I have finished the workshop in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. That went well. I had a great group of students who I worked mercilessly. Pat Walker, the organizer of the workshop really does a great job, she runs a dozen or so a year and gets some good instructors from all over the country. She provides gourmet meals and has a big studio building for teaching in on rainy days and for portrait workshops. The area around Rolling Forks looks like a Dutch painting and I found the old farm buildings to be great subjects. I believe I will be invited back next year. I also like that it is spring down there at that time of the year. Its fun to get a week of spring before returning to New Hampshire.
I noticed that Some of the students had a problem that may be common, but I had never noticed it before. They were confusing color with value. I know that it is important to know the difference between color and value. We often see that explained in drawing texts. I don't remember not knowing this, but I must have learned it long ago or known it instinctively. You more advanced artist reading this know the difference and are trained to see it, but newer students may not.
What I mean by this is that they confound color with value, when they see color they drop their values to represent it. If there was a roof that was red with rust, even though it was in strong sunlight and high in value, they dropped the value to make a strong red. Their rooftops in sunlight were the same value as their shadows. It was a curious phenomenon. I would guess that under the eye of a teacher teaching them to "see" in a still life project this could easily be eliminated. Perhaps cast drawing would help.
Color and value are somewhat independent. I told the students to go for value first and to get that right, the color could be injected into that. Value is a part of drawing and needs to be right to express the form before them. What I told them was :
If I held up the Mona Lisa in only values, like a black and white photograph, they would recognize it immediately. If I could hold up a skein of colors that was the color of the Mona Lisa, they wouldn't be able to recognize it. The Mona Lisa is represented more with value than color. Some smart 19th century guy said:
COLOR IS A DECORATION YOU HANG ON YOUR DRAWING!