Saturday, September 26, 2015

Alfonso "Banshee" Giraldez Workshop Review

Wow! What a mind blowing experience. You know how you had that one professor in college that always had you leaving their class felling like "I will never see the world the same way again"? Well that's how the Banshee workshop was, except it was a class on mini painting.

I would not recommend this class for beginners, but if you already know which end of the brush puts the paint on you need to get into one of these classes. It was really amazing.

The first thing we covered was color theory. I have done basic color wheel exercises before but never taught by anyone that was so passionate about color and tone. The passion is a big deal because you are talking about your senses and using different colors to convey feelings. Is this mini sad, is it angry or cold? Colors can help you convey any feeling in your painting. I have always had color explained to me in very mechanical way. Red plus yellow makes orange, blue and yellow: green, but Banshee explains that you need to approach color as an artist, not just as a technician, the same way a chef would approach flavors or an actor a script.

Alfonso, went on to explain a LOT about tertiary colors. A tertiary color is one that contains a small amount of all 3 primary colors. Tertiary colors are essentially infinite in variation and that is an important clue. By using tertiary colors you can vary shades and tones a lot more than if you just lighter and darker shades of your base color. This allows you to build up contrast (the C-word) without being so reliant on shadows and highlights.

The next day we talked a lot about applying our colors to the figure. Alfonso showed us how to do a lot of different stuff. Some of the stuff I took away was painting stark white highlighted areas onto grey primer, then going back over that with an airbrushed base color to map out some early highlights. It worked pretty great and was a quick, which is something I am always on the lookout for.

Next he showed us how to "sketch" with colors with a technique he refereed to as "Patching". Alfonso would lay down a color and then adjust the color on his pallet, lighter, darker, more red, more blue whatever, then he would apply the second color.  Next he would find the color between the two colors and apply it. At first it seemed like magic, but then as I watched him work his pallet it made a lot of sense. If the new color looked too dark or light he would adjust the color on his pallet and apply a new patch between the two. He kept doing this until he achieved pretty smooth blends.The genius of the technique is that he could sketch out blends in multiple colors with opaque paints and not worry about messing up. The whole technique is about fixing your boo-boos. He did go on to use lots of other techniques to achieve blends like wet blending, glazing, and something that he called scrubbing where he would move wet paint back and forth over between to zones to get some transparency at both edges of the new zone.  

The last day was mostly a painting day with Alfonso going around the room and giving everyone individual instruction. This mostly consisted of the Banshee mixing an incredibly rich brown or blue-green on your wet pallet and painting a giant stripe down the figure, then saying "perfect, now you can work from there.."  

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