Oct 26, 2017

My Week with Robert Bateman - Full Report - Painting & Drawing Tips

Master Artist Session at Hollyhocks Retreat with Robert Bateman - That's me, second from the right in the green jacket

Why Wildlife Art, Robert?  
“When I am out driving I enjoy myself  but when and I see a red tail hawk in the sky, my heart does a ‘leap’”. 

I know exactly what he means.  When Max and I are out on a hike and heron squawks and flies off.  I stop. For me it is a special moment.  Yes, I love the trees, the water the bright flowers in the field but when a bird or animal appears, it makes the moment a thing to treasure.
Out on the Beach for a Photo Shoot - Looking for Habitat Reference Material

My week with Robert Bateman started with a bang.  I arrived at Hollyhocks Retreat, on Cortes Island, on the Westcoast of British Columbia to a warm sunny fall day.  I threw my things into my room grabbed my sketchbook and camera and headed to the beach.   A flock of Canadian Geese were resting on the sand, gulls were screeching and fighting over some scraps and I could hear the cry of a Bald Eagle off in the trees.  This was MAGNIFICANT!!   A dream come true. 
We had some awesome weather and the food was great - I constantly had to stop myself from going back for seconds!!

We gathered at supper in the Lodge, our group of 25 artists Robert and his assistant.  As we stood in line at the buffet I was so nervous I could hardly speak to him.  Here I was, having dinner with my Idol.  How could this be! Robert was relaxed, friendly, outgoing; a wonderful person to spend time with.  I quickly relaxed and let the week unfold. 
Yes, I am wearing a heavy jacket and wool headband under my hat.  We had a full wind and rain storm come through while I was there.  But let me tell you the crash of the waves in the wind was wonderful.  And the sun peeking through the clouds when it was over was a great sight to see. 

My fellow artists were a lively group.  Like me, they were thrilled to be there, many having come a long way: Eastern Canada, the United States, Europe and parts of Western Canada.  We laughed, we talked, we shared our stories.  The comradely was a big part of the week.  
A chance to look at his sketchbooks, such a treat.  He works with a black ballpoint pen.   Some pages were full sketches and others just hen scratches.  (I could do those)

My Special Take Aways:

-    gathered in Raven House, wind and rain beating on the wall, Robert telling stories of his work with pictures of his work projected on the wall.
Robert had lots of slides to back up his talks - hearing his passion really brought it to life.  We spent hours in Raven House but it seemed liked minutes.

-    Laugher erupting at the dinner table, as Alysoun and Kitty told a story
-    The excitement of seeing each of our own art pieces up on the screen.
-    My surprise at how much the work of Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and Clyfford Still, very  abstract artists influenced his work. These are artists I really didn’t understand and certainly didn’t know how they could be part of realistic wildlife art. 
Yes the weather was wonderful at times and I took a moment to capture it.

-    A new interest in work by Andrew Wyett, Lors Jonsson and Raymond Ching.  Wyett’s use of shape and colour, Jonsson and Ching’s taking wildlife art into directions I never considered.
-    A greater understanding on how to use habitat to build a good composition.  Which means I need to spend more time on good habitat reference material.
He says this picture is not finished and then proceeded to show us how much more he could do. Things really started to 'pop'. 

-    A whole new conversation around “Why put it there?’ - the leaf in the corner, the little splash of colour on the side, the pooky little branch, everything has a purpose in the composition.

Robert working on the grizzly bears, note the highlights on the rocks and water. He saves those whites for special spots. 

Of course I could go on.  Really I just want to say THANK YOU to Robert Bateman for taking this time to talk with us and share his knowledge and stories.  It was an AWESOME Experience.  My question now is “How can it be over?”  Six days went waaaaaay too fast.  

On the upside, I am still buzzing from the energy we created.  There are sooooo many things I want to do, draw and paint.  Hard to get myself grounded and do some of the 'boring stuff'!  

But back to life. Next post will be focus on drawing skills - Get those Values Working for You.  See the previous drawing posts for more help on your drawing:

How to Find Your Starting Point in a Drawing
  4 Ways to Grow the Sketchbook Habit
Time to Meet Your Drawing Friends
Ready to Start Drawing - Get Your Materials Together

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Time to Move Inside and Draw
Drop-In & Draw: Tues, Nov. 7 10-12pm & 1-3pm
January Dates: Tues, January 9 & January 23, 2018
Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.  

 Choose a morning or afternoon session. Bring your sketchbook or your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Register Required. Contact Wendy Here

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 Have a great artful day,


SIZZY said...

Lucky you! Sounds like a great opportunity, meeting him and learning from him.
How do you think his talk and work will influence your future art?

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Thanks Sizzy, his talk and work has made me rethink my work and focus. His passion and determination was very catching and will certainly help keep me motivated and pushing forward with my work. His remarks also made me more aware of why and how I work and as I mentioned in my blog I am really spending a lot more time with the habitat with my animals.

SIZZY said...

I couldn't believe he is 87! Such energy and artistic ability!

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

I know, hey. Let me tell you, for him age is just a number, there is no grass growing under his feet!