Painting with Gillian Lee Smith
Our venue was Can Serrat, an artist retreat in the small town of El Bruc at the foothills of Mount Serrat park about 40 minutes from Barcelona. We stapled our canvases to the walls of two of the studios. Gillian and I took up residence in two opposite corners of the room with a single window illuminating the room. Sometimes it was difficult painting in my own corner when all I wanted to do was sit in my chair and watch Gillian paint, particularly this amazing portrait.
Once, I turned around and Gillian had wiped out her painting seen above and was starting all over again. That was a lesson. She was focused, intent on redrawing and I, along with the others in the room continued painting while she talked to herself in her corner. We didn't want to interrupt her flow. At the end of the day, this was her creation.
Amazing isn't it and it is big! Gillian loved being able to paint on such a large canvas and the visual impact of that portrait in person was breathtaking and haunting, as are a lot of Gillian's paintings.
I have taken two online workshops with Gillian, attended her workshop in Scotland, and was honored that she joined Katie Kendrick and Judy Wise in Spain for our workshop in September. Now she is hopping the pond to the Pacific Northwest to teach in Seattle and Portland for two sold out workshops and will teach Creating Emotional Portraits in Amsterdam May 20-28. There is still room for five more artists to join us in what will be a bucket list trip for Gillian.
Gillian loves Rembrandt and particularly his unflinching self-portraits. His use of dark and light and the surface of the paint that is built up in many layers, tone, color and texture amazes her. In Amsterdam, you are able to see several of his original artworks in the Rijks Museum and one in the Rembrandt museum where you walk in his studio and see examples of the canvas he painted on and an artist demonstrates how he created his paints using pigments. It's a visual feast.
Gillian will talk about his work while you create Emotional Portraits in what is one of the most amazing studios I have ever been in. The talented and vivacious artist, Daniella Rubinovitz knows that she has a remarkable space to create in and holds dozens of classes for locals and visitors to Amsterdam. This studio has been used for art for over 35 years. It looks like you are creating in the hull of a ship with wonderful lighting from above. We are so grateful that she will share her studio for another Bellissima Art Escape. Gillian can't wait to get in there and create and we can't wait to share it with you.
Daniella will teach a life drawing class with a live model this week. You do not have to have experience drawing life figures for this class. Gillian will also be using a model for one of her exercises. Hopefully, we will get Claire who was such a hoot. She constantly told us not "to paint her pretty." She inspired us all.
As you can imagine, this will be an intense week of drawing and painting with Gillian. If you love painting faces or desire to paint with more emotion in your portraits, this is the workshop for you. And if you love to travel, then please join us in Amsterdam. We all fell in love with Amsterdam last spring, especially with the museums and the architecture in this colorful city.
If you have not yet taken a class or workshop with Gillian, you can take one of her online courses, Unearth, Gather and Create, Drawn to Expression (also bundled together), or Portraits, Your Art, Your Way (a wait list has started for the summer). There is a pre-requisite to joining us in Amsterdam that you will have taken at least one of her courses or a workshop prior to the trip in May.
There will be time to explore Amsterdam together and on your own. Won't you join us?
Happy New Year!