Sunday, February 28, 2016

Patrick Saunders Painting Workshop At Harold's Art & Framing

Serving San Antonio and saving animals for more than 55 years
Patrick Saunders recently met Kevin Sekula, the manager of Harold's Art & Framing, who offered to host a painting workshop, and he arranged for Patrick to meet a local artist, John Martinez, who in turn put the word out and helped Patrick quickly fill a ten person class held this weekend.

Harold's is a family run business that has been operating for more than 55 years. Harold and his family have also spent much of that time rescuing hundreds of strays on the south side of San Antonio, where the business is located, which makes them all my kind of peeps. The first thing to greet you when you walk through the door at Harold's these days are two of their current rescue pups, Mable and Baby. Harold is quite the character, and I hope to be able to take a portrait of him the next time we are there. Patrick's class proved so popular that by the end of it another one had been organized. The next class in March will be a portrait painting class.

Harold has had a long and interesting life, and helped more animals than he can count. He was talkative this past Saturday and I really enjoyed listening to his stories. His son Kevin runs the shop, and Pedro Flores, an employee there, is also an artist. Everyone at Harold's is a serious dog whisperer. It's no small task to take in strays who are afraid of everyone and everything and turn them into loving, trusting, content little souls. Kevin has taught Mable to sit and lie down for treats, and Pedro can hold her in his arms, even on her back, and she relaxes and cuddles with him like she's never had a fearful day in her life. Amazing. Baby is so new that they haven't had the chance to teach her anything yet, or even name her, so they are calling her Baby for now. A tiny little Chihuahua, she and Mable, a small terrier mix of some kind, had me at bark. I brought treats with me in order to buy their love, and snuck out of my workshop photography responsibilities throughout the day to go hang with the pooches at the front of the store. I'm a sucker for cute, what can I say? I could so easily take both of these adorable girls home.

Mable cuddling with Pedro

When you can get a scared stray to trust like this, you are a dog whisperer

Baby the new stray asleep on a pillow

If you drive past Harold's you might see Mable and Baby watching the world from this window

Oh, and the workshop - the reason we were actually there - it went really well. Patrick had a great group of people, and they all gained ground and had fun doing it. Most of them will be returning for the next workshop in March, and I look forward to seeing them again. I was there for most of the day, and it was the first time I have had the opportunity to really see Patrick in action, and I was so proud for him. He is an excellent teacher - such an effective communicator and speaker. His opening lecture held my interest and I don't even care about painting. And the thing that moved me the most - he is able to create a welcoming, relaxed environment for learning where no one feels intimidated or overwhelmed. I came to the lovely realization watching him that all of Patrick's varied professional experience and hard work over the years has helped lead him to a place where he can make a living doing something that makes the world a better place. Who doesn't want that? He brings good to the world with his own art, and also with his teaching, by helping others grow as artists. It's genuinely inspiring to see people experience the joy that comes with accomplishment, with a breakthrough. When we grow, we literally glow. And it fills the whole room. Everyone feels it, and everyone is lifted by it. What a great space to be in, where you can feel free to explore, try new things, and take risks without fear. Love it. And I love him for creating it, for making other people feel like that when they take his class. I know it sounds corny, but it's real, and it's a beautiful thing. I've taken plenty of creative seminars and classes over the years where I didn't feel anything close to what I experienced yesterday in Patrick's class. Some people are talented, but can't teach, or are egomaniacal and cruel, and even if you learn something from them you walk away feeling drained or diminished. But not with Patrick. He creates an environment that people just seem to bloom in, and I can't express how much admiration, respect, and love I have for him for that. We all need that in our lives. Safe, constructive places to bloom and grow.

Thanks to John Martinez, Patrick's demo painting demonstrations were viewable on a large TV screen

Patrick demonstration how he measures shapes in his paintings

Carolyn Minshew starts a painting

Jimmy Martinez selecting colors

John Martinez painting
Karen McCauley starts a portrait

Patrick and Andrew Perez selecting colors
Patrick discussing subject selection with Jeanne Allen

Margarita Benavides choosing a subject

Sylvia St. Gene and Patrick Saunders discuss her composition
Kevin Sekula and Pedro Flores - our thanks to Kevin and Harold's Art & Framing for hosting Patrick's workshops

Friday, February 12, 2016

Best Set Up For Shooting A Plein Air Landscape Painting Tutorial

Patrick Saunders and I are still trying to figure out our best set up for recording his outdoor landscape painting tutorials, given the gear that we have. We are experimenting these days with a three camera setup - using a EOS 5D Mark III for the main shot of his canvas, the Nikon D7000 for B roll close ups, and the GoProHero3+ for an overhead of his palette and color mixing. Might need to switch out the functions of the Mark III and the D7000 - we are reviewing and editing the footage today to figure out where to go from here. Grateful to have such great toys to play with.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Waking Up With An Idea

Don't you just love it when you go to bed mulling something over, and then you wake up with an idea?

And isn't it funny how that idea almost never ends up being the final idea, the final image, the final product, the final piece? That original idea is almost always just a starting point. A beginning that leads to something even better. And that final choice probably has at least a dash of happy accident, a little bit of serendipity sprinkled on top of it, if you will, even though we all like to claim that everything we do is well planned and intended.

Interesting how that works. And the process itself is so enjoyable. The making of something, no matter how relatively insignificant, regardless of how it turns out, is so fulfilling.

We'd like to think that forethought and good planning make a difference. And they do. All very important, necessary, and invaluable. But often the end result of something is miles away from the beginning and the planning. And that's what makes the process interesting as well as fun. You are learning and growing every step of the way, because nothing ever turns out quite like you planned it, the way you first envisioned it. Thank goodness.