Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pictures of people working for our upcoming watercolor class

Painting People Working is the title of watercolor class that I am teaching here at ARThouse this fall.  The class is all filled up with 32 students, but it is also being offered online, and there are still some slots available (watercolor classes at ARThouse).  I am collecting photos of people working and would like to present some of them here.  This will give you some idea of the kind of things I intend to paint as demonstrations.  So let's go!  These are all photos I have taken myself, in China and elsewhere:

Of course it will probably be necessary to crop and alter many of these images to make a successfull painting.  We are going to study several different approaches to this subject, from loose and semi-abstract to tight and representational.  Do you have any favorites?  I have hundreds of other photos that I have collected over the years on this theme.

Now I would like to show you some paintings done by myself and other artists of people working.

watercolor by Frank Webb
I just took an incredible workshop with Frank Webb, and he advocates adding small figures to your paintings, especially of people working!

Brooklyn Butcher Shop -- watercolor by John Salminen
John Salminen is a master of the urban scene, and almost always includes figures going about their business

Earth, Air, Fire, Water  -- oil painting by Lincoln Perry
Lincoln Perry is probably best known for the series of large murals he has done at the University of Virginia, showing students and professors at work and play

Lushan Market -- watercolor by John Salminen
Another fantastic painting by John Salminen, showing people hard at work in China

Sister Heyward -- watercolor by Mary Whyte
Mary Whyte is one of my favorite watercolorists.  She has thoroughly explored the workings and doings of people in the south, and documented a fast fading form of rural life in her book "Working South".  I own a copy and would highly recommend it.

watercolor by Burt Silverman
One of my first influences in watercolor, Burt Silverman often paints people working in factories or doing their chores, in his subtle style using lifting-off techniques

The Operator -- watercolor by Burt Silverman
I love this painting.

Ian Playing the Flute  --  watercolor by Burt Silverman

Wilson Mill -- watercolor by Frank Webb

Peace and Dumplings -- watercolor by Susan Avis Murphy
Here is one of my own, done in 2011.  This girl was stationed outside our little hotel in Beijing, selling bao-tze, a form of pork-filled dumpling

Heading Home -- watercolor by Susan Avis Murphy

The Retired Toolmaker -- watercolor by Susan Avis Murphy
This is my father-in-law, Lorenzo Colombini, who passed away recently.  He was a machinist working for Canadair in Montreal.  Here is is working in his basement.  I worked from a photo, but most of the background was unsuitable, so I made it up.

Aren't these wonderful pictures?  The subject matter, people working, has an inherent dignity to it that will give our paintings a timelessness and universal quality that is the basis of good art.  I think we will have a lot of fun with this subject and paint some excellent pictures.  Stay tuned, as I will be posting the results on this blog.

For students signed up for the class, both in-person and on-line, there will be a special private blog with premium content that you have already paid for, explaining in detail how my demonstration paintings are done.  You will receive log-in information for this private blog on around September 10, 2012.  For others who may wish to access this course material, you can sign up for the online course by following this link: Painting People Working.  It is only $50.