Saturday, September 12, 2009
"Mountain, Rocks" ~ Cheng-Khee Chee Workshop ~ Day 3 ~"The Road to Graham"
"The Road to Graham"
15" x 22" Strathmore board
In the Cheng-Khee Chee workshop, Chinese traditions meet contemporary treatment and from traditional styles to abstract improvisational methods. He charged us to be sensitive to changes and explore and experiment and take risks. Being aware that the group dynamic of fellowship will contribute to growth and creative ideas.
As a former elementary librarian, I was surprised to learn that Chee is a former librarian and he illustrated "Old Turtle" by Douglas Wood in 1991. My students loved checking out this book.
The Third Day:
On the third day we discovered the improvisational splash color technique using our rock or mountain reference. One day on a Canvas by Canvas road trip to Graham for a gallery show we took many photos on red rocks and cactus and it was a familiar and recent photo. The idea was to paint on a smooth painting surface, Strathmore 500 board, hot pressed, that would repel and not absorb the paint. We covered the surface with glossy acrylic gel diluted with water in an even coat and the result was similar to painting on glass using a broad brush charged with color and sweeping it over the surface. His demo was always with emotion and energy and he covered the board with warm and cool, and a variety of shapes, discovering the subject matter as he painted, a combination of dreams and reality. My personal painting got a little heavy handed with the color but I got lucky.
Six numbers were drawn and I was #3 and Chee agreed to paint and critique 6 paintings if we'd like him to. It could be a critique where he'd say "Oh, how beautiful" or go to the clinic where he'd operate - praise or operate, cure or kill. I chose the clinic approach. On my painting, he said there were too many shapes so he consolidated some rock shapes, left the cactus alone but added some water. I always agree when anyone wants to take one of my paintings to the clinic. The photo isn't very good below because it was snapped quickly under the mirror before the surgery.
You see, we are still friends after the clinic visit. This was a long day as the evening was a koi demo for the SWS meeting but Chee was always gracious and helpful.
If you'd like to read more about these techniques we studied this week, Cheap Joe's has a 28 page book "The Work of Cheng-Khee Chee" that describes each technique and gives finished examples.
Chee "I have never been satisfied with my painting, but always happy when I paint." That elusive perfect watercolor is always waiting for the next work. On the last post of the series, I'll post a slide show of some of his work.
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