Carmel & Big Sur

Bartc

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Some pastels from my trip this week for a workshop in Carmel and Big Sur on the California Coast. All pastels on PastelMat of various colors. B. Charlow 2024.
Carmel River Beach 1.jpg
Carmel River Beach 2.jpg
Point Lobos 1.jpg
Rocky Point.jpg
 
These are beautiful. You captured some real beauty. You used beautiful colors. I like your rocks and the water especially in the second one. Applause.
 
They are all very good but that last one … Wow! There’s just something about the rocks and the negative shape of the water that grabs my attention. When you’re ready to share any tidbits that you learned I’m all ears. 🙂
 
These are wonderful! Texture, colors, and composition excellent.
 
Lovely paintings with very harmonious color choices. I especially love the water in the second and fourth paintings.
 
Very nice work, Bart!
Tell us more about the workshop, what were some of your main take aways?
Biggest takeaway for me personally was to STOP painting and do more observing. You know the tendency to paint what you think you know, when the real deal is in front of your eyes and has more subtlety to offer. Bill is an exceptionally good observer of natural patterns of light and translates it so well into pastels and into verbal description. Something as simple as the delineation between sea foam in light and in shadow, for example. Or reflected light onto shadow. Or better atmospheric perspective. Or the value of light on various surfaces of rock.

The workshop was billed as being about rocks and water, which of course is perfect for this particular California coastline. And indeed he showed us how to do really well with both, as well as other subjects.

Bill laughingly tolerated my stylistic forays into expressive color. He dubbed my third painting as "the angriest red kelp I've ever seen." At one point he said that my paintings looked like Van Gogh with block prints, which is precisely my chosen style, so I figure that as a compliment from someone who prefers his own work more realistic. And he was very clear that whatever style or vision one has one should own, rather than duplicating photographic realism.

In that last one, Rocky Point, his pointers truly helped me stop and see what I had missed. On the right hand rock my shadow side was too warm and a bit too dark (though light was changing of course). But the biggest hurdle was separating the frontal cypress tree foliage from the middle cliffs. My eyesight is crap and the starting shadows were very dark. I had misinterpreted the bottom half of that cliff as covered in a dark green version of the iceplant on top, which made it almost indistinguishable from the treeline in front. In fact, it was not foliage at all and I didn't see that it was just darker rock cliff until he showed me how to better separate the planes. Plus I originally had the trees as too caligraphic a mass that needed more differentiation. Stuff like that.

My son, who is a trained digital artist, was analyzing these paintings and could spot where there were changes to my usual style pretty well. So clearly the workshop made an impression.

Look up Bill Cone's work on the Web. You'll see a subtle master at work - a guy who worked for Pixar for 30 years!
https://www.studiogallerysf.com/bill-cone-2017
https://billcone.blogspot.com/
 
Much too saturated for my eyes but we all see differently. They are very well done. I think you have found a few things that put you on your path and it’s good you have a vision of where you are and want to go. Congratulations. I would think it was money well invested. My fave would be the last one as well.
 
Much too saturated for my eyes but we all see differently. They are very well done. I think you have found a few things that put you on your path and it’s good you have a vision of where you are and want to go. Congratulations. I would think it was money well invested. My fave would be the last one as well.
Not surprised, Wayne. Your stuff is so much less saturated and often dark to my eyes, though I like them all. Just different ways of viewing and preferences.

BTW, your subjects and locale, from what I observe of your paintings, is quite different from my own area. The Monterey Peninsula and Big Sur coastlines are highly saturated subjects in full light and it was indeed bright sunshine all those days. It's sometimes hard to believe the deep saturation and subtle variations of color in the waters around there, some of the most beautiful in the world. You've undoubtedly seen pix and paintings of Point Lobos, as it's such a famous subject. I'll post some photos from the days so that you can see what I was portraying, though of course, I own my preference for strong contrast and color too. These are NOT retouched.
china cove.jpg
kelp.jpg
arch at point lobos.jpg
bill at rocky point.jpg
 
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They are all very good but that last one … Wow! There’s just something about the rocks and the negative shape of the water that grabs my attention. When you’re ready to share any tidbits that you learned I’m all ears. 🙂
Donna, see my response to Kyle.

Bill's statements were not new to me, nor would they be to many classically trained in art. And he did cite some classical artist/instructors. The variation in value on surfaces (sky, verticals, slants and flat grounds) for one. Local color vs. reflected color on various shapes for another. And the 4 planes of water: sky reflection, surface, depths and bottom earth/rocks. I knew all those, but watching how a master puts them together and having personal contemporaneous instruction in them on my own works was the key. He also suggested reading Carson on landscapes (though not taking the stridency literally.) Any of that help?

Bill will be at IAPS shortly, I believe.
 
Bill Cone - Wow! I’ve admired his work for years. Is he still using Canson mi- teintes paper? Thanks very much for sharing your notes, Bart!
 
Bill Cone - Wow! I’ve admired his work for years. Is he still using Canson mi- teintes paper? Thanks very much for sharing your notes, Bart!
Yes, and he laughs at those who scoff at MiTeintes paper. Blew me away how well he used that stock.
 
BTW, your subjects and locale, from what I observe of your paintings, is quite different from my own area.
Very much so. Very beautiful I might add.
I am looking these days at the little splashes of color in spring. Hopefully they will get me out of my rut.
 
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