Saturday, October 4, 2014

More than 'what you see'...


It was more than seeing for me...watching, learning and feeling - it's got even better…

All these years, I have been looking at, exploring, and trying out Watercolor Paintings, on my own, in my own way...looking at other Artists' Paintings, exploring and trying to figure out how they did it, reading and imagining things explained in books, watching few not-much-useful videos on youtube etc. But, the workshop that I attended recently, the one by Thomas W. Schaller made me feel like, now I am very-well-taught on Watercolor Painting. It was just a 4-day workshop, but I felt like I learnt a lot in those 4 days by watching very closely and observing one of the “Masters of Watercolor” at work, Thomas W. Schaller, who gave us many demos of various watercolor paintings. I truly felt like I learnt a lot in just 4 days. I never felt like that with anything. I even felt as if I finished a Fine Arts degree in Painting. Ha haa...sounds little exaggerating in my words, but that’s exactly what my heart felt like ;)

Day-1
On the first day morning, we- all registered enthusiastic Artists met at Northeast Art Workshop Studio in Gloucester, MA. After self introductions, Tom gave us a brief and great introduction to Painting and started a Demo Painting of Gloucester Bridge, chosen from a picture he took only that morning.

Day1: Demo
What an amazing experience watching all the magical brush strokes of Tom. All these months, ever since I first saw one of his Paintings on Facebook, I have been admiring and wondering, how well each painting was done. I am glad I told Tom “I feel like learning from you” on Facebook. Thanks to Tom for his prompt reply and mentioning about the workshops that he conducts all over the world and referring me to his web-site http://thomasschaller.com/. Just in time, I was really lucky as there was one coming up in Boston itself and without thinking I registered for it. Thanks to Tom and Thanks to Facebook too ;)

After Tom’s demo of explaining many many great things while he was painting we were on our own doing the same painting that he demoed. I finished my painting and drove back home in very high Art spirits with a very satisfied feeling of “Yes, I could do it”. That wonderful feeling of “I could do it” cannot be expressed any better, in words.

The following is my finished work of the day:
Gloucester Bridge - Watercolors on Paper 16" x 20"
Day-2
The day was well planned and loaded with a couple of Demos by Tom including an evening Demo session at the beach. We all met in downtown Gloucester that morning. The morning was gorgeous and perfect for an outside Painting. Tom walked around and decided to do his "Onsite Demo" of the beautiful view of a street with a nice house & a tree on one side of the road and a nice row of houses on the other side with the City Hall seen up in the skies as the backdrop. 

Day2: Demo1
What a perfect pick for an onsite painting and how effectively an Artist’s eye sees beautiful things around... Tom quickly set up his easel and started Painting demo of that view. The painting started shaping up and it was an amazing experience for me watching an outside onsite painting. At the end of the demo, it was another quickly painted "masterpiece" by Tom.

Day2: Demo2
Afternoon, we were let free to go around that place, select our own view of interest, settle down and start Painting. I selected the City Hall view, started my Painting but couldn’t finish it. Then, we all walked down to the harbor from there. Tom planned to do another demo at that place. The harbor was so beautiful. There was a little Circus set up next to the harbor lane and some construction was going on. The Circus tents, trucks and a giant wheel was visible through the scaffolding. Tom chose to do a demo of that view. Many of us must have wondered like I did, interesting...a view of the circus through scaffolding. As the Painting started to take shape and colors started to flow on the Paper with wonderful Tom's unique brush strokes, I could only hear many wows. Only Artist can see Art in everything and anything. Again, it was a jaw-dropping experience for me watching that Painting by Tom. It was almost 5pm by that time and we all dispersed to meet at the Mangnolia Beach around 8pm.

I drove early to that location as I didn’t have anything else to do, had my dinner at the House of Pizza, 35 Fuller St. and worked little bit on my unfinished Painting of the City Hall at the beach. I wasn’t happy with the way my painting was coming along and stopped after few minutes. It was very beautiful watching all the colors that the Sun was painting on the skies while going down during Sunset.

As we all gathered around 8pm, the light started to diminish slowly. Tom set up his easel on a rock at the beach and started to Paint the view of a house with a wooden bridge leading into the sea, colorful skies and calm waters. We started feeling the low visibility as it was getting dark quickly. But, Tom continued his painting and finished it in the dark. At the end, somebody had to put a flashlight on for us to see the painting in that darkness. and the evening ended with claps. We had 3 Demo Paintings at 3 different locations done and it was a wonderful experience and a feast of Paintings, for me.

Here is my unfinished painting of the day:
Gloucester City Hall

Day-3
We met in the morning at the Hammond Castle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammond_Castle).
Day3: Demo
That was such a beautiful location on the coast, soon after we reached there, we started taking pictures all over. Again, Tom selected the most beautiful view of the castle and did a Demo Painting. It was just an amazing Painting again. The rest of the afternoon, we spread all over, settled down around that Castle and pretty much were Painting the views that we liked. It was again a wonderful experience painting onsite at that beautiful Castle.




The following is my finished work of the day:
Hammond Castle - Watercolors on Paper 16" x 20"

Day-4
The last day of the workshop, we met at the Northeast Art Workshop Studio in Gloucester  in the morning and Tom did another Demo Painting of one other view of yesterday’s Castle from a picture that he took. No surprise, it was an amazing painting again. 

Day4: Demo
That was the last Demo of the 4-day workshop. We all had a group picture, and then few left little early to catch their flights flying back home. The rest of the afternoon, the remaining of us started a new Painting of our choice from pictures of our own. Tom offered a positive critique session, what he called a “surgery session”. We were all asked to choose one of our own paintings that we did during this 4-day workshop for the surgery session and tell Tom the aspect of it that we though would need a surgery. Tom went on doing quick surgeries to our chosen paintings, one after another explaining how it can be improved further from many aspect of a Watercolor Painting. That was a great session and gave me a good insight on getting to know how some corrections can be made after finishing a painting.

Painting in Dark by Tom
At the end, I got a chance to buy one of the Demo Paintings of Tom. I bought the Demo Painting done at the beach in the dark. I was proud to own the original, the very first of such done by Tom in the dark.

It was such a wonderful, memorable, heartful and artful experience for me attending this great workshop by Thomas W. Schaller. Those 4 days of truly living in my dream world of Art with many Artists around including one of the great Artists I have started to admire lately, was an unforgettable experience for me. I am so glad that I took time off and had put in some efforts to make one of my dreams come true- the dream of watching and learning from Masters. I felt like I get to learn how masters paint, how they think and how they see Art in everything.

Kat (Katalene Masella), the organizer of this workshop planned all 4 days filled with much of fun and learning at great many areas in the beautiful Gloucester town of Massachusetts. A great many thanks to Kat for all her very well planned and coordinated efforts.

Tom started the first day of this workshop with this opening quote: “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” - Henry David Thoreau, I learned “what to see”. In fact, for me, it was more than learning “what to see”. It was learning from a Watercolor Master on “what to see and how to paint”.

Many many thanks to Tom. I am glad that I have come to know about him. He remains one of the few Masters I admire.

It was a truly memorable experience that I will cherish for rest of my life!

Happy Painting!

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