Fifteen SCAPE artists joined Mike Hernandez for a one-day workshop Saturday May 3. Mike is a fine arts graduate, recruited by Dreamworks straight out of the Art Center in Pasadena. In addition to his fine arts training, Mike has done extra courses on lighting and color theory--and it showed, as he explained "heroic lighting," backlight that leaves bright edges around an object, or other lighting--straight in the face of a person or front of a big tree--lighting that tends to make an object intimidating.
With great clarity , Mike used bushes and trees, the mountains in the distance to explain, for example, why he might choose a split complementary color palette, and which he might choose. Other basic concepts, applicable to any medium, that he covered, included choice of composition, a multitude of ways of attracting the viewer's eye, including contrasts in color, edges and value. Standing in the parking lot, he had us all scan the landscape from the airport to the ocean, trying to do it smoothly. Of course, the eyes wanted to stop at any of those contrasts. In evolutionary theory, he explained, humans were hunters and needed to notice anything different in the environment, so scanning until something changed made sense. That same "search and stop at change" way of viewing can be used by the artist to enhance a painting, he explained.
Mike demonstrated gouache painting, doing two small pictures during the day. In the afternoon, the group met at the Goleta Valley Community Center's gazebo and front lawn, where a spirit of camaraderie enhanced the experience as many of the best-known artists in Santa Barbara were united in the frustration and pleasure of using a promising new medium.
The workshop also raised $240 toward a scholarship fund for the planned January workshop with Catherine Kehoe. Individuals who would not otherwise be able to attend will submit their names, and a lottery will select the scholarship winner. SCAPE treasurer Cathy Runkle and Workshop co-chair Meg Ricks worked fast and furiously to complete final accounting, and were able to return $20 to each registrant, many of whom chose to donate their refund to the scholarship fund.
SCAPE's own Wyllis Heaton studied with Hernandez, and Mike has promised to return --as a student--when Wyllis gives a planned SCAPE workshop later in 2014. Details will follow.
Workshop committee co-chair Susan Brooks took copious lots of notes during the workshop, which she will type up and make available to SCAPE members, upon request. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org