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Stella Canfield’s Workshop

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a painting workshop put on by Stella Canfield. Stella’s vibrant use of color and motion intrigued me and after attending one of her demonstrations I decided I needed to go to her workshop.
That morning it was raining out and I spied three women walking along Beacon Avenue’s wonderful green median all carrying umbrellas, so I rolled down my window and took a picture of them with my cell phone. They were all wondering what the heck I was doing, so I turned around and came back and told them how cute they all looked, they were the perfect Seattle scene. And I took another photo.


Armed with this photo and many others that I have taken during my travels over the years, I loaded my car with art supplies and not enough food and drove off to Daniel Smith, my absolute favorite Art Supply store, which happens to be 4 miles from my house.
The class was friendly, many of the attendees had taken a workshop from Stella before. She talked a lot about the elements of design (light, composition, and 5 other elements) and her method for producing a nice painting. Then she gave us a demonstration, she painted a boat in some water. I was not impressed with her reference photo, I would never have chosen it for a subject, but by the time she was done, (which didn’t take very long) she had a beautiful luminous painting of a boat on water..
She gave us an exercise, just paint. Just put colors down on paper. Don’t think about it. The results are here:

As I mentioned earlier, I have a treasure trove of photos that I have taken in the last few years, many of which I had hoped I could turn into a painting. But they are too scary for me, so I have never attempted to paint them yet. I took a couple of those along, and this street scene from Napoli, Italia is the first one I tried to paint at the workshop.

Stella is a great coach, she comes in and gives you great suggestions for how a painting can be improved. I would recommend her class to anyone interested in watercolors. She shares my opinion that anything you do to the paper is fair game, including scraping, scratching and scrubbing. As long as there is paper left, it counts. All of the paintings displayed here are very large for me, 15″ x 22″

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  1. Jacqui
    March 25th, 2011 at 21:32 | #1

    Mimi, you constantly amaze me. I loved all of your paintings and would be hard pressed to choose a favorite. The Pansies are lovely and delicate, your story adds a wonderful tender touch. You made me want to paint Pansies even if all I can draw are stick figures. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  2. March 18th, 2011 at 07:32 | #2

    I like Stella’s advice to all of you that anything is fair game in creating your paintings. Your street scene is loose and captivating with the little figures added.

  3. March 16th, 2011 at 09:47 | #3

    Your Napoli street scene is lovely Mimi.

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