All work on this site is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission of the artist.

18 May 2008

Two Tries at Tom Torak's Tableau

In March, 2008, I had the window of opportunity to attend Thomas Torak's ( ) Still Life Workshop at his (and his wife, Elizabeth's) studio in Pawlet, VT. What a great weekend. An easy and beautiful commute over dirt and next-step-up roads to their place. The studio is fabulous with cathedral height, two rooms with small gas log stoves and easels. I was a little late so took the remaining easel which was worth the price of admission on its own. Maybe Tom will comment and give you the accurate provenance, but it was OLD and HUGE. I think if I had one like it my painting would exponentially improve. Elizabeth (, having been displaced from her studio for the workshop, brought us delicious tea, coffee, scones and cookies. Sound like the last workshop you went to? I didn't think so.
It wasn't until I got home with my painting that I realized, duh, that using Tom's easel meant I had the same view of the piece that he'd had. Check his link, above, to see. Well, I didn't like my composition, really. I had way too much drape on top. I'd already fabricated some white drape on the upper left which I think was an improvement over the brown burlap, but the green needed breaking. Time to trash the closets, looking for the right addition. I think the ropey braid works.......
So, now I wonder what the proper etiquette is for paintings done at a workshop. Do I title it with that info? 'T. Torak Workshop Still Life' or 'Pitcher and Pears from TT's Easel'? Or do I put it away and not show it? I know some exhibitions don't permit paintings done at workshops. I (probably regretably) wiped off the grapes that Tom painted on and painted my own, so it's all my paint. But, certainly, I had guidance from him and his easel. After he showed me the way that he approached the cloth with lace, I wiped my initial effort (dark on light) and started with dark, which worked better, I think.
Comments and advice are appreciated.

"Torak's Arrangement" Oil on Canvas 24"x30"


Thomas Torak said...

Congratulations on getting your blog up and running.
The easel is 19th century, solid oak. I was lucky enough to have a couple of bucks in my pocket when it came along.
This painting came out very well. I appreciate how hard it is to paint something that someone else set up, however you met the challenge well and made it your own. You should have no qualms about exhibiting this piece. The rule about not exhibiting work done under supervision is meant to keep artists honest about their abilities. This painting is completely yours, the color, brushwork and interpretation are totally Blodget. Bravo!

Elizabeth Torak said...

I think the ropy thing you added is brilliant: it really pulls the composition together and the color echos the grapes perfectly.

Love the blog. It is great to see more of your work and the post about posting is hilarious!

dsb said...

Thomas and Elizabeth,
Thank you for your comments and guidance. This is sort of fun.