Alyssa Monks Painting Workshop

Transcending the photo reference

August 9, 10, 11, 2024    10 – 5:00

D Anthony Gallery

This workshop is designed to guide the students toward creating a painting from a photo reference, using both indirect and direct traditional painting techniques. It aims to instruct painters on how to use the photograph to create a painting that surpasses the look of the photograph, not simply imitates a photograph.The workshop will explain how to create a useful photo reference, covering topics such as ideal lighting, camera settings, lenses, Photoshop, and printing. Students will learn to create color relationships that portray the space and volume, creating the illusion. Emphasis is then placed on paint application and ways of activating the surface.

By focusing on deliberate brush stroke and maintaining accurate color relationships rather than rendering, the application of paint to describes the form. We will accentuate the structural volumes of the form over the contour, concentrating on relating all parts of the picture to each other with an organized palette. From there, students will be guided towards deciding what information is useful to look for and what usual pitfalls to avoid when interpreting a photograph. Deciding when and how to invent and experiment is perhaps the most crucial part of the process.

Students will be encouraged to look more at the painting itself than the photographic source, using it only for initial reference. We will explore ways of seeing the picture objectively, how to imply detail without overstating, and what level of finish works best for the particular painting or style. The painting will develop through indirect layers of opaque and transparent painting to achieve the delicate nuances of flesh and other surfaces. Methods of Glazing and Scumbling will be discussed.

The final result can be a painting that captures the essence of your subject (and your connection with that subject) and contains the intimacy of the human touch that transcends a smooth photo-realistic image. There are a variety of results varying from abstraction/improvisation to a more illusionistic representation. All will be discussed and the challenges and rewards of each will be explored.

A maximum of 15 students per workshop. Students may work only in Oil paint (no alkyd or water soluble substitutes). Students must have some knowledge of working with oil paints, and be familiar with basic supplies and clean up procedures. Beginners are welcome. All students are required to submit 5 jpegs of their oil paintings (no larger than 1000K) to the venue prior to registration so Alyssa can gauge the level of experience among the class and adjust appropriately. No film or audio recording is permitted. A detailed materials list, with notes, will be distributed upon registration up to 3 weeks prior to the class to ensure time to prepare. Students are required to be prepared for class on the first day. Alyssa will provide photo references for the students to use for the workshop, they are not encouraged to work from their own photographs.

  1. Registration Form