Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Peter Cox Workshop

To go back, my first week in New York was attending a Masterclass taught by Peter Cox. This was very hard work for me, for several reasons - firstly, I am not a good pupil, hate group situations and classes, as generally feel quite self conscious . Much rather have a book to read. Part of this is that I miss a lot, having problems hearing . Art classes are particularly difficult, as often the teacher is painting and I therefore have a choice between watching their face or their hands/the painting. Difficult - and why I avoid them. Being unfamiliar with workshops in general also made me more awkward, never mind getting used to a new city and a new culture. The dodgy shoulder meant I ended up sitting on the floor, which naturally limited my choices regarding composition and probably irritated everyone else. Getting in from Sparkill by the half seven bus was a trial, and meant missing the first 15 minutes of the class.

To continue with my woes, the materials list sent out (contact me if you want a copy) was huge. At least twice what I normally use - and that was just the "essential paints". Most of my first couple of days was spent finding the right shops and trying to figure out what I needed - so much was in another language (fl oz? turpenoid? coffee can?). And then once the class begun, we only used six colours. Bah. Much of the discussion was around anatomy (the workshop was meant to be on painting clothing. Peter's point was that fabric hangs and moves according to the underlying bony landmarks. These need to made obvious in the painting if it is to appear solid). Not what I was expecting - so as you can see, I got sketching to fill the time. The second drawing was from before he made his point regarding fabric, bony landmarks, and folds.

The first sketch was of the lovely model's head (She was really great), along with notes as to how he recommends laying out the palette - as you probably cannot see, he recommends putting white in the middle, paints at the outside, and premixing strings from red umber, red umber and cadmium red, burnt umber and ultramarine, yellow ochre or raw sienna. These can then be mixed with the adjacent strings, so the yellow ochre with the red umber/cad mix and the b.umber/ultramarine with the red umber. Not something I have continued with, but I have continued using a larger pallete, and premixing a much bigger range of tones and colours - and ensuring the whole thing hangs together before painting.

So, in summary, I hated almost all of it, and ended up with another ugly painting. But something at some point clicked and I now feel I have the basics so I will be able to paint anything I choose. There is a whole world out there . . . . Peter and his model were lovely people (even got a gift of a coffee can from them!) and the other students helpful. Much thanks to the lady who explained that half and half was not semi-skimmed milk, and to Elsa, who as a fellow european could actually tell when I was joking.


  1. Good ideas! I like the way you express your idea and the topic you choose. KEep on your sharing! I appreciate it. arizona dui attorney

  2. Thank you very much for your comments, Hilda Dada. It is always nice to know someone out there is reading my posts, and even better that they appreciate it!

  3. Hi Jane, thank you for your detailed art supplies stores list. I've wrote all them down. I am curious about Peter Cox Workshop materials list. Would you be so kind to send the list to me? caspitablue@yahoo.com Thank you so much. And GREAT work!

  4. Sorry no reply so far - I'm post op at the moment, and will send you an email as soon as I can - computer use limited at the moment!

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  6. Hi Jane-
    Thank you for your posting regarding Peter Cox's workshop. Would it be at all possible for you to post the Workshop materials list (again?)regarding your June 5, 2012 posting? I would really appreciate it. Thank you!
    PS- That was a very nice painting, BTW.