How does one see, analyze, and synthesize information- do it quickly and apply it to canvas in a way that creates a reasonable composition- and in the end a reasonable rendering of the subject?
Ah, there's the rub. . . everyone looks at the landscape, not everyone sees it.
In the morning we talked about materials and method (I am big on method) and how to see composition in the landscape, with the help of a 2 value sketch.
A workshop teacher can yak all day about color and light in the landscape but learning how to see the landscape for what is possible - is where I like to start with students.
The view I used for demo was front lit and a little flat. In the 2 value sketch I work out the large value shapes; meaning I create the shapes from what is in the view. At this point, there is no right or wrong, just better and best. Another artist may see and work out a totally different value pattern with the same view; the point is - to see it and WORK it out- in a sketch.
By working out my thoughts early on, and making decisions about how to handle the value shapes - later when the light has changed, I will be less likely to chase it.
Of course, that is only the nutshell version of the morning . . .
Below is my demo, and probably one of my quickest, ever. It is only a 9"x 12", but once I had the sketch worked out, the painting took less that an hour.