Off to Snow Camp!

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mdmattin
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Off to Snow Camp!

Post by mdmattin » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:03 am

I'm currently installed in a quaint New England inn in northern New Hampshire:

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I kind of thought The Magic Mountain meets The Shining, but actually very nice and friendly.

Tomorrow I will participate in the Snow Camp workshop, a three day immersion in snow painting by noted landscape painter and teacher Stapleton Kearns. I've been reading his blog for some time now and have gotten a lot out of it already.
This is the view from behind the inn:

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so we won't have to drive or hike anywhere!

I packed way more art stuff than I will possibly need, on the theory that I'll only have one shot at this, so massive redundancy is in order.

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Rebecca
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Re: Off to Snow Camp!

Post by Rebecca » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:47 pm

Fun. And. Cold.
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Re: Off to Snow Camp!

Post by mdmattin » Sat Mar 16, 2019 4:46 am

Snow camp was a blast! Three days of painting, learning, and conversation. Here's a shot of me at work, taken by fellow camper Robin Davis:
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Here are my sketchy beginnings. These are a bit larger than I've been working in recent years, 16" x 20" and 20" x 24" respectively.

judges house sm.jpg
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snow camp tree.jpg
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Re: Off to Snow Camp!

Post by Andre Jute » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:28 am

Dr Livingstone, I presume... Man, you're keen! That first painting could pass as complete already; I'd be keen to see what you can do to improve it.
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Re: Off to Snow Camp!

Post by Rebecca » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:40 am

Nice. Tons of questions. For starters,
What equipment would you leave behind next time?
Did your feet get cold? (You probably solved that one some time ago)
Did you feel disconnected from the scenes at first, or did you settle right in? (I often need an adjustment period)
What did you talk about?
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Re: Off to Snow Camp!

Post by mdmattin » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:36 am

Thanks, Andre and Rebecca!
I worked on the first painting over the first two days, when there was snow on the ground, but not much on the trees and roof tops, having been blown off. On the third day, we got a dandy snowstorm, and I was thinking of going back out and working the new snow into the old painting. However, Stape convinced me to start a fresh painting, so I did the one of the tree. I still like the idea of adding more snow to the first one, and I took some photo refs, so I'll work directly on it or start a new one based on it. Besides that, I want to improve the temperature balance - the shadows are too warm in places, giving it a leathery look. In general, it's more spatially challenging than what I've been doing lately, and I want to build on what's there.

I brought a lot of redundant equipment that I wouldn't normally take along. I have three overlapping kits now- the pochade box/tripod combo, the french easel, and the Gloucester easel with either the pochade box or the french easel for the paint box. I'd normally take one, based on the location and size of work I expected to do. I didn't have occasion to use the umbrella, but I think I'd always bring it, just in case. My Peg o' my Art canvas carrier worked pretty well, so I'll continue to use it. The smaller 16" x 20" canvas carrier was a bit difficult to manage, and one of the screws fell out, so I'll have to improve the design or abandon it. In general, the message I took away was SIMPLIFY! - applicable to gear, painting process, and composition. It's hard enough without over-complicating stuff.

My feet were OK, thanks. I had hunting boots and thick socks, and it while it was seasonably cold - 20's -low 30's - it wasn't brutally cold, and there weren't high winds. Apparently at the previous session it had been single digits with 40-60 mph winds, so we really couldn't complain. Some people used disposable foot warmers. I suffered more from cold fingers, but I had a couple of electronic warmers to warm them up every so often.
My experience with cold and adverse conditions in general, is that while I am actually painting, the endorphins are flowing and I'm fairly oblivious to everything else, but as soon as I stop, it all comes rushing in, and my body is like "Hey! Remember me? I'm cold and I'm tired and I'm hungry and we still have to pack all this stuff up and slog back home!"

I did need to take some time to get the feel of the place. It wasn't radically different from where I normally paint - just more so, with real mountains instead of gentle hills and more spectacular atmospheric effects, with great clouds forming and obscuring and revealing the peaks from minute to minute. That's partly why I chose the relatively tame little scene with the house instead of the grand vista you see behind me. In order to paint the mountains, you would have to get to know them well and be able render their forms even as the light and cloud cover changed all the time.

The conversation was largely about painting, including technicalities like mediums and supports, and more high level questions of composition and style. One of Stape's main messages is that you can't make a good painting by simply observing and recording - you have to have a design concept and "install" it in the painting. He referenced the ideas of Edward Payne, et al, but advocated a less schematic, more organic approach based on creating interesting shapes.

After dinner he did slide lectures on the artists who had most influenced him, including Aldro Hibbard, Edward Seago, Emile Albert Gruppé, and other members of the Cape Ann School, some surviving members of which he had met and learned from personally while living in Rockport, MA.
Before that, he had studied in Boston with R.H. Ives Gammel, who had in turn studied with William Paxton, who had studied with Leon Gerome, who had studied with Paul Delaroche. Delaroche was a student of Antoine- Jean Baron Gros, who had in turn studied with Jaques Louis David. David was trained by Francois Boucher, who was of course taught by Francois Lemoyne. Lemoyne was a student of Louis Galloche, himself a student of Louis Boullogne II. Boullogne II, of course, was trained along with his brother Bon, by their father Louis Boullogne who was born in 1609. (from Stape's blog).

So there was a strong sense of continuity.

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Re: Off to Snow Camp!

Post by snippety » Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:05 am

Thanks Matt, i love your shining comment, made me laugh. i will send you some heat ..35 - 38 C to warm up your feet ?

ps you look very majestic at your easel, plein air.

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