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View Full Version : Kenn Backhaus Workshop .....Day Two


Yokovich
09-20-2005, 10:39 PM
Prior to the Day Two demonstration Backhaus talked to us about his limited palette. He always gets alot of questions about the fact that he doesn't use a "warm" red out of a tube. He showed us that with lemon yellow he is able to achieve reds that match cadmium red and or a tomato like red. His palette is always only these colors:
Ivory Black, Ultramarine Blue, Aliz Crimson, Permanent Rose, Raw Sienna, Cad Lemon and White.
On the far side of a panel he started with Cad Lemon and added Permanent Rose, as he added more Permanent Rose the mixture resulted in a Cad type red. But then as he added more Permanent rose the column wound up in Cool-like reds.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-a.jpg
In the next column he again started with Cad Lemon and this time he added Aliz Crimson in increasing strengths....this column represents Warm reds (He fielded several queries about referring to a mixture of Aliz Crimson as "warm"!)
To me several of the color mixtures in the "red" columns seem very similar to one another..but it is clear there are a whole lotta reds in these combinations, probably as many as anyone could possibly need. I just may sneak a cad red back into my palette one day...but it certainly is interesting that he uses the two reds (exclusively) that he does! I plan to do this exercise for myself one day since mixing these firsthand (and labeling them) would make a handy reference chart.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-b.jpg
The third column from the right starts out as Cad Yellow to which he adds Ultramarine blue, to the right of this he added white to cool the greens. (but he seldom uses these greens for trees, preferring Yellow and black)

The forth column from the right starts out as Cad Lemon to which he adds black. To this green mixture he adds either red to provide a warmer green, further adding yellow into that gives a burnt Sienna. (Those colors are the chunks of color atop the Yellow and Black mixtures). I was fairly amazed that he came up with such pretty browns by mixing Yellow black and red!

The columns on the left are mixtures of Rose with black to make violet and rose with ultra blue for a violet.

When you are mixing color add only minute amounts instead of big globs. It's like a recipe, he stated, and with practice you understand that only a tiny bit of this or that is what it takes to wind up with an umber instead of a sienna.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-c.jpg

Yokovich
09-20-2005, 10:41 PM
Day two of the workshop was spent on the private property of a Hood River couple. Orchards, barns aplenty and a fantastic view of Mt. Hood. The absolute best part of visiting with these folks is that they are art appreciators --they had art everywhere in their rustic lodge type house. We got to eat lunch on their veranda. They treated us like we were royalty...all because we are "artists"! All they really wanted in return was to be present during the critique at the end of the day.

Backhaus had scouted the area ahead of our arrival and had decided to paint a cabin that was next to one of the barns. I think this might be an employees residence.
For Lesson One we considered looking at our scene as a big elementary school puzzle...today we will do that again ---but we will also
1. consider the most interesting part of the scene AND
2. provide differing EDGES.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-d1.jpg

Yokovich
09-20-2005, 10:46 PM
First he tones his canvas (which, BTW is a birch panel with canvas glued to it). Today he thought there was alot of violet in the earth so he toned the panel with a light grayed violet mixture.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-e.jpg

Then, like yesterday, he used a regular number 2 pencil to draw in the basic shapes.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-f.jpg

Before he got too deeply into this he asked us to look quickly at the scene and look away from it...what "stood out"? Most of us said it would be the chimney. Right! However, did we think the chimney really warranted much attention? No...so he determined to leave the white chimney out of the scene. Ignoring the white chimney...what THEN is the most interesting area? We all agreed it was where the light hit the white trim next to the dark window. (This area, that I have indicated with an arrow, was especially bright during our evaluation, in the photo it doesn't read as bright as it did in real life)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-d.jpg

Yokovich
09-20-2005, 10:47 PM
Kenn begins the painting there...with the darkest dark that he will use.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-g.jpg

Next he establishes the lightest light that he wants to use (noting that he won't go any lighter than this anywhere in the whole painting! He also won't go any darker than the darkest dark either...the reason is that he wants this area to command the most attention). He uses sharp edges in this area too. He wants the rest of the painting to be rather subordinate to this area.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-h.jpg

He determines that today he will build the painting "out" from the window area, still thinking always about the big puzzle shapes.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-i.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-j.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-k.jpg
Note that he "throws in" a dark color behind the area of interest (that is not really there..he just wants to use emphasis)

Yokovich
09-20-2005, 10:48 PM
He wants the shadow shape in the foreground to be strong, and working fast he is trying to stay ahead of the changing shadows. But he realizes he is losing this race so he explains that he will stick with his original shadow design despite the fact the shadows are disspating in real life. Note how he softens the edges of the shadow on the ground as it "goes away"

He asks us to think about how the puzzle shape changes with EDGES...where do we want harder edges and where should we soften them? If we don't have variances with the edges our painting will compete with itself and the viewer will not be drawn into it. He wants us to make sure our point of interest has the sharpest edge. Here he begins to add "nature" around the structure, careful to keep temperature and edges in mind.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-l.jpg

Yokovich
09-20-2005, 10:49 PM
Here is his palette (he has cleaned the center of it off regularly).

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-m.jpg

In the end he adds the fence and even "opens" a gate. The fence is painted atop the other paint with a # 4 filbert. He quits painting here (although the painting is unfinished because it is time for us to go find a scene, find our strongest point of interest and utilize soft and hard edges!)

Check how "bright" and dominating the window with white trim! The reason it is successful is that no where else in the painting did he go brighter or darker and also this is the area that has the most crisp edge.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2005/33531-n.jpg

Viyi
09-20-2005, 11:06 PM
Celestia, thank you so much for doing this account of your workshop. And thank him if you write back to him from all of us here at the forum. I already read day one.

brianc
09-20-2005, 11:09 PM
Excellent! Thanks for such an informative and valuable post, Celestia!

Yokovich
09-20-2005, 11:17 PM
Thanks Brian and Vi--I will be back in a day or so with day three! (I did a bad painting this day but learned alot in the critique that followed...matter of fact almost all my paintings from the workshop were er....not so hot!! lol) but I plan to "repeat" his lessons as he advised us to do!
latah!

Moosehead
09-20-2005, 11:22 PM
Wow Celestia. Thanks for the free workshop!

Interesting, and very generous of you to share all of this with us!

Thanks.

Marc Hanson
09-20-2005, 11:45 PM
Celestia...what a great diary you're providing. What would it cost to have you take one of my workshops? :D :D :D I'd love to have someone do this kind of documentation for others!!!

When my article in Plein Air Mag was published, Ken was one of only a few ''big time'' painters who made contact with me and he was very generous in his comments. I knew then that he was not only a very good painter, but a very good human!

Looking forward to what else you have to post.

blondheim12
09-21-2005, 12:06 AM
Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us.
Love,
Linda

Robert
09-21-2005, 12:07 AM
Kenn Backhaus is one of those painters you never hear anything but good about. Nice to read that he took time to be gracious to you, Marc.

Sarah Judson
09-21-2005, 01:55 AM
Five stars for this thread, too, Celestia, thanks so much!

Yokovich
09-21-2005, 02:23 AM
Celestia...what a great diary you're providing. What would it cost to have you take one of my workshops? :D :D :D I'd love to have someone do this kind of documentation for others!!!

When my article in Plein Air Mag was published, Ken was one of only a few ''big time'' painters who made contact with me and he was very generous in his comments. I knew then that he was not only a very good painter, but a very good human!

Looking forward to what else you have to post.


Thanks Marc--I've seen your work--I'd love to take a workshop from you!! Thanks everyone.... I appreciate that you appreciate my "report from the front lines"---all the kudos should go to Kenn Backhaus since he is allowing me to share my experience with you. If you get the chance you should all try and meet him in person--what a surperb teacher (and he is witty to boot)!
At the end of everything I will show what I did for the exercises (which as I have warned you are not near the treat to look at as his demonstrations!) I'll share with what he told me about them (if you aren't too weary by then....lol)! :)

antgeek
09-21-2005, 06:21 AM
really great, celeste. thanks for sharing the workshop with us. interesting approach ken uses, i'll be watching for the rest!

Tony Perrotta
09-21-2005, 06:41 AM
Hi Celestia, Love these reports, keep em coming. Very interesting. Like you had mentioned in the first thread, Kenn mentioned that he does not want you to copy his mixtures but to find your own. You have to do that with your pallete too, find what works for you and use it.

You are doing a great job with these posts.


regards Tony :)

JamieWG
09-21-2005, 07:12 AM
Celestia, thank you so much for Day 2! Your photos and detailed descriptions of his process are fabulous. I can tell what a good teacher he is by the way you retell the sessions. Can't wait for Day 3!

Jamie

midcoast
09-21-2005, 09:27 AM
Thank You so much for this report!! Kenn appears to be a wonderful instructor....and I'm glad to see there is an instructor out there that does end-of-day critiques! I've taken 3 workshops so far, and NONE of the instructors did critiques. Done right, critiques can be VERY helpful.

I'm secretly hoping this was a 10 day workshop ;)

Nancy

midcoast
09-21-2005, 09:35 AM
oh, I also wanted to say that I'm really impressed Kenn demonstrated his color mixing. Again, NONE of my instructors did this. They always said not to ask them what colors they used in a mixture because they didn't necessarily know...it was a little of this and a little of that, but they had no memory of how they achieved that final color. From looking at your thread and comparing Kenn to my instructors, I'd say that Kenn definitely has better understanding of his palette than my 3 instructors did of theirs. But I also think the limited palette helps with that too.

Nancy

Peter-MN
09-21-2005, 10:48 AM
Hi Celestia,

I know what you mean about not producing good work at workshops.
I took a weekend workshop this summer and had so much information
flying around in my brain I couldn't "paint" :( . I took solace in the thought that once the lessons sunk in I could concentrate more on creating rather than thinking too much :rolleyes: .

Thanks for posting these lessons. I have a lot to learn and you have helped a lot.

Peter-MN

James or Jimmy Jim
09-21-2005, 11:21 AM
Celestia, thanks for all this info and in such great detail.

Yokovich
09-21-2005, 11:57 AM
oh, I also wanted to say that I'm really impressed Kenn demonstrated his color mixing. Again, NONE of my instructors did this. They always said not to ask them what colors they used in a mixture because they didn't necessarily know...it was a little of this and a little of that, but they had no memory of how they achieved that final color. From looking at your thread and comparing Kenn to my instructors, I'd say that Kenn definitely has better understanding of his palette than my 3 instructors did of theirs. But I also think the limited palette helps with that too.

Nancy

Thanks everyone, glad you are enjoying the workshop...!.....Nancy, he sometimes told us how to mix something up specifically but not often at all, preferring that we learn our own way to translate colors...he did this chart mostly because of his "controversial" two reds, to prove that he can provide any red he wants without having something like a cad red in his palette. I need to say also that when he creates "natural" looking greens he doesn't just use yellow and black, he adds other colors to yellow and black to warm or cool the greens.
I'll be back later...it was a 5 day workshop :)

WTPDOSA
09-21-2005, 03:21 PM
Great share, Celestia!!!
Thanks.

designergigi
09-21-2005, 04:51 PM
Celestia, thank you for such a great diary of your workshop! Just reading this is a workshop in of itself!

I took a workshop this summer from Ken Dewaard who's workshop was very much like this that you write of.

http://kendewaard.com/gallery.htm

Ken had us start similarly, toned canvas, blocked in masses, begin with the darkest darks and lightest lights and everything else falls in between.
That lesson really helped me break out of the middle values I tend to paint. While some paintings are alright with that, I really saw during Ken's class that I needed to incorporate his ideas. He suggested that we "punch up" the colors as we could always tone them if needed. He was right. I would encourage anyone who could make his October class in Lanesboro, Minnesota, to come.

http://www.lanesboroarts.org/cac-classes.html

Thanks again, Celestia! I can't wait for the next thread! :clap:

Yokovich
09-21-2005, 08:53 PM
Hey Gigi--this thread is a Backhaus thread, not a Dewaard thread...lol lol...but this brings up an important point, that when looking for the "right" workshop..one should make sure one loves the instructors work!

designergigi
09-22-2005, 12:53 AM
:o :o

Sorry, Celestia! I shouldn't have posted that. It's just when one finds talented instructors, one wants to share. :D

I should have explained myself better. Your thread got me all fired up about my October workshop and I wanted to share...

I love you threads. This takes a lot of time and I really appreciate all your work.

Well done, Girl! :clap:

LarrySeiler
09-22-2005, 01:04 AM
good stuff!!!! Yeppers! :clap:

Larry

Brad121
06-15-2006, 06:04 PM
Very interesting...

thanks,

Brad

springbaby
10-13-2012, 02:43 PM
I am finding these workshop threads really helpful even if I don't work in oils...I like the way he has provided only one or two things to focus on each day...and the goal then becomes to learn that lesson...thank you for sharing,

Gail