Monday, September 28, 2009

"What-a-Melon" (sold) memories of Charles Sovek workshop

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I had promised to talk about some of my favorite workshop instructors that I've studied with - and Charles Sovek is right there at the top. This quote seems to be written directly for him - he had such enthusiasm for life, art and his students! You'll find his website (link above) very helpful, as well as his book, "Oil Painting, Develop Your Natural Ability". In his workshop he covered value studies, using a simple palette ( which he did both on our indoor still-life set-up and outdoors as well). His colors were cad. yellow light, cad. red light, permanent alizarin, ultramarine blue, & pthalo green, as well as titanium white. Indoors he stressed the importance of the still-life set-up itself, warm vs. cool light, having a strong sense of your light source in your painting. The painting "What-a-melon" is from that workshop.

The most helpful day of the workshop was painting outdoors on the Lieutenant River. There is an abundance of marshy area back there, and it was a break-through in painting 'greens' for me! He gave a very concise description of how to mix those greens for correct atmospheric effect...(or how to get the distance to stay in the distance?!). Also, I've included a photo of his plein-air gear, he keeps everything very light weight so that it all fits into one back-pack. In this photo of his gear, he was painting some of the gardens at the Florence Griswold Museum here in Old Lyme, CT.

My favorite part of the workshop, aside from all the wonderful instruction, was that he gave everyone in attendance, 15 -20 minutes or so of his undivided individual attention to critique finished works that we had brought in. The critique & advice given was a generous gift that was an encouraging turning point in my art-life several years ago. I was able to take this workshop the year before he passed away. I was hoping to get another workshop with him, but it was not to be. At that point I realized - when there is some one you want to learn from, do what it takes to go learn from them- it may be your last chance. I consider it one of my luckiest opportunities to study with him!


Blogger Denise Rose said...

Wow. I have all of his books and would have loved to have taken a workshop with him! You are very fortunate to have been able to do that. Thanks for sharing your experience!

September 30, 2009 at 4:52 AM  
Blogger francesca said...

Thanks so much for passing on more of the magic of 'Sovek' your comments along with the PBS Plein Air series let's me sense more of him and his work. Grazie grazie F

October 3, 2009 at 1:55 PM  

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