Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Love at first sight," does not apply solely to romantic love

Thank you to Andrea Mace at the Cannon Beach Citizen for such a great article.

The expression, "Love at first sight," does not apply solely to romantic love, according to well known painter and illustrator, Michael Orwick. In Orwick's experience, art patrons fall in love with paintings in a similar fashion, feeling an almost visceral connection with certain work.  The formal components that come together in a final painting and cause this magnetic draw to a particular painting will be the focus for Orwicks next painting workshop. http://michaelorwick.com/workshops
     “When a painting from across the room has a magnetic draw, almost like falling in love at first site, this initial impact is most often caused by design and the values or lights and darks in the painting’” Orwick explained.
    “As you wander closer to investigate, it is the colors and temperatures that come into play more. As you get closer yet, wanting to learn more, the brush work comes into action,” Orwick continued. “Many of my students want to first learn brush work, but they are approaching the image making process in reverse, the details may sell the painting, but it is the big picture things that are the real strength and initial cause of the love affair,” Orwick said.
     The weekend long oil painting workshop entitled, Strengthen your Visual Sensitivity and Creative Visual Language, will be taught by Orwick on March 26, 27 and 28 at the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce.  The workshop is designed to explore the fundamental reasons behind a painting's success while artists create their own masterpiece under the tutelage of a well established painter.     
   Orwick compared the process of learning how to paint to playing the piano, “No one expects to be able to play music and successfully relate their ideas the first time or even tenth time they try to play.  It takes time and learning the basics.” 
    When he teaches, Orwick believes in stressing the classic fundamentals of design and composition over a narcissistic exercise in self-expression. Often, people overlook the formal training of such modern masters as Picasso or Kandinsky, and want to jump right to the point where they can express themselves without the constraints of learning such basics as how to mix colors to make a complimentary palette or how to render light and shadow to create form.
    “Painting is hard, and all I try to do is make it easier and more fun by helping people learn how to hold a brush and what the paint is capable of when used in an educated way systematic way.  The SELF Expression comes naturally with time and as we get more comfortable with the tools,” Orwick explained.    
   In his experience as an artist, it is a true compliment when a viewer gets so close to a painting that they are nearly kissing it. 
    “That is when the viewer is trying to figure out the what’s and how’s of the mysterious pull the painting has,” Orwick said.  “Then, as they step back and shake their heads in a silent bewilderment they wonder, ‘How do these loose brushstrokes that appear so fragmented come together from just a foot or two back?’  And the answer to that are the big picture things, like design and values.”
  Orwick majored in Illustration at Pacific Northwest College of Art, where he discovered that oil painting and the method of working from dark to light meshes with how he processes visual information.
    "When I'm not illustrating books, I still find my whimsical images and my landscapes to be very illustrative. I love creating art that invites you on a journey, in which you're invited to form a story and explore your world within," Orwick said.
    In his workshops, Orwick takes a hands-on approach, encouraging a lively dialogue amongst his students and making use of step-by-step demonstrations to teach technique and the interrelated components of value, shape and color in oil painting.  Students will also learn how to work with a limited palette to achieve dynamic effects in their compositions.
    Born in Astoria, Oregon in 1975, Orwick has been around the coast all of his life.  Still, he is in awe of the mighty Pacific Ocean and the magestic coast line.  “I feel like I’m still learning how to see like an “Artist” as my eyes become more sensitive and I learn what questions to ask about the beautiful scenes laid out in front of me,”  Orwick said.
  "My daughter has also done so much to help me remember all the simple and utterly perfect childhood joys that can be found by looking through new eyes.  We collect shells, look at the tidal pools, find salamanders in the near by forests and make moss covered fairy homes at the bases of trees," Orwick added. 
    Orwick loves to come to Cannon Beach with his family to walk on the beach, explore the galleries, and eat chowder.  But he also loves to paint, or to take reference photos when the wind threatens to blow his canvas away.
    Those interested in more information about Michael Orwick's Cannon Beach Oil Painting Workshop should contact Dragonfire Gallery on the web at www.dragonfirestudio.com or by phone at 503 436 1533.  Tuition is $250 for all three days and a special reception; for those in town for less time there is an open option of $100 per day.
    In addition, Orwick is extending an open invitation to workshop participants to paint Haystack Rock directly from nature, Plein Air style,  before and after class, weather permitting. 

Andrea Mace

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