Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Zen" Painting with Abbey Ryan

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Abbey Ryan's two day painting workshop. And, as if that wasn't wonderful enough, it was held at the Peto Studio Museum in Island Heights, NJ!

John F. Peto, an American artist working from about 1880 to 1907, was known as a master of trompe l'oeil. His studio is complete with copper kettles and crockery featured in his "fool the eye" still life paintings. These authentic objects added an aura of artistry and creative energy to an already inspirational workshop environment.

John Peto Studio, photo by Abbey Ryan
The morning began with an introduction to Abbey's painting philosophy followed by a demonstration ...a still life including one of Peto's salt glazed mugs! It was fascinating to see the painting develop as we experienced her process.

Abbey has a light touch, holding her brush at the very end, and it's clear that she connects with her subject. Her intention is to "capture the moment" of a still life and honor the gesture of the objects. She instructs students to pay attention to the energy of the painting. A good thing to remember!

Somehow Abbey manages to paint and describe her process at the same time. We learned a great deal observing her technique and hearing explanations as she worked.

Abbey Ryan is a soulful and supportive teacher who clearly wants to help her students grow as artists. She spent time with each participant individually, identifying each person's strengths as well as offering suggestions.

Below is Abbey's completed still life featuring Peto's mug - and a burnt match, a nod to his classic subject matter which often included a pipe.

demo ©Abbey Ryan, photo Garry Kravit
In addition to thinking and talking and doing art with a lively group of like-minded artists in a renowned painter's studio... we also enjoyed the Peto Museum's annual Trompe L'oeil exhibit, currently on display.

What could be better than that?!

Well... did I mention staying in the gorgeous 600 Main Bed & Breakfast and Victorian Tea House?!! A magnificent home with leaded glass, wood paneling and period furnishings, it was built during the time Peto was painting. Just perfect for getting in the spirit of that artistic era.

Here is my first painting from Abbey Ryan's workshop. I didn't quite finish the second one but will post it when it's done.

Tea and Cream ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

Thanks for joining me on my painting journey!

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