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“Larger than Life” Workshop with Martin J. Allen

by Beth Stone, posted by Deb Shaw

Martin Allen’s Techniques Showcase at the 2017 San Francisco ASBA Conference was a great introduction for the class he subsequently taught locally for BAGSC, October 24 – 26, at The Los Angeles Arboretum.

Martin’s method is to work directly from photographs. He takes great care to stage the photos for dramatic lighting and for color accuracy to the point where paint colors can be directly matched to the colors on a printed photo. Although Martin jokes about his limited pallet there is a wisdom to it. He promotes mixing small quantities of the desired color to create a more realistic appearance.

Painting from John Pastoriza-Piñol's BAGSC workshop, 2017. © 2017 Beth Stone.

Painting from John Pastoriza Piñol’s BAGSC workshop, 2017. The shiny, reflective areas are masking fluid that has yet to be removed. © 2017 Beth Stone.

My biggest take-away from Martin was the notion of placing “mostly the right color in mostly the right place” from the very beginning. Here are three examples of my paintings from classes within the past year. Hint: both of the Orchid specimens had deep red to nearly black areas.

I call the one from mid-point of John Pastoriza Pinol’s class “my pretty pony” , the other is my first attempt at vellum from Carol Woodin’s class. I eventually finished each of these about two months later.

Painting from Carol Woodin's BAGSC workshop, 2017. © 2017 Beth Stone.

Painting from Carol Woodin’s BAGSC workshop, 2017. © 2017 Beth Stone.

Contrast these to the depth of tone achieved on this dandelion bud (~15x) in Martin Allen’s workshop.

The more classes I take, the more convinced I am that there is no right or wrong method. To me the secret is to keep an open mind and amass a tool kit of knowledge that can be applied where it suits the subject matter.

Painting from Martin Allen's BAGSC workshop, 2017. © 2017 Beth Stone.

Painting from Martin Allen’s BAGSC workshop, 2017. © 2017 Beth Stone.

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