"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Figure Painting from Life at The Scottsdale Artists' School

This past January I was awarded a scholarship to attend a one week figure painting workshop with Nancy Chaboun at the Scottsdale Artists' School in Arizona and these are two of my paintings from the workshop. The scholarship came as a surprise and was a great way to begin the new year. I have attended two previous workshops at the Scottsdale Artists' School and find the experience to be incomparable. There is nothing so nourishing for the painters soul than to be immersed in serious artistic pursuit, surrounded by fellow artists in a warm and supportive atmosphere.
In addition to being a wonderful painter, Nancy is a great teacher who generously and humorously shares her wealth of knowledge and experience with her students. She is a master at creating interesting vignettes in which to pose the models surrounded by props and creative lighting.
Here are a few photos taken during Nancy's figure demo. She quickly painted in the major shapes and then put in the dark of the dress and the red sofa. The shadow shapes were painted confidently with a warm neutral mixed from reds and greens. Nancy stressed finding continuity in all the shadow shapes and connecting them throughout. Next she painted in the background and developed her figure from there.

In looking back on this week I realize that other workshops have expanded my techniques and given me skills to try and advance in my craft and to better analyze my own attempts. This class gave me a little more than that, perhaps because of Nancy's joyful approach or perhaps because of my own readiness and preparedness to accept this opportunity. I feel I came away with the ability to boldly confront that white canvas and to paint with a new found truth and significance. It was a week I will never forget.


  1. Sounds like you came away with a lot from this, Susan. Congrats on the North Country award for Forestry Service II!

  2. Thank you , Ralph - yes, this was a fine workshop. And thank you for your congratulations - much appreciated


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