While there, Susan was to be the juror of awards to the 6th National NE Pastel Competition so she saw it as a great opportunity for us to learn about her thought process in selecting work. She only commented on the top awards, but it was very interesting and informative. That morning she did a PowerPoint presentation of several of her works from sketch to finished painting which was helpful in making us aware of the steps she takes when something isn't quite there, and how she solves the problem.
In the afternoon we went to see her painting on location. She did a quick sketch and started a demo. Her demos were never finished in one go, but they were helpful because it was like seeing how her mind worked when deciding what color to use and what areas needed to be tackled first. I asked her why she had chosen a scene that didn't seem to have that much appeal compared to what was around and she said that sometimes she simply likes to challenge herself and she learns the most form those pieces.
I decided right there that I was going to do the same, because after all, what was the point of taking a workshop if I wasn't going to push myself to some degree? A falling bank with some dead trees peeking out of the water was my afternoon project.
Painting #4, reworked
I'm showing here my first attempt (top one) and the reworked version, after some good critique from Susan. I needed to define some of the trees, the horizon line was almost at the center (that was more obvious when the board was placed on the side) and I needed an element on the left side to keep the eye from wandering out of the painting.
At the end of the workshop, she said that was my strongest piece, and I'm happy to say that I felt the same way too.
That day I also painted this fall scene. The shadows on the foreground were made up and perhaps that's why I do not like them. I'm debating on taking the easy way out and crop it, or rework those shadows...