Saturday, July 5, 2014

Beyond the Turquoise Door

Is anyone tired of seeing this photo of the turquoise door?? Because this is probably the 5th time I've posted it, in one place or another. But it symbolizes so much! Beyond this door is the artist studio of La Bonne Etoile in France, where we spent blissful hours learning the amazing pastel painting methods taught by the great Margaret Dyer! 
We started off our first night in the studio with a demo from Margaret, shown in progress here. Her process is so unique, with emphasis on value and the layering of warm and cool colors to give a vibrant, energized effect.

Our beautiful model sat for us for several days and we usually painted one pose in the morning and one in the afternoon. For me that meant working much faster than I was used to and so my paintings didn't feel very accomplished or complete. In the beginning this was so frustrating, but then I began to realize  that I was there to learn the process, not to turn out polished paintings.

It was so exciting to see the beautiful work appear day after day. We had some really amazing artists in our group. 

As paintings were finished we clipped them to a wire overhead. After about a week, there were so many paintings hung that you couldn't find a spot anymore! It was a beautiful sight.

Jane hard at work. She created some beautiful paintings while we were there.

In addition to our paintings of our model in the studio, we also had some photo shoots in the garden and  the house, using ourselves as models. This is one I did of our young resident assistant, Kathleen, hanging laundry. Btw, all laundry done at La Bonne Etoile was hung on the clothesline to dry, which was so fabulous! It smelled so good! (I just realized I've already put this one up as my blog cover photo... I guess you'll have to see it twice.)

And I am proud and honored to say I now own this one that Margaret painted of us (Margaret and me) at the piano. We had a photo shoot where we donned robes and I pretended to play while Margaret  enjoyed my imaginary talent. I could not resist buying the painting. AND I bought another one she painted while in the studio, shown below.

I had to have this painting by Margaret Dyer, not only because I think it's breathtaking, but because it is such a beautiful example of what she achieves in the skin of her nudes. Her method results in the most beautiful colors coming through on the skin, the drape, sheets, everything. I will forever have this as a wonderful reference, not to mention a memory of my week studying with Margaret.

Here's one of mine. Eek! I must be nuts to post this following Margaret's.

Love this! Four artists in a row, painting with focus!

Check out all the hung paintings. That's just one wire ... there were several.

One more of mine, painted on the last day in the studio.

Next up: our Vernissage, which was the party where all of our work was displayed and friends and neighbors came to see! Stay tuned ........

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