Workshop Series: Find the Shadows First

Newberry, House Bridge in Rhodes, pastel

Then Add Light!

One of the most important lessons I teach in my workshops is to find the shadows first. It is almost a guarantee that if you find interesting shadows then the rest of your drawing or painting will work!

The hard part is that looking for shadows (cast, core shadows of the thing, and areas of dark) is counter intuitive, most people look for the color and a beautiful thing. Trust me, without the shadows it is a lot of work with little to show for it. In my pastels below you will probably notice the light and color, but what set up each one were the blocks of shadows.

The process starts with a dark paper, compose with any dark medium color playing special attention to main shadow areas. In cases with shadows of a yellow or white building, I lighten the shadow, but only one or two tones up from the paper. The rest is a lot of fun, leaving the shadow areas alone, then focus on the light and color areas, adding light by subtle gradations until I finish with the brightest light.

Join us in Provence France, September 7-16, 2020

Cheers,
Michael Newberry

Provence Art Experience Workshop, Luberon, September 7-16, 2020

Study Color and Light Theory with Michael Newberry

Newberry, Red Sand, oil on canvas, 9×12″. Though there are no red poppies in this painting, it was a very hot day in Florida in Ft Desoto, and I was sunburned, and sometimes I transfer that feeling into color. Regardless, you can see how the red starts as orange-red scarlet and shifts towards pink-violet patches as the color recedes towards the sea.

Excited thinking about what to teach for the Provence workshop Fall 2020. And I think it would be great to explore color and light theory based on space! When we paint for instance a field of red poppies, way too many people paint the red the same, and it pretty much kills rhythm, movement, and any chance to excite the eye (the eye needs difference no matter how minute). Van Gogh, was a champion of varying the color through space. So out of his playbook, going back to the red poppies, if you add more blue as they recede and more orange as they come forward, you create a dance of variations of red, that will delight the eye, excite the mind, and capture your spirit.

If you have any other suggestions shoot me an email, mtnewberry at gmail dot com.

Our first 2019 Workshop was incredible with our great host Mathieu Brousses. And the aesthetic theme of finding the shadows and bringing out the light proved to be a very successful lesson series.

For Fall 2020 we plan to use Luberon as our hub, discovering new places (though Mathieu will know them) and different time of the year. Samples of our possible itineraries:

Our host Mathieu Brousses

Some pics from last month’s workshop in Provence, May 2019.

From our teacher, Michael Newberry: I taught several plein air painting and pastel workshops in NY, Mexico, Greece, Santa Monica, Italy, and France. And I formally taught Life Drawing, Composition, and Painting at the prestigious Otis College of Art and Design. When I am not teaching you will find me painting in my cabin studio under the monumental granite outcrop of Tahquitz Rock in Idyllwild, California, accompanied by my studio assistant doggy, Frida. More info on my extensive bio here.

If you are interested in attending please contact me, mtnewberry@gmail.com or Mathieu at mathieu.brousses@gmail.com and we can plan accordingly and make a spectacular and meaningful experience happen.