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Friday, June 12, 2015

Play Time with Mark Mehaffey

Mark Mehaffey at BWS Workshop
Last week I attended a workshop by Mark Mehaffey that was sponsored by the Baltimore Watercolor Society. He had us start out with some basic  and complex color plan options. Some were great reminders of the different mood you can set in a painting using color, others were new and intriguing that will likely take some time to master.
5 of 8 Color Plans

That was the end of "the known" for me.  From there Mark took us on quite a trip through working on slick surfaces and non-objective painting. We did occasionally travel back to representational at the most unexpected times.  

Slick surfaces included yupo and watercolor paper we had coated with gesso. I had not used either before, but Mark really took away the uncertainty and mystery of using these surfaces with watercolor and gouache. I'm not sure how often I will use slick surfaces, but it is great knowing I can. The fear is gone. I also believe I can adopt some of what Mark taught us to work with fluid acrylics, that I have grown to love. Taking all of the new knowledge and stretching my style to incorporate it when appropriate for my subject will be wonderful.
Gesso'd Hot Press Watercolor Paper

Needless to say this workshop was fun and stimulating. Mark really made us think, leaving us exhausted by the end of the day. I know I was not the only one to go home and crash after an intense day of contemplative painting.

At one point Mark revealed The Secret of Great Art, "work hard", and he made us do just that. However, I think we all loved every moment of the workshop.  Examples of some of the paintings I produced during the workshop are included at right and below. You can see they vary from my painting style, but that is the point of a workshop. Learn something new then incorporate elements of the new information into your work allowing you to propel and grow your work. Mark referred to time he takes to explore new ideas as "Play Time."  I definitely had a lot of Play Time last week, and it was a blast. 
Working on Yupo - High Contrast
Working on Yupo - Middle Value
Working on Yupo - Low Key Painting


  1. Thanks for sharing, April!
    YUPO is fun...NICE!

    1. I think the Low Key painting is the one that surprised me the most since I think of yupo and bright as almost synonymous. Be able to also do muted work on yupo was intriquing.

  2. Good post. Thank you
    Yupo scares me. Weird, but the slick surface feels too foreign to me. I'll play paint, and see how it goes. Your success is very encouraging.

    1. It scared me too. At least now I'm not AS scared.


I look forward to hearing from you. - April

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