Ray Robert’s Workshop – Maui 2012

Ray’s amazing 20 minute demo!


Ray and his wife, Peggi Kroll-Roberts
I was fortunate enough to participate in Ray Roberts plein aire workshop in Maui last week. What a blast! Not only was it great fun, it was a great learning experience, and Ray and his wife, Peggi, are wonderful, warm, people. A pleasure to have met.
I have only painted “en plein aire” a few times in my life, with no direction except what I had read. In fact, this is the first time I have taken a workshop from an established artist. I have taught them (how to paint animals in acrylic from photographs) but had never taken one.
Anyways…the object of his plein aire teaching is to use these small plein aire sketches as reference material to utilize in the creation of a more finished studio painting. He doesn’t create them to sell.
Some of his most useful tips apply to all types of painting, not just plein aire and I found them incredibly useful. 
Some of them were:
  • ALWAYS do a number of value studies, or Notans…either in just two values or three. Do a few different greyscale ones, and a few color ones, to feel out which one will make the best painting. It will be almost immediately evident. (I thought so anyways!)
  • Translate a scene from your grayscale study to color. It helps immensely in reading the values.
  • Avoid equal shapes, masses,  and divisions. It makes things boring and repetitive.
  • Start with your darkest darks and lightest lights. Once they’re established, it’s much easier to find the middle values.
  • Borrow from everything around you to make a great painting. You don’t have to paint the exact scene. Remove elements, or add them, to make the best scene.
  • Shadows in a landscape are cooler and lighter farther away from the source (under a tree) and warmer and darker towards the source, as they’re reflecting light from the source. The farther shadow reflects light from the sky.

These are only a few of the great things I learned. Peggi has invented a few very useful plein aire tools that they sell on their website.

You can check out Ray and Peggi’s beautiful work at www.krollroberts.com.