Class Notes: Painting Demo with David Montgomery

This last week, our Thursday morning Painting Class had a special guest, well known landscape painter David Montgomery.
David is known for his dramatic and epic scenes of the Western Landscape. It was a treat to watch a master walk us through his process. He began with an 8"x 10" linen panel, a photo cropped for this purpose and a charcoal sketch already completed. Click on photos to enlarge them.
Dave and I paint together in the landscape a lot and tho' our styles differ dramatically, our process has many similarities; the sketch being one. The sketch is where we make decisions about what to say about said photo - or the view before us. Amazingly, this is a step most ignored by beginners.

In the second photo, he has used violet to draw the general layout, based on the sketch, and begun to lay in a complementary under painting, over which he will work the varied greens of the landscape. At this point he is very conscious of allowing that under painting to peek out between brush strokes as he works it from the top down towards the bottom.

Dave is a classically and academically trained painter with a refined sense of technical expertise. His unique style though, has developed from a bent to follow his own passion and not the wind of stylishness or painting fad. My students had a lot to say about his brushes, which are mostly #1 & #2 rounds - which I do not allow in class.
. . . As long as you live under my roof missy, you'll do as I say . . . . . . .
- oops wrong lecture.
In the next photo, Dave is making a point about different edges and detail, created by varied brushwork. The final photos show how the bottom, and foreground of the painting were resolved. He did not consider the piece "done" at this point but will take it home to his famous freezer where it will rest for a day or 2 until he can look at it with fresh eyes and better judge if the piece has become what the sketch intended or if it needs some massaging. Massaging might be resolving edges to bring some foreword and make others recede, it might be added detail to bring the important points out, or it might be simply adding the signature.
Thanks Dave for sharing your work and your process with so much generosity. To read more about David Montgomery and see his work click here on his name.
As a ps. I am happy to say - I own one of Dave's plein air pieces, painted at Point Lobos in California on the Monterey Peninsula.