Monday 29 July 2013

Mike Svob Workshop Day 1

2 years ago I signed up for a workshop with Mike Svob - I actually didn't sign up I just emailed them and told them I had the intention of coming.  Well, as God laughs my husband came down with mono (how does a 56 year old get mono?) and I wouldn't leave the sick one behind.  I found out that he was coming to PEI for a workshop and this time nothing was going to stop me.  This is way out of my comfort zone and I was a wreck just figuring out how to pack - we had 3 people a dog and art supplies in a relative big car but we managed to fill up every last inch.

Here is the supply list:
ACRYLIC- Minimum one or maximum of two gessoed canvases or boards per painting day: in various smaller sizes. I would suggest bringing sizes 9” x 12” up to 16” x 20”. If you gesso both sides of the boards, you can paint on the flip side if the first attempt is less than a masterpiece (of course this will never happen to you). Door skin veneer is a good choice for the boards as they are very thin and light or you may use regular canvas boards or stretched canvas. If you use unstretched canvas it should be cut with an extra 2 inches on each side to allow for stretching later.

ACRYLIC BRUSHES: It is useful to have both some soft watercolour type and or stiff acrylic type brushes: sizes  a 1 inch flat watercolour is very useful for glazing, #4 to #6 up to #10 to #12 brushes in both watercolour and or/ acrylic type.

ACRYLIC PAINT/PIGMENT CHOICES: You do not need 20 or 30 tubes of paint unless you plan to works nights as well. A basic palette of SIX colours plus black and titanium white for the oil and acrylic painters will give you a huge range of colour and value. Get the artist quality paint if you can afford it – it is really worth it in the end.
MIKE’SSUGGESTED PALETTE FOR ACRYLIC -Titanium white (large tube) lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, quinacridone magenta, cobalt  blue , ultramarine blue , dioxazine purple and a black . Bring any other pigments you may have or be interested in . The quinacridone and pthalo colours are very useful .

ACRYLIC PAINTERS- Acrylic medium gels, modeling paste if you use these, paper towels, a reusable light weight container to clean your brushes, a palette, painting knives if you use them – a few small containers with lids to hold your acrylic painting medium ,  retarder if you use it. A small water spray bottle. Stay wet palette, blow dryer.
EVERYONE-Also bring some reference material: photos, sketches, soft pencils, white sketching paper, eraser, paper towels, and or rages.
 EASELS-We will need something or somewhere to hold our painting surface stable. The back of a friend or chair will work in a pinch however may I suggest an easel. A French type easel is my first choice to bring. It will hold your painting and give you some place to store most of your painting supplies. A strong light weight easel that folds into a small package is a good choice as well. In this case you will need something to carry your painting supplies in. A good choice is an art bin type box. Some of the art bin type boxes are also handy to sit on. I suggest standing to paint as much as possible but when you must sit the room is supplied with chairs and large tables. An apron to protect your clothing is handy.
Happy painting Mike Svob

These are my notes I am posting them here  so I don't lose or misplace them. Here goes.
He works with basic acrylics indoors but prefers oils on site.  He doesn't like open acrylics and hates retarder. Best temperature for acrylics is 50 - 80 degrees. (well I won't be painting outside in the winter) He buys buckets of paint and dishes it out in a fishing tackle box.  The buckets of paint have ammonia added so they don't dry out.  
He uses gel mat and glossy and molding paste for texture. He uses acrylic gloss for varnish at the end because if he wants he can just paint over it and it intensifies the colour.  
He has a squeeze jar container of 80% medium of  high gloss and 20% matte gloss.  He just keeps adding to this container so he really doesn't know what exactly is in it.  He just looked like a cook - a little bit of this and a little bit of that. 
To keep his studio humid, for the paint he uses a vaporizer (isn't B.C. humid enough) You can use plaster of paris for gesso. Use GAC, wood glue, well bond(in hardware store) to seal wood canvas.
Things to consider
  1. Value
  2. Shape
  3. Colour(mood, separates things of equal value)
  4. Gradation or edges

    This is his palette and his legs - he wore shorts every day.

    He draws this little value chart for every demo the mid tone has to be in the middle

    His working photo

    Thumb Nail (has done thousands of these)

    He drew in the darkest values in (gasp may I say it) black then painted randomly in transparent colour all over just to cover the white.  
    covered in transparent paint

    Final painting

    He had a lot to say about values.  He makes the chart and draws a value chart for every painting.  Mike constantly uses the value chart to decide if a shape (and he thinks in terms of shape) is in the light, middle or dark values. That's it just 3 values and he leaves a gap between light middle and dark to group simplify and have distinct values.  
    He assigns a value to everything - background and foreground.  this was good for me because I tend  to leave it for later. Groups mid values. Create a few points of interest strongest contrast - contrast draws the eye.  
    Mike Quotes
    • I am God 
    • People of good taste like my paintings
    • see the big picture (not sure I know what that means)
    He said it all with a smile  - I really was happy to see his demo and besides now drawing thumbnails,  I learned you have to use a lot of paint.
    I then painted one of the worst paintings I have done in a long time.  Now you could look at this and be upset, I am actually happy because I was trying something new and that is the reason that I came

    Now here comes the real reason that you should go to a workshop in PEI.  Sandi Komst runs the workshop and forgot to mention that the first night was a meet and greet,   and oh yeah we are having lobster  and wine.  This alone is the best reason to go to one of Sandi's workshops. Mike was just a bonus


    1. I just used a handheld torch to clean my ring every time and I use a normal bigger torch for dabbing because it would take
      too long to heat up the nail with the hand-held torch

    2. Ridiculous quest there. What happened after? Thanks!

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