Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Spanish Still-Life with John Morra

"Exploring a particular genre, in this case the Spanish still-life, is exciting because the style is so distinctive and powerful." John Morra

Christopher Rigney
(workshop monitor & GCA core student)

There was a soft, lyrical quality highlighting the atmosphere during this five day workshop. The lights in the North Studio glowed on the set-ups and easels as participants worked with such quiet focus. My Mom paid a visit to GCA for the first time and was in awe. A bottle of wine would signal end of day and some delicious Sangria greeted the closing hours on Friday. A few snapshots in words and in pictures below.

"John Morra is a unique teacher in his ability to explain visual concepts and techniques in an understandable, applicable and entertaining manner. He is a most engaging instructor and is able to convey skill and style without pretense or affectation. His knowledge of art history, painting techniques and his droll repartee make his workshops irresistible." - Lynn Reardon

"John is a truly inspiring, passionate, and very available teacher with tremendous insight. This was my very first still life painting - I had no idea how wonderfully challenging and meaningful the process and history would be! He helped me learn to see more accurately, wholly and convey my vision with gusto!" - Joanne Galanos

a grid over Cynthia Farris' set-up

"John's workshop was wonderful! He made it exciting and profoundly helpful. I learned all sorts of things: how to use a grid (really, this time, not sort of as in the past), even how to make a grid; as well as some art history about Spanish still life painting. Most importantly, he was always available to help refocus me when I couldn't "see" what I was looking at. He was reflective about art and artists, which especially appealed to me, as well as generous in sharing his considerable knowledge and personal views about painting. He was also supportive and encouraging. I felt very lucky to have this opportunity." - Cheryl Seaman

"I did my first precise still-life in this workshop. At first, I had positioned a plethora of ridiculous iridescent and oddly shaped objects from my grandmother's basement. John came over to help me and told me that my set-up was unpaintable. He then took everything out except for a white stone-like tea kettle and put in two additional objects of his own. At first I was shocked and afraid that my painting would be boring because I'm used to painting wild, colorful set-ups, but ultimately I was ecstatic to discover the results with which his advice provided me.

Solomon Bass

The method he used to help us start our drawings was masterful. He brought in grids that he had built to quicken the pace of determining measurements so we would have ample time to paint our objects in five days. For the rest of the workshop, he gave each person enough individual attention to demonstrate the techniques necessary for each person's unique objects. For example, I was faced with the challenge of creating the look of copper for one of the two tea kettles in my set-up. John advised me to paint a monochromatic grisaille and then glaze over with touches of transparent orange and indian yellow. After further refinement, this approach created a luminescent color effect. The likeness to the actual object was pleasantly surprising! In addition, every morning, his group demos were very helpful including basic form modeling, which has helped me in the current workshop I'm taking with Scott Waddell." -Solomon Bass

Cathy Beard

Cynthia Farris

Joanne Galanos

Sarah Gersten

Joan Hooker

Kevin Kosa

Lynn Reardon

Cheryl Seaman


Anonymous said...

Are you a school to draw
If the answer is yes
How do you join

Carol Lambert said...

John is the most dedicated and generous teacher imaginable. The results bear this out. What a wonderful set of paintings! Congratulations to all who took part.

LonZ said...

These are amazing and very inspiring! Thank you for sharing this!