Saturday, October 19, 2013

Workshop with Qiang Huang: My Notes: part 1

After a great learning experience, like the past 3 days with Qiang Huang (link), I usually transcribe my notes. In addition, I promised my friend and wonderful hostess Maria Hock Bennett (link) that I would take notes for her for the day that she missed. However, usually, months later, when I need to refer to these same notes, let's just say that I have issues with my filing system. Therefore, I decided to post my notes here, share them with you and be able to find them whenever.

First, if you have the opportunity to take a class with Qiang (pronounced "Chong"( like Cheece and..)), it will be worth whatever you need to do. Qiang is extremely well organized and has worked to breakdown his painting process into "teachable" stages. There is nothing better than to watch him paint these stages and then listen as he goes easel to easel and teaches from each person's struggles.

Day 1
Qiang describes the well planned agenda for the three day workshop.
On this first day, he describes how to create and light a setup. He likes his setups to be close to eye level. He suggests that the subject matter is not about what you are painting but about how the objects manipulate light. He chooses objects carefully: large and small, manmade and organic: complimentary colors to create vibrancy and tension: a light, midvalue and light object, a rough and a smooth textured object. Because we read left to right, he arranges the light shining from the left and creating interesting shadows falling to the right. Qiang also illustrated the effect of a blue gel placed over lights (He uses blue gels (that he sells) over lights that shine on his palette and his canvas to get a north cool light effect). Gels can also be used over the light shining on the setup to increase cool or warm effects.

When he starts painting, he shares a tip that a tiny amount of gamsol on either canvas or gesso board helps with the initial paint block in.

Now he starts to paint beginning at Stage 1: Placement
In this stage he decides where the objects will be placed and their sizes. He defines the table line and considers the proportions.

Stage 2 which flows from Stage 1 is a value study using transparent colors to make a dark, light and midvalue grey. He used synthetic brushes for this stage and used transparent red oxide and ultramarine blue for this painting. In this exercise, the background is the darkest value and he paints it with a large brush with carefully placed strokes. Later he remarks that even these strokes are placed to lead the eye toward the center of interest. He leaves the lights mostly untouched and paints in the midvalue greys. To recover lights, if needed, he either scrapes them off using a shaper or wipes them clean with a small piece of paper towel soaked in gambol.

He then mixes an opaque grey using cad orange and ultramarine blue with some naples light yellow and strokes this using bristle brushes into the area around the objects where there are mid value greats. This starts another dimension: transparent and opaques (thin or thick) passages of paint. He remarks that opacity adds a solidness. He puts touches of this grey onto the mid values of the objects.

(this photo shows the camera he uses to allow everyone in the class to see)
Tomorrow, Stage 3 is Color.
If you are impatient and want to see Qiang's finished painting click here

Glad to be home.

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