Saturday, February 06, 2016

Vibrant, Colourful Oil Paintings of Flowers and France with Dreama Tolle Perry

Scene from France - 9" x 12" Oil on Canvas Panel
I live in Canada, where it is cold in the winter - really cold! Like many of my fellow Canadians, if I can possibly manage it, I try to get away from the ice and snow for at least a week or so. This year I was very blessed to arrange for a double treat - not only did I get to escape to Florida in January, I also attended a workshop in Marco Island led by a lovely artist, Dreama Tolle Perry. She loves to paint flowers, cats and scenes from France. She jokes that she lives in Paris .... Kentucky.

Dreama has a colourful, joyous style of painting that is very appealing. I was interested to see what her process was for creating her whimsical works. Dreama initially began her painting career with watercolour as her medium, as did I, so I was particularly interested to see how that has influenced her work. Her process does show that influence, as she begins her paintings by completely covering the entire surface of the gessoboard that she prefers with transparent oil colours. She generally uses a colour that relates to the local colour of what she is depicting and does this even in areas that will end up light, despite the fact that the transparent oils are all dark.

Dreama, who has the best name ever, teaches a class unlike any I have previously experienced. I think her method and accessible way of teaching is particularly good for novice painters, since the whole class paints the same subject (for the first two days) in 3 stages. First, there is a lecture and then a demo of the first steps, after which everybody goes back to their easel and does their version. Dreama provides a gridded photograph upon which the finished product is loosely based. It was interesting to see how everyone had their own style and interpretation of the same exact subject, painted in a similar manner, with the the same colours.

Flowers in Mason Jar - 12" x 12" Oil on Gessoboard
Letting some of the transparent oil peek through the opaque layers that follow creates a glow that is impossible to achieve with later paint layers.

Dreama's palette consists of:

* Titanium White
* Cad Yellow Lemon
* Cad Yellow Med
   Cad Orange
* Winsor Violet (Dioxazine)
* French Ultramarine Blue
   Cobalt Blue
* Sap Green
* Richeson Shiva Ice Blue
* Permanent Rose
* Transparent Red Medium (Rembrandt)
* Transparent Oxide Orange (Rembrandt)
* Transparent Oxide Brown (Rembrandt)
* Indian Yellow (Winsor and Newton Brand Only!) 

   Caribbean Blue (by Old Holland Oils)

(The * indicates required colours, although I would say get them all!)

I can't say that getting away from winter in Canada for a big didn't play a role in my decision to take a class in Florida in January, but I always go away from any workshop with something new to apply to my own work. In this case, although I am still more interested in light and shadow plus form for my paintings, I really resonated with Dreama's method of using transparent colours before touching the opaque colours and white.

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