At 201 W. Monserrate’s studio, four women came together to work on oil paintings in a workshop with artist Michael Windberg.
“It’s an honor to have an artist like Michael come to our studio. We always learn a lot from his workshops,” said May Borak, president of the Art Association. .
Windberg is an oil painter best known for his Texas landscapes and historical subjects. He is the eldest son of painter Dalhart Windberg, who was honored as a Texas State Artist by Congress in 1979.
Windberg looks over the shoulders of the women who paint, offering tips and guidance that not only improve the work in progress, but also help them better understand the paints themselves.
“The great thing about oil as a vehicle is that it is very tolerant,” says Windberg.
He explained that not only could the artist remove the paint to correct or change the composition, but he could wipe the paint off the canvas if necessary and start over.
In his El Campo studio, Lenny Smith painted a smiling little child. The original photo, propped up next to the canvas, looks a little overexposed, with very rough highlights and yellow skin tones.
Windberg said it could be fixed, and showed her how to make her skin tone more pink and how to fill in the missing shadows in the overexposed photos.
“Shadows and highlights add depth to a painting and bring out compositional features,” says Windberg. “Getting the shadows right in a portrait, especially around the eyes, is essential to a good painting.”
Frances Dieterich, a member of the Art Association, adapted techniques taught by Borak and Windberg to work on his niece’s portrait. The subtle shadows on the eyes in Dietrich’s painting provided Windberg with an opportunity to explain the keys to drawing eyes in portraiture.
“The brightest part of the eye will be the center of the eyeball. That’s where the iris highlight falls. All other parts of the eye have shadows from the forehead, bridge of the nose, and eyelids,” he says. I got
Dietrich was able to use that advice to give the eyes more depth and a more realistic look.
Windberg spoke to the group about composition, the size of objects within the composition, and observing details to create realistic paintings.
Borak’s painting of actor Sam Elliott dressed in a Pioneer or Western cowboy era costume provided an opportunity to focus on the fine lines. Dressed up and with a salt and pepper beard.
“May, you really nailed the beard,” Windberg said. Her proportions were correct, based on the reference photo in , indicating that she should continue to add detail to the painting.
“We are very happy to have Michael’s workshop here and we already have plans for his return in April 2023.”
Windberg will be back for further workshops. Visit the El Campo Art Association website www.elcampoartassociation.com for a schedule of classes for adults and children and news of upcoming events. You can contact the association at 979-541-0911 or email@example.com.