Monday, February 11, 2013

Lighting the City: Lights and Shadows amid Excitement and Serenity (Workshop A)

Instructor: Sagar Fornies (Barcelona)
Location: Plaça Vila Madrid i Carrer Canuda o Concepció

In this workshop we will study light in the urban landscape. By using saturated colors, participants will learn to create scenes with vivid contrasts and shadows.

We will also focus on composition, aiming to create drawings that convey a sense of serenity, as in a painting by Edward Hopper, or excitement, as in paintings by Vincent Van Gogh.

My interest lies in working with the light that surrounds us to identify areas of contrast and shade. Luckily, Barcelona is full of contrasting landscapes where we can focus on dark scenes and find spots of light.

Many times, as artists, we only pay attention to an object, often ignoring the environment or atmosphere that surrounds it. It's a process that does not solve the entire picture, but can give it an extra pictorial intensity. Over time, I learned how boring it is to try to follow the color palette of an urban landscape — there's too much chromatic monotony. In a very interesting conversation between Van Gogh and Gauguin, the painters were talking about the color of the sky. Van Gogh painted it blue, as he saw it, trying to represent the wind with his brushwork, while Gauguin painted it yellow, because what he was seeing was the light.

The structure of the workshop follows:


After walking to the workshop location, we'll start with quick sketches using saturated colors in gouache or watercolor. We'll experiment with light working with few strokes, trying to cast shadows and illuminating the image inside the shadow to create more dimension in the drawing. (30 minutes. Six drawings. One-on-one instruction with attendees.)

Group huddle and explanation.


In the second part, we'll move to slower drawings. We begin with stains, looking to depict areas of light and shade (chiaroscuro.) We'll follow adding lifework, which will follow the stains, not the other way around, as it's often done. (45 to 60 minutes. Four to five drawings. One-on-one instruction with attendees.)

Group huddle and explanation.


In the last part, we will incorporate all of the above to the composition. First, we will learn how to compose a calm scene, intentionally providing sense of serenity that will make viewers slow down when they look at the picture.

Next we will make a sketch that conveys excitement, agitation, where the color stains and lines work together to create a frenzied atmosphere. (60 minutes. 2 drawings. One-on-one instruction with attendees.)

Group huddle, conclusion and assessment of the work.

Learning goals

  • To learn how to identify areas of light and shade in the urban landscape.
  • To create strong contrasts and shadows by using saturated colors.
  • To use composition as a way to convey the atmosphere of a scene.   

Supply list

Watercolor or gouache, colored pensand pencils.

Sample sketches


Ira Prussat said...

Great! I'll join!

Portland Urban Sketchers said...

Well, so far I need to attend 100% of the workshops :-) This one sounds amazing, the idea is wonderful and the examples are absolutely inspiring - can't wait to meet & work with this artist!

Inma Serrano said...

Yes, Sagar is one of the best artists I know and I am sure that this workshop will be very successful.

Marina Grechanik said...

Wow, what an amazing sketches! I'm so excited to meet Sagar in BCN! Hope to join to his workshop.

Petit Demiürg said...

Qué maquina, man, donde pone el ojo ahí va un borrón de tinta con facciones y detalles integrados. Flípalos, Mestre!

Unknown said...

As Inma said, Sagar's workshop would be very interesting for sure! His work is awesome! Que ganas de Barcelona!!

Liz Liebenberg said...

Sounds wonderful.

Emily Nudd Mitchell said...

Great !

Jutta Richter said...
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Anonymous said...

I hope I can join, too. Looking forward Barcelona!

Brenda L Murray said...

Hi Sagar,
I'm thrilled that I was able to register for your workshop before it sold out! Your sketches are beautiful! I'm sure I will learn a lot! Really looking forward to it!
Brenda Murray

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