Today was divided between painting still lifes in the Apple orchard and a nightime demo in his studio.

I made some progress today. Yesterday he commented that my color was too “raw”. He thought my values were strong, my paint application a little disjoint. He asked if I sold my work, which I took as a good sign ­čÖé

A number of us followed him from critique to critique to learn and watch as he transformed a mediocre study into a wonderful painting in just a few strokes. Wow.

The nightime demo was incredible. He painted on a light-blue toned canvas that I’m guessing was 48″x60″, huge! The still life set up was incredibly complex, with perhaps 24+ objects. I brought home a DVD of the demo.
He began by outlining the general composition with short linear strokes, eventual including elipses representing plates, fruit, vases, flowers, etc. He must have drawn millions of elipses because each was perfect.

Unlike yesterday’s demo, he didn’t start with a watercolor-like wash of local color, but instead went right into painting ala prima. He started with rich, articulated darks, blending edges carefully between adjoining colors.

He worked all over the canvas, but generally started from the center out. He even went back-and-forth between dark and light. He really focuses on blending on the canvas to get the color to bend to his liking. He demonstrated this on my own palette the next day, when he started with one pure color and created derivative strings of warmer/cooler versions, again by mixing the next color in the color wheel (generally), creating harmonious grays.

He worked on this huge painting, bringing it near finish (with one 10 minute break) between 9pm and midnight. The transformation of the painting was beyond words, bringing several artists to tears (the most experienced among us, by the way). Based on how I and others reacted to the demo that night, the more experience you have, the more you appreciate the difficulty of the beauty he created. I know what you’re thinking, I “drank the coolaid”, and perhaps I have. You had to be there.

Again, sorry, but he didn’t allow photography in his studio, so nothing here.


3 thoughts on “Ovanes Berberian Workshop, Day 2

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