Friday, October 29, 2010

A Man of Texture

     I saw my first Michael Workman painting about 12 to 15 years ago at Meyer Gallery in Santa Fe.  I was dumbfounded and speechless as I studied what Workman could do with paint.  Then several years later, my friend Chris McLarry (owner of McLarry Fine Art) bought a fantastic Workman painting, that I now get to visit and scrutinize on a regular basis.
     I’ve never met Michael, but I know several artists who have and he sounds like a wonderful person.  He routinely gives workshops around the country and seeks to help painters improve their craft.
     Michael Workman grew up in Highland, Utah, a rural high desert town that has been the impetus and inspiration for his paintings.  At, there are two paintings that really capture my attention:  “Summer Cows” (see in Art For Sale gallery) and “View Toward Mora With Cows” (in Recent Works gallery).
     “Summer Cows” reminds me of that first chance meeting with a Workman painting.  Workman’s layering and paint texture are a force of their own.  No one handles edges like he does.  The blend of soft and hard edges in his work, as well as good drawing, are where the impact of his work has an effect on me.  Also, note how he uses the edge of the painting.  The underpainting becomes a huge part of the impact of the overall work.

"View Toward Mora With Cows"
by Michael Workman

      In the Recent Work gallery you will find a series of smaller paintings with a very early summer feel to them.  The greens are handled magnificently.  If you have trouble with greens, look at this series of paintings.  Workman’s subtle color changes and variegations are masterful.
      The painting titled “View Toward Mora With Cows” has great atmospheric qualities on the mountain background.  Also note that the extreme foreground is handled very loosely, but reads perfectly.  This is an oil painter that can teach us watercolorists about broad areas of color and foregrounds, and how to use his handling of the subject to our benefit.  Check out “Mora River with Cows #2” and see how simplified the foreground is.  This can be adapted to watercolor!
      Please stop and take the time to view these master works.  They will only serve to improve your own painting and inspire you to achieve greater things. 

Image © Michael Workman.  Content © Mark Kohler.

1 comment:

  1. Mark, I love your work! Thanks for turning me on to Michael's work as well! great stuff!