Cecilia Lea - Artist - Canadian Landscape Painter

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After a break from painting to do some stained glass, I attended a great workshop at Bear Valley Highlands the end of May -  http://www.bearvalleyhighlands.com -  Our instructor was  Michael O'Toole -  http://otooleart.com - and I was keen to learn "strength of colour and value", which was what the workshop was to teach.

My friend Lorna and I arrived Thursday afternoon as tea was being laid out. I can't say enough about our hostess Barbara's cooking, which is all super healthy and tastes fabulous. We were spoiled with breakfast, lunch and dinner, besides delightful baking for our coffee and tea as we painted during the day. 

Once all the artists arrived Michael jumped right in with a demo even though we were not scheduled to start painting until the next day. The twelve of us found we were immersed in our acrylic paints from 9:00 AM until pretty much dinner time which was laid out beautifully for us at 6:00 PM in the yurt That is also where we painted.

Michael demo'ed four paintings during the 3 full days we were there. One we painted along with him, on our own canvases, as he explained his techniques. We worked with a whole new pallet (for me) of transparent paints, at first laying in sweeping strokes of bright background washes, then laying in thicker transparent and opaque paints to build the painting up. In the case of this painting of the cows, we ended with a phalo wash to form the front shadow and re-adjusted our highlights as this last step had now changed the light angle. That is one good quality of arylics that I have learned to appreciate. Being typically an oil painter, the ability to change a whole painting's light source and then change the highlights accordingly is quite the novelty for me. 

We worked on a subject of our choice the next day, Saturday, applying the new techniques we had learned. On Sunday we spent part of the time - 1.5 hours - painting our choice of subject once again, but upside down on the canvas, That was a fun exercise to finish up our most enjoyable weekend. It forces one to concentrate on shapes more than the subject. The short period of time made for a far looser painting than I usually produce. 

The weekend was a super good time. I learned some new techniques I hope to incorporate into my work, I made some new friends, and ate really great food. Can't ask for more. 

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