Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Saim Caglayan's Workshop

Gail organized a weekend workshop July 25 - 27 with Saim Caglayan, a famous plein air painter originally from Turkey but now living on Kaua'i. He is a real mover and shaker, having established important painting groups in Laguna, CA, and in the islands.

The weather was only partially cooperative, deteriorating into drizzle on Friday afternoon, but we managed to get many hours of painting in, and got to watch Saim block in several studies. I personally loved the resemblance of his style to the "New Image" movement that was avant-guard in the late seventies (think Joan Brown), where recognizable objects (horses, boats, vegetables, etc) were painted very simply and directly with minimum fuss. Saim's approach was very careful and deliberate, with a great accuracy of color matching. He exhorted us to squint to capture the shapes of light and dark areas, and render them with thick strokes of pure paint. This is a lot harder than it looks, and takes a lot of skill.

Speaking of skill, on Saturday evening many of us went up to Volcano to attend Rod Cameron's show opening at the art center. With his usual genius he spent months at the Volcano park painting impressions of the glowing magma in its many manifestations. The most spectacular canvases depicted fountaining lava with plumes of smoke lit up from below, and the coastal activity at Kalapana with huge steam clouds and lava entering the ocean. Poignant for those of us who lived through the demise of Kalapana Town were the scenes of doomed but beautiful jungle and palm trees with tongues of red lava creeping along the ground. Bravo, Rod!!

(more workshop photos soon)