Matt Smith Workshop {Part II}

On the second day of the Matt Smith workshop, the students painted and Matt gave us input and helped us troubleshoot our work. I painted this one in the morning.

The reference for this first painting was a photo of the southward view from the cliffs near where we stayed in Oregon. Matt encouraged me to use confident, bold brushstrokes and to reestablish my darks. He also recommended I add more vibrant color in the water. I think as I paint more, it is more and more of a struggle not to over-render things. This painting was a reminder that simpler is better.


In the afternoon, Matt got to my easel as I was finishing up this painting of the northward view from our vacation spot in Oregon. He gave me a tip for making water appear to be in motion–make it blurry. He just reached out his finger and smudged the water where it hits the rock. That’ll do it! I was pretty pleased with these two paintings. It was amazing to see how quickly Matt could assess a work in progress and know how to improve it.

It’s going to take me a while to assimilate all I took in over the course of the three days. Right now I feel like I need to loosen up. I’m over-thinking things because I am so conscious of all the ways I want to be improving and growing in my work. I need to remember to take one painting at a time, keep plodding away, and not take myself too seriously. It’s a privilege to have the time and resources to paint–I am grateful whether or not I’m pleased with the finished product.