View Full Version : Duane Wakeham Workshop-pix and paintings

Deborah Secor
11-07-2007, 01:02 PM
I got to do part of a workshop with Duane Wakeham over the weekend and wanted to share some of the things that came of it. Of course, you know that he is a PSA Hall of Fame Honoree and paints these sweet, lush landscapes of California. He doesn't do many workshops any more, so this was a real treat. He taught at the College of San Mateo in California for a long time and thus has the ability to talk about painting in technical terms I appreciate, but the thing I like more than anything was that he suggested that if we were to do a whole workshop in which we did nothing but 10-minute color studies the entire time, we would learn more than if we made one or two finished paintings. (Does this sound a little familiar to anyone? :D)

Duane told us a lot about his philosophy of painting the first day, then had us paint from photos. It was challenging to compose several studies out of the same photograph. I really enjoyed seeing what all the others were doing, since many of them were students or former students of mine.

Here's Duane with another student:

Below are mine, each done in about 10 minutes, all of them about 9x12" or less.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Nov-2007/23609-DSCN7517.JPG Duane came over and added some of the lavender touches in the water, which I enhanced. This one is on Richeson paper, black. It wasn't the best choice for such a fast and light-colored painting.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Nov-2007/23609-DSCN7521.JPG This is on Wallis. It's a very challenging photo...but I like what's beginning to happen. Love the swing and sway of it.

It was a beautiful weekend here in New Mexico, so on Saturday he took the group out to the bosque to paint. We were looking out across the trees to Sandia. There were sandhill cranes everywhere, decorating the golden landscape, and punctuating the quiet with their funny call. You can see a few in this shot.


This is a bad photomerged shot of the area.

Duane next to one of the trees:

And here are a few of my paintings, again 10 minutes, done on location:



This last one is smaller, and I did it on a piece of UArt, the 'new' Ersta, 400 grit. I LIKED that paper a lot!!! I need to get some more of it. Very juicy paper. And here's a shot of my 'view'--I always turn around backwards and paint what's behind me, if I can!

Well, there's so much more, but I just wanted to share a bit with you! I can't wait to get back in the studio and play around with some more 10-minute pieces...which is merely a way to find out what works, and why (or why not), so that you don't waste a lot of time on paintings that have big flaws in composition, color etc.


11-07-2007, 01:07 PM
Hey Deborah - very nice indeed. I love your paintings - 10 minutes or 1 hour or more - but it's always good to have the encouragement from a teacher and hear new approaches. Duane did a demo for the PSWC one time - I've always admired his work.

Love the rich pieces and looseness and color. You really have the values perfectly identified which is the challenge for me (one of many).

I like the idea of the 10 minutes to make sure if it works or not... that is so freeing and perhaps tells as much as the thumbnail. No?

the second tree is my favorite. Wish I was at the Bosque with you.

Oh and it's wonderful to see the sandhill cranes in the photos!

Love it! Barb

11-07-2007, 01:37 PM
Deborah, thank you for sharing. Lovely of your friend to let you have her time and spot for one day. Love the second from the bottom, the orange-green-purple tree with pinks behind it. Really appreciate learning about the 10 minute sketch to see if it works.


Deborah Secor
11-07-2007, 01:40 PM
Hi Barb--Yeah, it's always so good to bounce ideas and thoughts against other painters! I like Duane's work a lot. It's a bit romantic for my taste, but always solidly crafted and beautiful. Values are one of the most basic things he discussed, so I was paying particular attention.

There are times when I find a thumbnail just seems extraneous. When I'm on location and the time is limited, the light is changing fast, and all I want is to get the impression of the values and mostly the COLORS in place, a thumbnail just seems to get lost in the shuffle. You know I paint fast, however, so doing these studies suits me to a T!

C'mon out--:rolleyes: The weather is still warm and the trees golden! Wish you were here alongside us painting... :D


Deborah Secor
11-07-2007, 01:42 PM
Charlie--aren't all fall trees orange-green-purple with pink? :lol: Thanks, glad you like that one. Yes, my friend Anne is a doll to have given me that spot. It was the right thing at the right time, that's for sure.


11-07-2007, 08:59 PM
Beautiful works, Deborah!! I am so inspired when I see your sense of color and what a treat to see so many together! Glad you had such a great time while in Duane Wakeham's workshop and nice of you to share pix of the day.


maggie latham
11-08-2007, 06:23 AM
Inspiring, beautiful little color studies. It sounded like a fascinating time. I love the vibrancy and cleanness of the colors.

Deborah Secor
11-08-2007, 10:19 AM
Thanks, Cindy and Maggie! I have a tone more of these little quick painitngs, but I figure no one wants to see all of them...really too much to show. I think the thing is that it's so refreshing to be free of the idea we shoud make finished works in a workshop. I freed myself of that contstraint on location years ago, and found that as a result my work out there became much stronger--in fact I now paint to a finish on location more often than not, at least to 90% or so.

This morning I was wondering if I could take some of my more-finished works and plug a few more hours into them to see what putting in MORE time would accomplish. I have a couple I don't particularly care for that I'm considering reworking. I usually suspect putting in more time won't improve them, but it may be time to test that theory...


Dot Hoffman
11-08-2007, 11:42 AM
Deborah, love your paintings! Thank you so much for sharing!! I took Duane Wakeham's workshop at IAPS and he's such a great instructor. Wish I could have been there, too :)

11-08-2007, 11:55 AM
I really like the abstracted quality of all of these little gems Deborah. Ten minutes or less reminds me of the days when I studied figure drawing! A 10 minute pose was considered "long"! Nailing the correct value is just one of your many strong points. I hope none of those you've shown here are candidates for "noodling".... :)


Deborah Secor
11-08-2007, 09:09 PM
Yeah, Dot, he is a great instructor, isn't he? I really enjoyed the time with him, and happy to share my efforts.

Funny, I cross posted this in plein air (well, the ones done on location) and someone else mentioned figure studies, too. As for noodling...ya never know what might come, but I have no plans right now! Thanks for the vote of confidence.


Mary Brigid
11-09-2007, 08:50 AM
Looks like you had a great time Deborah. And the work you produced from the workshop is very vibrant. I like it
Mary Brigid

11-09-2007, 10:39 AM
Charlie--aren't all fall trees orange-green-purple with pink? :lol:

No, Ma'm, with respect, they ain't. :angel: Not over here (Sweden). We get all yellow (birches, aspens), yellow and orange (maples), and the rest is muted, brownish. I've seen fall in California, Sacramento, and I could hardly believe what my eyes saw. I was a danger in traffic, staring more at the glorious wonders beside the roads. Intense yellow-orange-red-deep reddish purple, on the same tree! Incredible, has to be seen to be believed, by us way up nort on the globe.


Deborah Secor
11-09-2007, 12:08 PM
Charlie, if you think the trees in California are spectacular in fall you'd wreck your car for sure if you ever get up to the New England area in the fall! My orange-green-purple interpretation wasn't literally there for me to see, it was more of a response to values, but in New England the trees literally sport those colors. Amazing!


11-09-2007, 02:29 PM
Charlie...you should see the colors going on here on the East Coast!! None to be rivaled!!

Deborah..these are great!! I had the opportunity to work with Duane a bit last year, as he judged our MPS show, (and he juried my painting in, lol)what a great time it looks like you were having!!

Deborah Secor
11-09-2007, 04:17 PM
It was a nice weekend. I need to get out more often--and today our weather is--get this--in the 70s!!


11-09-2007, 04:38 PM
shut up!! We are rainy and about 40ish...:crying:

Deborah Secor
11-09-2007, 04:46 PM
Actually, we could use some moisture like that, but in the meantime I won't complain. It wouldn't change anything but my attitude, anyway, now would it? :D


11-10-2007, 08:07 AM
Exactly!! I could use an attitude change!!:evil: I KNOW we need the rain, but is so depressing, still here today!! BUT, I also, know need to be thankful for what ya got, no?

11-10-2007, 11:40 AM

Like these, especially the close up tree (with a hint of violet hills behind). That looks like a finished piece, not a 10 minute sketch! Beautiful!


11-10-2007, 04:56 PM
Yep, purples, oranges, reds, yellows, golds, and admixtures thereof up here, and this year was outstanding. Sunny, cold, winter is in the air, and we still have some late color.

And I still miss the desert. Wonderful sketches, Deborah, sounds like a great workshop. It's great to see a little of these workshops from folks who go. One of these days...

I noticed your mention of UART paper-- I really like it too. I was so surprised at the responsiveness of the 400-- I hadn't expected that courseness to work for my style. I have usable sized pieces of the other 3 grits too, and looking forward to seeing how they work for me. I like the way they feel.

Dayle Ann

Deborah Secor
11-10-2007, 05:10 PM
Thank you, Don!

Dayle Ann, it's funny you mention the coarseness of UART... I work on Wallis 95% or more of the time and to me the UART felt smoooooth and silky. Guess it's all a matter of comparison! I did like it a lot and hope to get more soon. I have a really terrific art supply store literally 2 and 1/2 blocks from my house and I have to discipline myself not to go in there too often!


11-10-2007, 07:33 PM
Deborah, these paintings are just beautiful. I love the colors and the looseness of them. How wonderful it must be to have worked outside in such a lovely setting.


Deborah Secor
11-11-2007, 10:01 AM
Thanks Tracy. It's AlWAYS good to go out into nature and paint. It was a gorgeous spot.


11-11-2007, 06:57 PM
these are beautiful deborah...i always love quick studies..most of the time more than completed labored over paintings!! just beautiful..

Deborah Secor
11-12-2007, 03:22 PM
Thought I'd add a photo that one of the others who attended shot of a demo that Duane did.


Now that's loooooose!


11-13-2007, 12:39 AM
Deborah...thanks for sharing your experience. Inspiring!!! Beautiful studies in such a short time. I miss Autumn leaves...here in Brisbane we don't see very many! Love your work....