Monday, 11 July 2011

Studying at the Norfolk Painting School

The Norfolk Painting School has become a spiritual home for me since I first went there to discover the mysteries of oil painting. The teaching skill, encyclopaedic knowledge and enthusiasm of proprietor, Martin Kinnear make it a pleasure to spend a couple of days there to expand one's education. This time I had selected a two day investigation of impressionism.

As usual I was not disappointed, the depth of thought required and the rate of working contributed to a very satisfying experience.

The course was largely based around the work of Monet and we started with a detailed presentation relating to the scientific basis of various aspects of his technique. This lead to our first practical exercise exploring the notion of equiluminence and the use of balanced value colours to create the illusion of value shift in the picture. The selected image was the Sunset in Le Havre. We began by making a judgement as to the overall value of the piece then making a grey mix of paint at that value. The grey mix was then used to balance the other colours. We checked our effort using red coloured filters. The technique is one that many plein air painters use to unify their work; the so called 'mud' from their palette boards being the equivalent of our grey mix.

Sunset at Le Havre after Monet - One hour oil sketch on MDF 12" x 10"

Our next task was an exploration of some of the Seine series of paintings. The theme was Motif Planning, making decisions about dominant colour, warm/ cool bias, harmonic colours and complementaries. Having made a set of choices we then produced a sketch to show our thinking.

Seine at Giverny after Monet - Oil sketch on MDF 10" x 8"

As often happens on Martin's courses the main task is the production of a large piece, 40" x 30", and the Seine paintings were to be the stimulus. After creating the colour beginning for our large works we retired for the evening knowing that we had a hard day ahead completing the piece.

The results of my efforts are below.

Seine at Giverny after Monet - Oil on canvas 40" x 30"

Another fine couple of days. Try it sometime.


Caroline said...

Hi Mick your attempt is really beautiful, very mysterious and soft with the misty weather. Maggie Latham would have loved this one but I think she is off the computer for a while. Good to hear you returned to the Norfolk school for more instruction and inspiration. A very interesting post.

Peter Ward said...

Sounds like you had a lot of fun Mick and your teacher is obviously someone who just doesn't teach the tricks of the trade.
Nice to see you getting really into the groove again.

Mick Carney said...

Caroline - Thanks. I had the privilege of seeing the Monet series paintings at the RA back in 1990 and was taken by the ethereal quality that they exuded. This was a wonderful opportunity to revisit my feelings of that time and attempt to capture a little of the magic.

Mick Carney said...

Peter - You are spot on about Martin. He is steeped in the theory and is at pains to ensure that his students are properly exposed to the intricacies behind the technique. He's the reason I've returned, I have confidence in his expertise and erudition.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Mick,
You must have a great time at the school and working with Martin has to be very enlightening. I remember seeing his work on another site years ago...always pushing the edge and posting these massive paintings.
I think these last two you've posted here are very nice works. Using Monet as a reference for ones work is not a bad start at all. Love this big piece. Subtle color mixing and soft dreamlike edgework. Nice brother.

Mick Carney said...

Ron - Thanks a lot. Working with Martin is a lot of fun, he has so much background knowledge about the working methods of the Masters. It's impossible not to be enthused by him. It's also good to work on large canvases. Looking forward to doing more.