Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wisteria Acres Art Retreat with Lalita Hamill & Michael King

View from Pagoda Ridge Golf - 5x7" Oil on Paper
Last week I got to spend two wonderful days at Wisteria Acres for the Art Retreat in Langley, BC put on by Michael King & Lalita Hamill....SO fun!

I went last year for one day but this year I planned ahead so I could make it for two days.  On the first day Michael King did  a demo filled with tons of great tips.  We then went to Pagoda Ridge Golf club to paint for a few hours.  

When we got there everyone migrated to a huge shady tree (did I mention it was smokin hot, 34 degrees, ugh) and set up in front of a pond with a beautiful view of the mountains.  I loved the pond but of course the view I wanted was outside the golf course, looking through a chain link fence.  

Luckily I still had the shade of the tree so it was such a great afternoon of painting.  I have not done much plein air or alla prima painting as I mostly do indirect oil painting.  I found that I tend to rush when plein air painting and use too many brush strokes so I really focused on slooooowwwing down for this one and using a few brush strokes as possible.  My mantra for the day was "paint with purpose" and I really like how much more peaceful it was to be more mindful of each brush stroke rather than frantically trying to fill the white space.

It was so nice just to paint for fun, not worrying about creating anything, totally changes your mindset.  It is just painting for the love of painting.  The bottom foreground of the painting was done by Michael King.  Michael is a very colorful painter with very bold, expressive brushstrokes... I on the other hand, usually totally refine my brushstrokes so they are almost invisible and obviously, I love my neutrals.    The more I look at my little painting though, the more I like the contrast of texture and color between the foreground and background, hmmm new things to try :)

The next day we went down to Marina Park and Michael King did a few really quick demos which were great to see how to simplify and get everything down quickly.  Then as it was Lalita Hamill's day to paint as she was to be doing the demos for the next two days, I parked my easel beside her and watched her paint for the first part of the day.  Lalita is like a treasure trove of knowledge and she is so passionate about sharing all of her knowledge that it is impossible not to be inspired and learn a lot! I learned a lot of great tips from Lalita Hamill and again, tried many new techniques and much more chromatic colors than I normally used.  So the opposite of how I normally work....and SO much fun!

It was so interesting to watch how both Lalita and Michael paint so differently yet at the same time there are many similarities to what they do.  They are both so approachable and giving of their knowledge.  They really know how to simplify the process into useable tidbits that their students can use in their own work, they make a great teaching combo! 

That is what I love about taking classes and workshops, trying new things that I likely would never do in my studio and learning new techniques and styles.  The other fun part, is that it is such a social retreat that it is just as much fun sitting and visiting with the other artists at the retreat.  I definitely plan to attend this retreat every year, it is a great way to kick off the summer! 

I posted a few photos below of the resort as it is so peaceful, had to share!


The barn
The patio was so nice and shady, great for late night wine and early morning coffee....and no internet, tv or phones...nice  :)

The barn, with a beautiful loft above.  You get to walk through the barn to get from the parking lot to the main house.  I LOVE horses.

Bedroom greeters

The beds were so comfortable, just like they look.  A big white cloud to melt into after a hard day of painting :) The rooms are actually bigger than they look in this photo too ;)

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