Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cormatin, France

We found a gorgeous spot overlooking the town of Cormatin where we began sketching and doing some watercolor washes.

This pencil sketch was done after seeing the one my instructor, Ovanes Berberian, did - his was really great and I noticed how delicately he used his pencil and how he got such a huge variation in his grays, which is something I have a hard time recognizing.  Another key factor was the direction of his pencil strokes - you can't just scrub in the shading any old way!

The second is a watercolor sketch of the same view where I drew first with a pencil then did some washes of color over.  Ovanes pointed out the 'calligraphy' was too much the same in both buildings so after I took this photo, I remembered that and dulled down the back building.  It's important to not only dull it down but change the color of it too, which I didn't do.  So many small details but they really do make a big difference!  The sun was muted through high clouds so there wasn't a lot of contrast today, which makes for a less dramatic drawing - and to me, more difficult to make beautiful.

The last sheet is where I spent the most time.  I was trying hard to pick the hard spots (what wasn't?) but I had a hard time finding the slight variations in color and tone of the buildings along with their shadows.  The most trouble I had was finding the right greens - something covered the majority of the drawing!  I finally just laid my sketch pad directly on the grass and tried to match it (the 3 green stripes).  You wouldn't think green would be so tough until Ovanes told us that there is a realistic painter he really likes (Shishkin) who discovered 244 different green as he painted straight into the meadow!  I also worked on the distant landscape where Ovanes like the background (near the sky) and when I complained it was too dark he said the foreground green was too light!  AH!  You learn so much...


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  2. What a great opportunity to learn and grow. We look forward to the workshop you will have after you get back!!

  3. Hey Nancy, I looked him up one time after we saw his dynamic floral still life in the window of the Amsterdam gallery in Carmel by the sea. The work was so reminiscent of Deanne Lemley's mentor, Sergei Bongart. It was exciting to discover that Ovanes studied under Sergei as well. And he lives in central Idaho, teaching occasional classes. And now here you are studying from him abroad. Can wait to tap into your excitement when you return. Have a fabulous time.
    -Laura Gable