Note: I'm a day late in posting. I was extremely exhausted after the second day because I barely slept the night before, being overly-stimulated from all the great artwork I was privy to and all the great information and just the experience in general. So sue me.
Today, our second day, consisted of Dan using the morning to talk about the works of past masters and what we might glean by studying their work. He talked about the value of doing master copies, in order to learn and problem solve. I'm personally a big believer of doing these kinds of exercises. I've done some in the past and intend to do it more from time to time. The great painters of the past are our teachers. They are there and they are available for us to learn from. Dan talked about how, if you really appreciate how an artist does something well, look to that artist and try to copy them.
When talking about all these great artists Dan made use of his computer hooked up to a pretty large monitor which made the images easy to see and discuss. He also showed us many examples of his own work and talked some about his process of doing larger scale paintings meant for his galleries.
He talked about the use of photographs for his paintings and their limitations. Essentially, the way he explained it is that he will often set up his model for, let's say, a pretty involved composition that takes place outdoors, take some photographs of the setup, go back to his studio and work out the composition and design and pretty much all the essential elements onto his canvas. Then, now that he's ready to go he will bring the model back on subsequent days so that he can paint her from life outdoors without wasting time, in order to capture the essential qualities of light that just cannot be derived from copying a photograph or looking at a computer monitor.
Dan is amazingly prolific. The amount of work he seems to put out is beyond me. And these are not teeny tiny works. Not that he does only large works. But what he can accomplish, and has accomplished is amazing and truly jaw-dropping.
In the afternoon we had our second turn to do another portrait. Again we had great models. If I didn't mention it on day one, Dan had a nice way of getting 14 artists to share the studio space and not get in each others way or fight over space. He did something I wish more workshop instructors would do. He assigned each artist a spot with a designated number, and after each time with a new model we would move one spot to the right. That way everyone got a fair shot at a decent view of the model. If you're a workshop veteran you know how people get really territorial and love to come early and fight over the best spots, leaving the shyer or less assertive (or less savvy) people in the lurches. This eliminates that kind of unfortunate scenario, which is great. He uses 2 models at once and divides a rather large model stand in half with a different setup, lighting, and model on each side. Clever I'd say!