Manitou Springs 3rd Friday Artwalk

I will be in Manitou Springs this Friday night, June 21st from 5pm to 9pm,  for their 3rd Friday ARTWalk,  - painting a demo and hosting at the TracyMiller Gallery  in Manitou.   Just a short drive from downtown Colorado Springs, take US-24 West;  exit at West Manitou Ave. and follow it up to the top of the street to the round about and go left on Ruxton to the TracyMiller Gallery at 16 Ruxton.

After strolling Manitou,  you can enjoy dinner at the Phantom Canyon Brewing Company,  in nearby Colorado Springs and view 24 pieces of oversize work created specifically for this venue, by 
myself and Tracy Miller, of the TracyMiller Gallery in Manitou. The WILDLAND.WILDLIFE show will hang all of JUNE and JULY.
Check it out; good art, good food, good brew - at a first rate venue.
Phantom Canyon Brewing Company is located at 2 E.Pikes Peak Ave., in Colorado Springs.

Class Notes: The Shape of Things

In this last class session we focused on elements of the landscape in preparation for the transition to painting out doors. (That class session starts on Tuesday night, July 16).
We spent a couple of weeks on trees, tree shapes, clouds and cloud shapes  and tho' we are working with good reference material  it is not like plugging the right numerals into the example math problem - that never worked for me anyway.  We do not copy the reference exactly any more than we would try to paint exactly what we see in the landscape. What's to do?
It's all in the shapes.  In every segment of the landscape: trees, water, river, mountains, clouds -  what we are practicing is good shapes.   Students skimp on the design of shapes, preferring to focus on materials or exotic techniques and wonder why the outcome is so unsatisfying. Books discuss the painting process but never explain that inelegant SHAPES make for paintings of the same.
I encourage my students to be designer first; be design driven, not image driven.  Principles of good design were revered by the ancients and foundational to the "old masters".  A casual viewer may simply admire a painting for it's image content, but a devoted student must see beyond the image to the elements of good design that make a painting work.   But I digress. . .
Our class time has not been in vain, if what we come away with is the simple idea that trees are shapes, clouds are shapes - and all parts of the landscape must be subject to the design eye.
For beginners this may sound like Greek - but start by creating beautiful shapes. To the viewer it may be a group of trees, a distant mountain,  the sky, or a winding river or path -  but to the painter they are carefully crafted SHAPES; beautiful for their having been designed with intent.
For every shape included in your painting- stop and ask yourself:
 is that shape - elegant, sophisticated, beautiful?