Class Notes: Susan McCullough, Guest Artist

We had a special treat this week in class; award winning, Colorado painter Susan McCullough was our guest for a painting demo.
Sue is a Colorado native, life long painter and full time professional
who has earned her cred at painting shows, events, competitions and invitationals all over the west.  Plein air work is her specialty and the plein air piece at the right was done about 2 weeks ago, above Pinus Creek west of Alamosa. For the benefit of the demo, Sue planned to repaint it as a Spring scene.
Click on any of the photos to see them larger.
The photos follow her process as she starts with a quick lay in of the large dark shapes that will later become the trees and mountain in the distance. She used a paper towel to wipe out the shapes of the foreground aspen trees with the explanation that, by wiping off - instead of drawing in, a more organic shape is created.
The scene is backlit, so shadows are positioned and under painted in a relatively dark blue. Sue quickly mixed a warm tone of medium value, for the ground plane that would serve as under painting and give color and energy to the grass greens that would eventually cover it. The warm under painting was smeared on with the ever present paper towel. Sue used a palette knife to lay color across the aspens, pointing out that aspens, being very reflective in nature, will pick up color from everywhere in the landscape. They are also warmer at the bottom and become cooler as they rise up toward the sky.

Note in the close-up, the brush size being used.
I paint with Sue all the time but never get the chance to just watch a piece develop and hear a step-by-step explanation of the concepts and techniques used, as they are being applied. Sue is a master of the back lit scene, turning a dark mass into a forest of bouncing light and color, all the while explaining and demonstrating her palette and the color mixes that are key to making Winter turn to Spring, (in the painting). Nothing is random from the early decisions about design and placement to the final touches of color and light added to the trees, grass and forest shapes.
Go to the POST below, where I started, to see both paintings together and click on the photo to view it larger. To get more info on Sue and see more of her click this link to go to: Susan McCullough.com


Susan McCullough, Guest Artist DEMO

I sat down to write this post yesterday afternoon, moments before my kids blew in from school and I got swept up in the drama of a track fund raiser: buying dinner supplies, a home made dessert for the auction, did we buy tickets? - it's tonight?  do you have homework?,
etc, etc.
So, I am sorry if you logged on and only got the title. I will try again.
Susan McCullough, good friend and painting buddy, 
was our guest in class for a painting DEMO. Above are 
two paintings; the bottom piece done just a couple of weeks back, 
up on Pinus Creek and the top piece, Sue's demo where she took 
the plein air painting and turned it from a winter to a spring piece. Nice Job! Sue is a long time professional painter and her FARMHOUSE Studio is here in the San Luis Valley, outside of Monte Vista. To get more info on Sue and see more of her work go to: Susan McCullough.com

ps. I could kick myself for not getting back to this post at 12:30 last night. 
Somewhere out in the ethernet, between the time when I fell into bed and when and got up this morning, a whole new BLOGSPOT game plan took over my blog  and until I can relearn how to post and edit here - I am in a spot of a bother. Thanks for your patience. I will certainly need some myself.