Sunday, September 12, 2010

Capturing a sunny day

I was in the Boston Globe today. I taught a three day seascape workshop entitled "Seascape painting for the non-amphibian" for the Rockport Art Association, today was the last day. I had thirteen students. The first day I taught in the studio, demonstrating how to paint an "ideal" wave. No photos allowed. We did watch some movies on my computer of waves though. I can stop them and point out the anatomy of the surf. But we used no photo references during the painting.Then in the afternoon I had the students paint their own waves and I went from easel to easel helping them. Afterward we went out to Lobsta-Land for dinner and I drew on napkins and taught while we waited for our dinner.

Saturday we went to Plum Cove in Gloucester, it was a perfect day on the beach. The sun was warm and the light was good. We painted the cove with its rocks and distant views across Ipswich bay. It was about as perfect as an early autumn day in New England gets. While we were there a photographer showed up and took a series of pictures of us working and introduced himself as a photographer for the Globe, so I tried to lean a little to the left in order to be more appealing to their readers.

That must have worked as today my old friend Don Mosher showed up at my workshop with a photo clipped from the newspaper of me painting on the beach. I am wearing my Grateful Dead T-shirt and paint splattered jeans, surrounded by ladies in floppy hats.

On the third day of the workshop, today, we returned to the studio and used our paintings from Plum Cove as a reference to make a new painting with surf in it. I again did a demo in the morning of that, and in the afternoon the class did their own surf paintings. I have added a day of seascape instruction to a landscape workshop before, but this is the first exclusively seascape workshop I have ever done. I had a lot of fun, although I returned home exhausted every night at about 10:00. I think the students enjoyed it and I think they learned a few things. I really enjoyed meeting them and tried as hard as I could to make myself useful.


Below is a materials list for upcoming workshops. Those of you in the Maine workshop will receive an e-mail shortly providing information specific to that.

Here are the materials you will need for my workshop.
You will need a a french easel, a pochade ( pronounced "pochade") box and tripod, or a Gloucester easel. Aluminum collapsing easels and little wooden tripod easels are generally not steady enough and they won't hold your palette. I don't recommend them.


In your paintbox you will need:

Titanium White
cadmium yellow medium or light
cadmium red light
burnt sienna
either cobalt, Prussian, or pthalocyanine blue
yellow ochre
ultramarine blue
Permanent alizirin or quinacridone red
viridian or permanent green deep

you also might want, but won't require,

Ivory black or
cobalt violet

a palette of some sort, most easel setups include a palette.

a medium. I like Liquin or Galkyd but if you like an oil and varnish medium that is fine too. You may already be using a medium at home, bring that. Also you will need a top from an olive jar or a small oil cup to put it in.

mineral spirits or turpentine, and a tuna fish can to put that in.

A roll of Bounty or Viva paper towels, all others are inferior. Also a grocery store plastic bag for them after use.

A selection of flat brushes, a couple of #1's, several #4's, a #8 or 10 and a short handled rigger, synthetic or sable, about a #4 . Also a leaf shaped palette knife.

You will need a hat with a substantial brim, a baseball hat works well. I carry a container of Goop, you can get that at Wall Mart or an auto supply store, to use cleaning your hands.

A fine cigar or two, possibly a maduro, box pressed if possible, no White Owls or plastic mouthpieces please.

Several canvases, or panels to paint on. Please no cardboard artist boards they are floppy and impermanent dreadful things. Gessoboard is nice, sourcetek panels are good, clayboard is too absorbent. I think a 16 x 20 is the ideal size. Small canvases bring an added complexity to painting as you need to miniaturize nature to go on them. Don't bring anything larger than an 18 x 24 unless you are a pro.

Some people like to have an umbrella to shade their canvas, I don't use one, but you might.

A camera, you will want to get a shot of what you are painting because it may save the project later in the studio.


Debra Norton said...

Stape, I think you should add chocolate to your supply list - for those of us who don't smoke cigars. said...

Cigars , you never know till you try one. I'm going to
smoke them when I am too old for them me. Chocolate will do until then.

Just a little more to the left Stapleton and maybe they will run your photo in color. I was finally getting around to reading my Sunday Globe on Monday morning. I always look at photos of painters to see if there is anyone I know ..this picture really woke me up. I didn't need my coffee.

I'll say it again, as if no one here knows it, but Stapleton is an excellent teacher. said...

Correction: I am going to smoke them until I am too old for the cigars to kill me.

I almost love my iPad. It's the darn corrections it automatically makes and doesn't make for me that I don't love.

Plein Air Gal said...

There's something very exciting in that photo (besides you and the class) that is the result of perfect timing and trick of lighting ... on the rock face in the background, standing between you and your canvas and closer to the canvas (upper left corner of actual canvas) is a woman in colonial/victorian dress who is also painting at an easel! Uncanny!

JAMES A. COOK said...

Thank you very much for a great workshop. I learn so much from your workshop, the time and effort you put into your workshop and students is amazing. Your demos and personal interaction with the students is so helpfull and educational. Your teaching of seascapes was done very well, excellent job in your approach.
You are are a
great teacher and you are sure making me a better painter.
Thanks STAPE, you make a difference to us all.


sandy said...

Thanks for a great workshop Stape. Not only are you a great teacher but you come with what folks in Maine might call a "wicked sense a huma."
Thanks again for a great learning experience and all the fun too.

Woodward Simons said...

Thanks for the supply list. Am very much looking forward to the Maine workshop.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Chocolate is good too.I turned around at Snowcamp one afternoon and all of the women were smoking Cubans.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks, I seem to be teaching more lately.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I may need an ipad.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Plein Air Gal;
I see it. That is very strange.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Hey, thanks. I am making it up as I go along.I expect if I do more seascape classes they will get more effective. I am glad you got something out of it.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. You have good surf up there in Maine.I need to go up there again.

Stapleton Kearns said...

That's coming up soon too. I am excited.

Rae O'Shea said...

Love the phantom in the photo-appropriate to have a ghostly painter in Gloucester! How come cigars don't smell bad if you are the one smoking them-I have to light up in self-defense when I'm with cigar smokers.

Carol Nelson said...

ROLFLOL - leaning to the left in the Boston Globe photo.

elijebrg said...

Yes, Thank you for a fantastic workshop!
Picked up a copy of the Anthony Thieme book and discovered your Forward in it.
You are Great.

Martyn Chamberlin said...

Wow man I'm envious! Sounds like a GREAT time.

One thing though, where you said, "Aluminum collapsing easels and little wooden tripod easels are generally not steady enough and they won't hold your palette. I don't recommend them." I have a Soltek easel and it's as steady as they get. Setup time is about 20 seconds, only weighs 10 lb. If you have about $500 lying around, run and pick one up!