Sunday, September 12, 2010

Prismatic Palette Painters

When Frank Mason passed away in June 2009, students who had studied in his landscape painting workshops, continued to go to Stowe, Vermont. Some of us continued to meet, using the same format (meeting 2 days for field study and 1 for a general crit). In some ways, it was a tribute to a great teacher, in addition to being inspired by working alongside of other artists coming from the same tradition. Many of these old students had studied with Frank in different decades, and we all shared what we had learned during our years of study with him.

The prismatic palette, and its use in landscape painting, originally came from Frank Dumond (Frank Mason's teacher), and many of Dumond's students went on to teach this palette, as well. Arthur Maynard was another Dumond student, who opened his own art school, the Ridgewood Art Institute. In turn, Arthur's students, like Frank Mason's students, continue to teach this tradition. So, some of the artists that continue to come up to Vermont to paint together for the month of June include artists who studied with other branches of the Dumond Family (not just Mason students), but who understand and continue to use this palette.

The box that you see in many of my photos is the landscape palette in a vertical format. The colors that you see are in steps, or gradated tones (values), and they can help the artist quickly "key" or "pitch" a painting to create an illusion of light. This palette helps to establish atmospheric perspective, establishing space and depth in the painting.

This year, we met at some of the old "spots", shared many new "spots" and had Saturday crits, followed by pot luck dinners, at different host's homes.

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