Recently I have been making the trip down to the Gold Coast once a month to take part in workshops with a terrific artist by the name of Brian Cook. The workshops have been hosted by Ron Bryant of Wisteria Cottage Fine Art Studio
Brian is a master artist and winner of the Darcy Doyle Art Prize amongst other career highlights.
I was attracted to doing Brian’s workshops as he uses a lot of palette knife technique which appeals to me. What I found out after doing a few of his workshops is that he has a simple easy to follow approach to painting his masterpieces.
So I have been observing Brian’s approach and I think it is very workable and easy to follow approach for practically anyone to follow. Brian goes through a number of very distinct phases with his paintings which he demonstrates in his workshops.
In the above photo you can see the first stage in Brian’s process. He paints on MDF board and instead of doing an initial drawing of his big shapes (as we do in the Moore Method of Painting) … he starts by applying an acrylic paint down.
A blue shade to tone the board. Then he establishes his main shape, being the headland, in his darkest tone. He creates depth with the lighter value for the distance.
This stage is done in acrylic so it dries fast and establishes the structure of the painting. When dry he moves on to the next step:
As you can see above his next step is to use the palette knife. He establishes both the rocky shelf and the grassy embankment with warm tones which bring it forward. This is essential for the establishment of depth and atmosphere in the painting.
Next step is to establish the water which is a combination of cooler blue tones in the distance and getting lighter and greener towards the foreground. This stage is done with a brush.
This next step as you can see above really develops the painting. Using a large brush Brian paints in the sky and cuts into the dark mass of the headland to start to form up the trees. Notice also though how he has shaped the distant headland out of the larger purple mass that was there.
Plus he has worked on the sand and the intersection of the water to the sand. The painting is really starting to take shape now.
A little bit of work into the trees on top of the main headland. Notice how he preserves enough of the dark’s in both the trees and the headland.
The final stage for this painting then is to use the palette knife once again to add in the white foam of the water which brings it to life. A few touches in the distant headland, and one or two marks to represent figures on the beach and the painting is done.
As you can see Brian’s approach to painting is simple and easy to follow which is probably why he is a popular teacher and his workshops always sell out.
We are currently working with Brian to film some of his paintings and turn them into DVD’s to sell in his workshops, and online courses in the Learn To Paint Academy.
More details will follow soon.
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