Monday, July 27, 2009

Rebecca Crowell workshop

Wow, you blink and weeks and weeks go by. It's been busy recently, with a few summer trips, some non-art activities, and a workshop, so I haven't posted. But this post is about that workshop.

A few months ago I encountered the work of Rebecca Crowell, an artist who works in cold wax and has developed ways to build depth and richness through layers. Her work can remind you of old walls or ancient frescoes; it just has that deep, grounded feeling. So I emailed her, asking if she was planning a workshop on the west coast. She replied and said she didn't have one in the works, but was available. Being pretty much inexperienced at setting up workshops, of course I decided to set this one up. It was a lot of work, but it was wonderful! We had a total of eight students, all talented and passionate. And my gallery, Gallery 2611, proved to be a wonderful, bright space to work. Here's the set-up:

Oil and Wax workshopAs a teacher, Rebecca is a thoughtful and perceptive, balancing demonstrations and presentations with time to play with what we learned, and communicating with each student based on her personal concerns. I loved how the room felt when everyone was buried in her own work, and a focused hush descended. We also, interestingly, had scads of passers by come in, curious about what we were doing.

The workshop was three days, and the cold wax was dry enough to work over those days so everyone came out with finished or near-finished work. Here are two of mine that I think need a few more layers. But you can see that they form a good under layer for something rich and deep. The original jpg is pretty big, so if you click it you can see a lot of detail.

Connie Kleinjans abstract art
What's next? I can intuit that there are ways to combine Rebecca's approach with my texturing techniques. I have ideas swirling around in my head, and I now get to have the fun of playing with them.


  1. Great way to use your gallery space! Interesting that no one needed an easel. Looks like the workshop was a blast.

  2. Marvelous!! Did you use the product called "Cold Wax Medium"? I've done just a bit of experimenting with that... What kind of ratio did you use, if you don't mind my asking?

  3. Silvi. Yep, we all worked flat. We'd have our board and the colors and supplies all around, and create a little cocoon between us and the table top. It's different.

  4. Hi Jala. Yes, we used Dorland's. (Gamblin might be fine, too.) The mix was about 50/50, depending on how strongly pigmented the paint was. But we didn't paint with it as you do a representational painting, so I'm now sure how that would feel. We used palette knives and color shapers and so on.

    Just visited your site. Your small still lifes make me want to paint those again! I love that intimacy. It looks like you studied with Richard Schmid. Nice!

  5. Wow, what a compliment to say it looks like I studied w/Richard Schmid. You sure do know how to make a girl blush. ;D

    Though I love to paint large abstracts, I also do love the intimacy of the small still lifes.

    The time I experimented with the cold wax medium, it was also an abstract. The medium I used said not to use more than 30% medium. So I'm very curious how you could do 50/50 and have it still be a stable structure? Maybe because of the brand?? (which I am not familiar with) Also, how was it possible to work on it again the very next day?? I hope you don't mind my asking all these questions. It's just that I really love this style and also want to master it. It sounds like a workshop with R.C. would be fantastic!!