Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Are You Ready Yet?

Slow-Poke Cowpoke is a 14x18 oil done from life during the Peggi Kroll workshop by Shirley Fachilla.

I’ve heard it often and I’m sure you’ve heard it too… you learn when you’re ready to learn and not before. This little maxim, of course, applies to everyone, not just to artists. But it seems especially germane when applied to the lessons one hopes to learn in an art workshop.
It helps explain why some workshop experiences are pivotal and others not so much. For me, my Carolyn Anderson sessions were pivotal. I was ready, not just for her insights into skills and techniques but also for her philosophy of art and “visual language.”  
I was ready for Peggi Kroll as well and didn’t even know it! Yes, I was excited because it concentrated on the figure and yes, I was thrilled because I would see her very distinctive technique in process. But that’s not what I was ready for.
I was ready to hear, really hear about value, about limiting value, about value massing and about using only high key value to make a statement. Finding out about notan from another great teacher, Dawn Whitelaw had been part of my preparation. But mostly my prep was spending time painting and thinking about how and what I was painting, not working slowly (because I don’t!) but painting thoughtfully.
I’ve discovered that it’s good to be just a bit of a slowpoke myself! 
[For the meaning of notan, value, high-key and value massing, please visit my Artful Definitions.]


  1. Very true! Even if you aren't ready, sometimes things just seep in and stay there to emerge later - when you are ready!
    Great post!

  2. I love this painting!! and of course your thoughtful comments

  3. Oh Shirley, the paintings you've done at the Peggi Kroll workshop have me totally inspired and impressed!!! I'm gonna see if she has any dvds I've been a long time admirer of her work... Thank you for so eloquently expressing (and showing) the ideas from the workshop!! (Even if I have to go over to Artful Definitions to figure out what in the sam-h is "notan") Can't wait to see what you post next, keep 'em coming!!

  4. These high key paintings feel like Sorolla.

    You are so right about needing to be ready, but even when I was not, later the lessons acquired meaning.

  5. Inspiring for sure..your work is lovely Shirley

  6. Wonderful, peaceful, painting - I don't think this could have been done any better. I LOVE the composition and color choices.

  7. Great pose! Great outfit too. I see Peggi-Kroll's influence. Awesome.

  8. Love your figure paintings. This one is a favorite. You captured the young woman in a thinking relaxed mood. You are really painting some beautiful paintings.

  9. Shirley, thanks so much for sharing what you learned in the Peggi Kroll workshop. My paintings often go from dark to light and I have wanted to stay in the high key range, and have not really followed it through. I often get in a hurry without thinking about the next color. I love this, very Nashville. :)


Is it too early to send an invitation?

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