Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mark Mehaffey workshop, Interlochen, Michigan, July 2015

This is our first morning painting..Mark had discussed warm vs cool dominance, and our job was to concentrate on that. Avoid a 50/50 ratio, and to try 80-20. Also, Try to simplify shapes (practice doing 20 shapes or less!).
Still on first morning, Mark talked about the focal point and how things become duller, softer edges the farther away from it. We talked about the "star of the show" and the many ways to highlight that. (ie: a cool painting with warm focal point, etc)

We talked alot about, and practiced color theory and the 4 components of color; hue, value ,temperature, and saturation. One demo Mark did was with lots and lots of color, and then lots of  neutrals with small amount of color. Really made an impact with me as now I am more aware of how distracting a painting with "visual overload can be". We talked about color schemes, ie: complimentary vs. "near complimentary" (tertiary plus the color).
Still on first day, we did a cool painting for the morning, a warm painting in afternoon. This is the beginning of Mark's watercolor demo. We talked about values, he likes (generally) to use around 5, and how values relate to focal point. The closer the values (which is good to achieve a foggy look), the less important or impactful the area is, and vice versa. Values can really create a mood this way. Also, the less contrast, the more the viewer has to look, and the more contrast, of course the more obvious. You can use this to your advantage depending on the story you wish to tell. We also talked today about dominance and the "Alot, Some, and a Little" when it comes to design.

Everything in a painting is relative to everything around it. So true! That's why I keep going back and forth "tweaking". Mark usually does a drawing with values in his sketchbook, and relies alot on that drawing for his paintings. His sketches were really complete and wonderful, and with the design and values all planned out, the more successful the painting is bound to be. Mark usually starts with a cad red toned support, because of it's neutral properties. We talked about letting the red show more for warmth, less for cool areas. I just love the look of the red peaking through!

Mark emphasized the importance of hard work! Also to remember to be brave and to enjoy the process, vs the end result.  It was a great group, a good time, and I can't say enough about Mark. His talent (which of course, is why I was there!), his knowledge, and his humor made it a wonderful workshop!


  1. Wow! Thanks for putting the effort into this awesome post, Laurie. Gifted teacher, great location, smaller class - looks like you had it all! Where do I sign up?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thanks, Chris! I'd like to do another one some day. Maybe we can meet up!