Monday, May 9, 2011

The Things I Learned in Carolyn Anderson's Workshop

Art Deco Girl is a 20x16 oil by Shirley Fachilla
Never shorten a neck… reserve a brush or more for your darks (misplaced white can destroy one’s values)… watch your angles.

Great things to know, but not the most important lessons I took away from Carolyn’s workshop.
For me, the lessons that resonated were:
Light and shadow define our visual reality. Light flows like a river and is the great unifier. Painting isn’t filling in the spaces. There should be a meaning behind each brushstroke.
The important lessons I only partially understand. I guess I’ll be trying to implement them from now on in every painting I do.
Art Deco Girl was painted on the second day of the workshop.


  1. I also love this has the elegance of the Picasso Blue paintings and the wonderful, sweet colors you use. I hear that about each brushstroke having meaning....but I really don't know what it means. I know that there are brushstrokes in my paintings that really make a difference...but they are usually a happy surprise!

  2. Thank you very much, Evhe.

    Christine, I don't totally understand either. However, part the message is to think before you put brush to canvas. (Something I often don't do.) Carolyn also said that one brushstroke should lead to the next in a natural progression.
    P.S. I also love those occasional "happy surprises."

  3. This is a beautiful painting. I love it! It is amazing what one stroke of paint can do for a painting. Sometimes it can transform the whole thing.

  4. Wow, this is stunning! it looks straight from that period, just lovely. and i'm pinching some of those facts, most helpful! thank you!

  5. So glad you both liked it, Michelle and Suzanne.

  6. I love how the light moves across her dark hair, beautiful Shirley!

  7. Thanks, Dana. She was a joy to paint.

  8. Great food for thought, especially the part about the misplaced white. Art Deco Girl looks effortlessly painted, beautiful!!

  9. Diane, Carolyn put the colors she used as basics for her darks on the right side of her palette and the colors she primarily used in her lights on the left. An interesting arrangment.


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Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...