PDA

View Full Version : Stan Sperlak Demo & The Biggest TL Eggplant in the World


Equus Art
10-01-2014, 08:48 PM
I attended a workshop at Stan Sperlak's farm in Goshen, NJ this past weekend and wasn't sure if this step by step he did should be posted here or in the gallery. Mods feel free to move as necessary.

We worked hard and fast over the 3 and a half days....well, I worked hard and I am a turtle painting compared to this man! He did this studio demo for us Saturday evening after stuffing us with the best Jersey pizza ever! This was done on a sheet of Artbord 18 x 24 using TLs and it literally took him an hour! Terry Ludwig makes pastel sticks in custom sizes for Stan as you can see in the shot of him working his multiple sky colors into the board with a palette knife. Oh yeah.....and then there is the BIGGEST TL eggplant in the known world. It is about 2" x 4". I put a normal sized TL next to it. I edited down some of the step progressions to conserve the length of this thread!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Oct-2014/1182735-Big_TL_Eggplant.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Oct-2014/1182735-Step_1.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Oct-2014/1182735-Palette_Knife.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Oct-2014/1182735-Step_2.jpg

Mongo Eggplant in Action!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Oct-2014/1182735-TL_in_Action.jpg

A little alcohol spritz
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Oct-2014/1182735-Alcohol_Action.jpg

Marsh Sunset Finished
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Oct-2014/1182735-Marsh_Sunset.jpg

Watching Stan work on this was jaw dropping. What a great and inspiring workshop!

Cat

Sarah Rose
10-01-2014, 08:57 PM
Wow.....that eggplant is huge! I could imagine how much longer it would take him to use regular sized TL's though. Did he only use the alcohol on the eggplant portion?

Equus Art
10-01-2014, 09:29 PM
Yes, Sarah. He let it drip and mingle, used a brush to smush it around a little and then painted more over it when it was dry.

Cat

allydoodle
10-01-2014, 10:29 PM
His work is amazing, I am a huge fan. He's a great teacher, I went to a one day workshop and I was energized. That is one huge Ludwig!

debbie_pastel
10-01-2014, 11:23 PM
This painting is simply breathtaking, but I am almost as impressed with the mongo eggplant Ludwig. holy pastels, I'm jealous! That said, this painting is simply breathtaking.

Nick7
10-02-2014, 01:59 AM
I am a bit confused :) How can you apply pastels with a palette knife?

Equus Art
10-02-2014, 06:53 AM
Nick, Stan shaved off thick dustings of each of the two blue sticks he had on the table and then carefully "folded" each color together with the palette knife and lightly pressed it into the tooth of the paper. It doesn't show up in these photos, but IRL you can see a very luminous sky by blending that way. When he is done pressing the dust into the paper, he stands the board up on end and gives it a couple of taps on the table to knock off any excess dust. Very interesting technique.

Cat

Donna T
10-02-2014, 08:50 AM
Thanks so much for this, Cat! Did he use any kind of reference or did that gorgeous painting come directly from his head?!

allydoodle
10-02-2014, 09:23 AM
Thanks so much for this, Cat! Did he use any kind of reference or did that gorgeous painting come directly from his head?!

I obviously wasn't there, but I'd be surprised if he used a photograph. He usually paints from life or memory, at least that's what I remember from the one day workshop I took with him. Could you imagine, from memory?? This is when his skills at simplifying really kick in.... And he must have an incredible memory.....it comes from all that plein air work I think. He's great!! I am a huge fan of his work.

Judibelle
10-02-2014, 09:42 AM
Great photos, Cat....Thanks for showing the progression! Must've been a great workshop!

Equus Art
10-02-2014, 09:48 AM
No reference photos, Chris is correct. I'm sure he has painted various depictions of those marsh sunsets as he has an expansive view of a gorgeous marsh not only from the back of his property, but also directly in view of his studio wall of North light windows. I have SUCH barn/studio envy!

All of his paintings are simplistic and so full of light and direction. I could only hope to get close to what he does in the rest of my lifetime!

As I said, I have edited down his step progression. I think I have about 20 photos total of about each stroke he put down. So happy to be able to share this with everyone.

Cat

getdusty
10-02-2014, 11:18 AM
Amazing!...his work and the size of the TL. I'm really interested in that palette knife technique.

Nick7
10-02-2014, 12:09 PM
Nick, Stan shaved off thick dustings of each of the two blue sticks he had on the table and then carefully "folded" each color together with the palette knife and lightly pressed it into the tooth of the paper. It doesn't show up in these photos, but IRL you can see a very luminous sky by blending that way. When he is done pressing the dust into the paper, he stands the board up on end and gives it a couple of taps on the table to knock off any excess dust. Very interesting technique.

Cat

Hmm, I would love to see that to understand it. So the reason why he used the palette knife was that he could press the pastel dust into the paper? He didn't make the same kind of strokes that we do during painting with acrylics?
Did the palette knife leave the characteristic marks?
When he got rid of the excess dust the pastel layer still looked different than if you painted the usual way?

I am sorry for so many questions. I am hesitant to shave off my little half sticks before I understand it :lol:

stapeliad
10-02-2014, 12:33 PM
WOW!!! that is HUGE!

Has anyone used the new supersized Unisons?

Barbara WC
10-02-2014, 12:36 PM
Wow, that looked like a really great workshop!

I love the photo of him using that huge TL eggplant stick :)

He must have painted a scene like that hundreds of times to be able to do that from memory!

I took my first plein air workshop recently, and it was in a horrible, closed in space of a garden- too much lush greenery, no sky really visible unless I looked up! Wish I had been with you at your workshop!

Thanks for sharing the photos!

Equus Art
10-02-2014, 12:53 PM
Hmm, I would love to see that to understand it. So the reason why he used the palette knife was that he could press the pastel dust into the paper? He didn't make the same kind of strokes that we do during painting with acrylics?
Did the palette knife leave the characteristic marks?
When he got rid of the excess dust the pastel layer still looked different than if you painted the usual way?

I am sorry for so many questions. I am hesitant to shave off my little half sticks before I understand it :lol:

Nick, he shaved off dustings of both blue sticks onto the paper with his palette knife. Actually made a fairly thick layer, intermixing the colors one of top of the other. Then he took the palette knife and swirled the colors around over the sky section. Once he was satisfied with the way that looked, he smoothed and pressed the pastel dust into the tooth of the board. When he stood it up and give it a few taps on the table, not much of the left over dust fell off and the sky looked smooth and blended just enough that it sparkled with both colors. I don't think we would get the results that he did if we had just used the normal stokes on top of the paper. His sky had way more depth.

One of the paintings that was hanging in his show was about 3' x 3 1/2 ' and it was a close up view of a cloud formation called mare's tail swirled across the board. The entire painting was done pretty much using that shaving, pressing technique. The texture in the thickness of the pastel dust was evident as the lighter colored cloud formation thinned out to its wispy ends. I can't imagine how many of those gigantic TL sticks he went through to paint that one!

Cat

Nick7
10-02-2014, 01:28 PM
wow, thank you very much, Cat :) precious TLs shredded into dust *scary* :D

Sarah Rose
10-02-2014, 01:47 PM
What kind if pencil was he having you use to block in your darks? Am I the only one wishing TL eggplant also came in pencil form?

robertsloan2
10-02-2014, 02:31 PM
This is so fantastic! It makes sense using giant pastels if you work large - he's covered so much area with that Eggplant that way. I'm getting ready to do a Pans painting either today or tomorrow and I could try that approach with a Deep Dark Violet and the big-big sponge, that could be awesome! Of course I'm not working on that scale but he's given me an idea of what to do with mine.

Thank you for sharing this! Hee hee, that is a ginormous V100!

Sarah Rose
10-02-2014, 02:57 PM
I think that's the VL100.....Very Large.

Nick7
10-02-2014, 03:29 PM
I think that's the VL100.....Very Large.

:lol::lol::lol:

Equus Art
10-02-2014, 05:58 PM
What kind if pencil was he having you use to block in your darks? Am I the only one wishing TL eggplant also came in pencil form?

Sorry, Sarah, I meant to answer that question the other day. He said either charcoal or graphite pencil, but uses hard vine charcoal when he does his drawings. I had both charcoal and graphite pencils, the ones that are non-wooden outers and I was perfectly fine with those. I don't know that I wouldn't snap those vines into smithereens the first time I tried using them.

Cat

Sarah Rose
10-02-2014, 06:38 PM
Does he use a fixative over that? This is all so interesting! I didn't know you could use graphite with pastels. I guess I never thought about it.

Equus Art
10-02-2014, 08:09 PM
No fixative. I'm in awe at the results of his paintings. The gallery show was simply magnificent!

I didn't have any problems with the graphite pencil. I didn't scribble in very darkly, just used the darker areas in my sketches as a reference point and put in my really darks with whatever dark pastel I chose.

Cat

Equus Art
10-02-2014, 08:47 PM
As a correction, Stan just told me that this painting is actually 22" x 36" and for Nick's question about why he shaved off the pastels, he said that "the palette knife creates a different and interesting surface variation that fingers or other tools can't mimic the layers of blue in a sky." His mare's tail painting is 32" x 40"

Here is a link to the complete works in his gallery show:

http://www.somagallery.net/2014stansperlak.html

Cat

Nick7
10-03-2014, 02:07 AM
Thank you so much! I definitely need to try it :)

*Deirdre*
10-05-2014, 06:27 PM
I've looked at this thread several times now and am getting quite excited at the thought of trying something similar.....I have tried some relatively unsuccessful skyscapes in the past....but nothing ventured nothing gained....I'm going to try again!:D Thank you Cat...and of course Stan as well!:thumbsup:

robertsloan2
10-06-2014, 09:55 AM
Cat,wow, thank you! I've been doing a lot with skies lately and looking at the whole page of his paintings is giving me ideas. I love his cloud shapes. They're so true and loose and full of motion. I'm still working on getting clouds to flow right and not always be cirrus. I've got cirrus ones down, it's cumulus and other kinds that give me fits.

allydoodle
10-06-2014, 12:30 PM
Does he use a fixative over that? This is all so interesting! I didn't know you could use graphite with pastels. I guess I never thought about it.

A comment about graphite and pastels.....

Graphite and pastels work fine together on sanded surfaces. No problem getting in your sketch with the graphite then going in with the sticks.

Graphite and pastels don't work fine together on Canson MT paper. The graphite creates a slick surface on Canson MT, and the sticks won't adhere properly.