View Full Version : Class #1 with Gorge Shipperly

06-09-2006, 03:48 PM
The Word According to George Shipperly

This morning I packed up all my supplies and made the track to Wheaton for class with George and company at the Dupage Art League. This was a really packed 2 Ĺ hours and I hope I can share the essence with you. He had a still life set up but some of us brought photo refs to work from.

The first thing he did was to ask me to work larger and on a different surface. I was working on 8 ĹĒx llĒ Mi Tiens paper. He gave me a larger sheet of matte board. I wanted to re- do my painting for the Pastel Forum Monthly Project so I asked him particularly how to achieve the lights with a dark background. He said the exact opposite of Julia: lights over darks. (I still think Juliaís approach is very helpful and plan to continue this too.) After laying down a really thick layer of black, he used a single edged razor to scrap off material to make an area for dropping in whites or lights. I could never have done this with light weight paper!

To begin, donít pay attention to detail. Just lay in masses and compose with lights and darks in mind. He had us use ResNGel to block in the first layer and told us we could use this in any layer at anytime in the painting process. Stay loose and donít be concerned with details till later, if at all. Work in layers. He said pressure makes a huge difference in color saturation. He often overlaps colors with the backround and main subject. Some one was working on a floral (rose) and to tone down the pink a bit he very lightly scraped a flat piece of a warm green over the part of the flower he wanted to push back and the adjacent background.

He said to use painterly elements to direct the eye: linear qualities can help move the eye around the painting. Avoid literal translations of references. Make the color, line, masses and values work for the painting not reality.

He uses nature as a jumping off place and imagination to supplement. He paints an awful lot with a single edged razor: more than I would have thought possible. He uses the razor to change a predominantly horizontal stroke to a vertical one. (Or vise versa)

He demonstrated a way to make trees look much lighter than mine. (mine tend to look kind of clumpy) He first draws lines in a dark value to represent the trunk, limbs and branches. His lines were very gestural, swift and worked to get the feel of the tree. (What he actually said was that I needed to capture the poetry of each tree) Then using thin lines of green and other colors, worked up a textured, lacy surface. Using the razor again (this guy uses his razor more on his paintings than his chin!) he rubbed gently to achieve a few flattened areas. Then he starts to drop in more color on the bark to get just the mottled look he wants.

Well, my brain is pretty well drained. Heís a great teacher and I canít wait for next week. Stay tuned for more information! Iíll write what ever I learn next week if you are interested. I'll post my work later. I still need to work on it a bit.

06-09-2006, 04:38 PM
Lindsay, how extremely interesting this all is. I have lots of questions. How does he use the ResNGel - did you put it on first and then work OPs into it or vice versa? When he used his razor to remove the black was he using the corner to scrape with? When he was using it to spread the OP's around or to flatten areas, had he built up quite an impasto layer of OP? Wow, I wish I could be there too - thanks so much for posting this and please show us your painting. Jane

06-09-2006, 05:34 PM
Wow, Lindsay! Thanks for writing this up. Ditto what Jane said.

06-09-2006, 05:36 PM
Thank you for that report! Did you use the Res.n.gel? How was it? I see that it is non-toxic (vs. turps) so am intrigued. Working dark to light is a lot harder in OP than SP-- but I guess he scrapes back and reapplies a lot as you say. Haven't really tried that. Very Interesting. Looking forward to your next lesson ;-)

06-09-2006, 05:44 PM
He uses the ResNGel on the first layer to kind of spread the ops around. (saves $$) He did say that you can use it later if you want to thin layers out some.
He uses the straight edge razor flat to manipulate the surface media. HE uses it gently and deeply depending on how much he wants to scrape away. For example, I wanted to have the illusion of standing up flowers so he showed me how to scrape gently in an upward stroke to show more virtical movement and move pigment up into a darker area.

I'm afraid the class painting is not much but I want to start another and put into practice what I learned. I'll post em....I have no shame!! He did say our work outside of class would be better for lack of distrction ect.

I'll post what I hear from the demo tomorrow!

06-09-2006, 07:02 PM
Lindsay, I've heard so many good things about George as a teacher. Thanks for the report on your class.
I had a long conversation with him once when I interviewed him for the OPS newsletter. What a fun person to talk to! He's where I got the idea to use the REsNGel for underpaintings.
Looking forward to hearing about your next class.

06-09-2006, 08:27 PM
Lindway, there is lots of content in your post. I put a razor blade in my tool box some time ago but have yet to try it out to any degree. I'll be sure to get some ResNGel as well and look forward to trying them as suggested. I'm very interested in learning about painting in OP in a loose manner. I always believed that one needed to have their drawing down pat before apply OP because the medium seemed quite unforgiving in terms of making corrections. Appreciate your effort and looking forward to hearing more.

06-09-2006, 09:53 PM
Leo, Ann, thanks for your comments. I'll post what ever I can. Fun isen't it? George is very much into the mind set that "this is not hard". He's very playful and into getting "impressions, feelings, composition". I'd like to try a really broad variety of subjects during this class time.

06-10-2006, 08:05 AM
Here is my image from George's class. There are some things I've imorved on but others that need work. I think its a bit overworked at this point but time to move on! Sorry, forgot to resize!http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Jun-2006/81895-georges_class_1.jpg

06-10-2006, 09:46 AM
Hi Lindsay,

Thanks so much for sharing. I didn't realize that a razor could be used for so many things! Did he ever put the OP's directly on the razor, then apply them to the paper? Is that even possible to do? :confused:

I can see the influence of the class in your trees all ready :)

Nice work, and thanks again so much for giving us the details!

06-10-2006, 10:11 AM
Serena Thanks for the comments and I think Brad does this.

Kathryn Wilson
06-10-2006, 11:09 AM
Lindsay, thanks for taking the time to share this with us.

I'd not heard of ResNGel with OP's before. Let me get it straight - you put the OP's on first in lights and darks establishing your shapes, then you use the ResNGel to dilute the OP's into a smoother layer?

Keep at it and I look forward to hearing about your next lesson.

06-10-2006, 11:24 AM

This is great stuff. Thanks so much for taking the time to tell us all about the class.

06-10-2006, 12:53 PM
Lindsay- Great thread, thanks for sharing. Your piece here is good (love the grasses) but the one on your blog today is even better! Fun to see the improvement.

06-10-2006, 03:14 PM
I ment to post THIS one!

06-10-2006, 04:02 PM
Hi Lindsay. What an interesting report. You seem to have found a fabulos teacher. I really admire the second OP painting you posted. How beautiful! The areas of colour with little detail really work well.

06-10-2006, 04:30 PM
That's beautiful!

06-10-2006, 09:24 PM
Lidsay, your last posted painting shows a remarkable improvement in achieving a much greater harmonious whole to the objects depicted. There is also much improvement to giving a more painterly impression. Gradulations! I think that you have profited much from the course already and thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

06-11-2006, 09:02 AM
Thanks Leo, Brad and June! So excited about oilies! And the encouragement means so much to me.

06-14-2006, 08:41 AM

The second one is fabulous!!! I think your George time is really helping! :lol:


Pat Isaac
06-16-2006, 02:56 PM
Thanks so much, Lindsay for sharing all of this info with us. Your classwork looks great. I like George's work and I always find it interesting to take classes from people who use different techniques. Then you can learn from them all and develop your own technique.

Looking forward to the next installment.


06-16-2006, 09:34 PM
thanks so much for sharing some of George's techniques with us! I love his work!! and would love to just watch him paint!

I use a razor blade when working with the oilies too. I like those little grippers that you can get to hold the straight edged blades because I've knicked my fingers a lot of times when not using one!

One thing you can do if you want a really straight edge in the painting is lightly scrape your oil pastel with the razor watching so that you get coverage down the length of the blade. Then slightly stand the blade on the area you want a very straight edge, press down and pull to the side. The paint will spread under the edge of the blade away from the line. (Hope that made sense....if you've ever done sheetrock mud, you'll be a pro :))


06-16-2006, 10:15 PM
Carly! Thanks. That sounds like a great tip! I can layer a light over a very dark too with this technique.