classroom on pastels. I used to love pastels in high school and haven't picked them up since. Hmmmm.

Mersad said...

I love the finished result. Very clear and defined colors in a simplistic style! I like these kinds of paintings.