Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Painting Creation Workshop June 11th-13th, 2021

Last summer I just thought about what still is, what brought calm. For me, it is always the outside—the mountains, the water, the air, the sky, watching Pippa run. I have painted this land, this Virginia for decades now. I have painted the Allegheny Mountains, Lake Laura, the Springs, the Wildflowers every year. Each summer I pack up and go to paint what I can find and each year I am rewarded. It does not change. I can be assured that it is bigger than me and yet gives me enormous comfort. It renews my soul and for that day I forget despair.
Shrine Mont’s Painting Creation Workshop was back and packed with eager people needing to get out into all God’s Glory, God’s Church. We had the highest enrollment we have ever had, there were so many students. Every level came—those who haven’t painted since school days and those who paint on a regular basis. People came on their own, people came with family members. We painted Lake Laura from the dam and we painted the beautiful garden just outside of the Shrine. There was frustration and there was success.
©Photo by John Carten

On the first day, we painted distance and reflections; something that is very hard to get from most any photo. There really is no matching what the human eye can see. One can separate the distant mountain from the midrange, from those in front. There is the color change but also the value change and the texture. On the second day, we did detail. Each student was asked to pick one thing to paint in the garden: one leaf, one flower, one stone. If they had time they could do two things. Out of the two exercises, detail was by far easier to approach and yet a full scene is but many details.
For those who have not tried it yet, painting from life outdoors is undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating painting experiences. There is never a lull in painting subjects; there is never a moment where a hundred don’t shout out for attention: pick me, paint me, I am here. There is the dancing river with bouncing light, there is the distant wingstem wild and yelling I’m so pretty; there is the calm of the ancient mountains and the sky covering us and following us everyday. There is moss and stone and cold water. There are grasses and wildflowers.
Even when you are the only painter you are never alone. There are visitors: the butterflies, the bees, the birds. There is the wind. The longer you paint the more visitors come. The louder it gets. Once we painted by a pond and soon all the bullfrogs started believing we had left not knowing we were listening to their entire conversation.

There will be more opportunities. We will have a drawing workshop in the fall. And we will return to Shrine Mont next summer. You are invited to come, to look, to paint all of Creation.