Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lori Putnam Still Life Workshop

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in an impressionist still life workshop with artist Lori Putnam at her studio in Franklin, TN. It was a great group of artists and we all learned a lot about setting up a still life, lighting, and just details that I have not thought about before when doing this type of painting. Above you see a couple of the timed studies we did during the workshop. Different setups were done in short amounts of time to make us focus on capturing the general shapes of the colors and not focus on drawing an object and filling it in with paint. As many of us soon realized, this is harder than it sounds! It is our natural tendency as artists to want to draw or sketch off the boundaries of an object and then mix colors to fill in that object. Although I don't generally seek out to paint still life, I felt like it was good for me (kinda like taking vitamins) and my painting journey to learn these things. It should help me in my overall development as a painter, which is one of my main goals at this point.

Like Camille's workshop, the studies in this workshop were intended as studies and not finished paintings. I really like that and it takes the "pressure" off that we as aritsts put on ourselves to always create something that we can hang on the wall or sell. I need the practice and can always see that I improve in aspects of my painting when I paint with this attitude and frame of mind. I am able to let go of that little voice inside that tells me what I am doing is terrible and just learn. The final day we painted a very involved and larger set up and although I wasn't thrilled with the results of mine, I managed to focus on the techniques Lori was teaching us and felt I was successful at that.

I also used a new brand of paint for the first time and loved them.  Blue Ridge Oil Paints are made by Eric Silver in Asheville, NC. I can't really explain why but the paints feel so nice on my brush and as I apply them to the canvas. They are made with a combination of several oils, which you can read about if you are interested on their website. They seem to be slower drying to me than some of the other brands I have used lately, but of course, that is just my first impression. Lori is using these now along with other artists I know, so I decided to give them a try. I know that the brand(s) of oil paints an artist uses is a very personal and individual decision, but if you are looking to trying something new, give him a call. It is a small company and made in America, which are both positives in my book. Plus, he is open to suggestions and feedback from the artists "out here" and is sincerely trying to create a quality product.


  1. Denise- Sounds like a wonderful workshop that stretched you and that Lori is a fabulous teacher! Like seeing the exercises that y'all did too! Really nice! Great review!
    Jim has used those paints- I will have to check them out! Like that they are made in America too:)

  2. You really learned a lot from Lori's workshop. The exercises are something I should do more regularly so I really appreciate your overview and reminder.

    I've never heard of Blue Ridge Oil Paints. I'm going to keep them in mind next time I need a new tube of paint. I really like the idea of American made.

  3. Loved hearing your feedback on Lori's workshop. Sounds like some good things to focus on. Will check out the paints too. Love your painting from the previous post too. Congrats Denise.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing the workshop experience and the new source of oil paints. I will check into that today.