Tuesday, June 21, 2011

4 days with Romel Delatorre workshop

I discovered Romel Delatorre's art on Facebook.  Aside from obviously being an outstanding figurative artist what struck me was the warmth he gives the fleshtone, his sense of light and just an understated very strong skills in painting and drawing figures.  I eventually found out he also studied with an artist I admire Richard Schmid. Romel is a faculty member of Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts,and a multi award recipient and signature member of Portrait Society of America.

Here are some photos I took at the 4-day workshop last week.  I always sat on the side to learn from watching the artist paint and photography is just secondary so these are not the best photos but I will add some of my notes as I go along.  Be aware you can always click on my images to see bigger version!

Coordinator Brenda Laney was simply awesome with the whole thing.  Mornings were 3 hours live demo and afternoons were 3 hours students painting from live models.  There were 15 students and 4 models.  We also had the best snacks and coffee kept flowing.

First Painting First Day
First Romel toned his linen canvas. Brushed on faint colors with turp and smeared it around with paper towel.  He proceeded to draw a simple face with a brush.


Face emerges
From simple drawing, and painting in the light and dark shapes of the face.  He advises to paint what you see and keep your colors simple.  On the first demo he used Anders Zorn’s palette (Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, Black and White).
3 hour demo

My first painting
I don't know why I was so tired.  I think from packing and anticipation of the class.  As a matter of fact Romel came up to me to point out I was painting on the back of the canvas HAHAHAHA!  Then I should have realized I was just sitting too far from the model.  My double vision was not happy with me but I was just not being aware of many things that afternoon!

Mom getting sun
Mom, who lives in OC, was at the last end of her visit when I dragged her to the workshop with me.  I was SO LUCKY I did!  I never would have made it through 4 days alone!  All the oil painting equipment was too much for me to deal with!  And the hotel was not really equipped for handicap needs.  We ended up using a regular room because the handicap room had Wi-Fi that only worked if I sat in the hallway plus A/C was broken  and the room didn't feel like a happy place for $72.00/night.

Rooms had no windows so I really missed the sun; we had to step out of the building to see outdoors.  So I made sure Mom and I got our outdoor time daily. I made her walk around the hotel walking up and down outdoor stairs and walking briskly around the emptyish parking lot.  Thank God I'm so blessed with a wonderful strong Mom I had to make sure she was being healthy while in the cave!!!!

I also learned plastic plants zap my lust for life lol  The hotel was full of them! I will note the staff was accommodating and they have good breakfast buffet and really good chopped sirloin steak dinner and great coffee! :D

Plastic plants galore

Back to art.... 2nd day
Romel toned his canvas, did about 4 brush lines and proceeded wiping out the light side of the face.
Simple shapes

Face emerges again!

With model

Final Painting 16x20
Second demo was full color.  That is: Yellow ochre, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Alizarin Crimson, Transparent Oxide Red, Terra Rosa, Cobalt Blue, Ivory Black and Titanium white.

My 2nd painting
I tend to see too many colors which is good for watercolors.  I was really struggling with all the different lights I was seeing.

Third and fourth day were extended painting from same seating.

Toned, drew and wiped

Simple abstract shapes for guide

A beautiful face emerges and wonderful likeness

A few of us have painted from model Rachel at this point and we've all struggled with her light complexion and light hair.  Of course Romel didn't.  He reminded us to paint what we see, not what we think.

My 3rd painting
My painting started so slow...well it is 18x24.  I decided to paint a couple more hours in the bedroom after the class session.

Last day was painting supporting parts of the face...
2nd day same set up

Paint a hand in or both before model goes on break because she will not capture the same hand positions again!

Some palette knife details

The last pic I took
I didn't get a chance to photograph the final painting.  It was lunch break and I wanted to get done eating so I could paint in the background on my piece.  I didn't realize the painting was sold after the last demo and the student who bought it had to get started on the long drive home so the painting wasn't around for photography after lunch.  Just take my word for it, it was gorgeous!  I'm happy for my friend who owns it now :)

Shaping up nicely

Mom, painting and Joe Kelly

About an hour before class ended I decided to pack it up.  It was Friday and Mom has a vertigo like condition that makes things very unpleasant for her in traffic.  And I determined whatever I had to accomplish with my painting was going to take more than an hour.

I needed a whole month more with Romel watching him paint so my thinking, my eyes and reflexes can truly grasp as much as I wanted to.  He was a wonderful teacher.  I don't take much workshop because it's usually not in my budget and I feel guilty that I have a college degree so I should have enough art education for a lifetime!  But I've heard a common complaint about workshop teachers not giving attention to individual students.  Not in Romel's case.  He took the time for us.  He'd stand behind a student watch how the person works and Romel determines the best immediate advise to give at this point.   

For instance he asked me to  warm up the light side.  He stood next to me as I mixed my batch and he watched me brush it on the canvas.  He then instructed me to  make my own orange instead of using the cad yellow deep.  And again I mixed my batch and he'd wait for me to brush it on and he stood next to me until we reached a good solution.  This made me very nervous HAHAHA but I appreciated that he wasn't just barking orders and walking away as if he just needed to throw me orders so he can leave and move on to another student.  Yes, he did same when I was painting on the wrong side of the linen canvas.  He stood next to me until he saw me painting on the primed side HAHAHA  Oh my garsh was that embarrassing!  I had worked with Claessens linen roll before and should have known better!!!  

How much did I learn from Romel Delatorre?  A whole lot more than I realize.  And I know it will creep into my routine if I simply keep painting!  YAY me for saving up for this workshop and taking Mom along!  Brenda did such a cool workshop with daily giveaways I felt like I was in an Oprah show :D  I got Claessens linen canvas samples, viewfinder, value scale, and a fresh tube of Cadmium red! 

Morning demo set up
Some students setting up in their corner

Romel had some studies he brought to sell plus his demo pieces

Most of these sold.  I REALLY wanted the #3 piece!

The happy students (most of us), Romel and models copyright photo by Romel Delatorre


  1. wow!! Great post and such a wonderful workshop! Thank you for all that information, all those photos! It was almost as good as being there. It was so nice for you to take the time and post everything. I'm very envious of your attending such a fab workshop. I think you're good enough to present a workshop of your own Miss Erika!

  2. Erika, you are my hero! Do you realize what an ambitious, energetic person you are? I'm always impressed with your skills of observation and your love of sharing. Sheila's right, you should consider presenting a workshop of your own!

  3. This is one of the best posts that I've seen. I wish I could have attended this workshop as it looks to have been an amazing experience, and this post came close to making me feel like I was there. Thank you. I have to agree with Sheila and Barbara that you should consider presenting a workshop of your own.

  4. I had never heard of Romel Delatorre before this post. He does great work and I was amazed at how his images just sort of "appeared" on his canvas. Sounds like it was a great workshop. I would love to go to a workshop, but it is just not in my budget. Maybe someday. But thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

  5. Wow! Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing your experience. This was very informative to read, and you write so clearly. And... Yay! for your Mom, too. Yes, you would undoubtedly do very well teaching a workshop of your own!

  6. Sweet Sheila glad you found it informative, I enjoy passing on what I learn! You're sweet to say I could teach but it wouldn't feel natural to me because each time I paint a new piece, my previous piece looks awfully primitive! This tells me I have a lot more to learn before I could step up to a teaching level! :-0

  7. Awww Barbara Ann back at you hero! You exude wonderful strength over the Internet along with your great talents which I've always admired! I have to agree it was ambitious but it was actually a mini effort compared to what I really wanted to do which was to attend the Weekend with the Masters in California! That would have wiped me out on many levels for sure! I am grateful that someone like Romel Delatorre came to our modest area! As for teaching oh boy, talk about a tall order!

  8. Cool...well, this answered the question that was on my mind...how did your workshop go? LOL!

    So how many paintings did you get done?

  9. Hi MaddyRose! I like recapping a memorable experience so I could refer to it later. There are more things I could have included but I just didn't have unblurred photos good enough to include. I'm glad the post gave you a good idea of the workshop. Thanks for teaching suggestion, maybe I could do something similar like teacher assistant to get my wheels wet ;)

  10. Welcome to my blog Lokelani! Romel seems to be one of those quieter living masters out there but definitely a good find! I was impressed with the emerging faces too, definitely a sign of great experience and skills. I hear you about budget. But keep your eyes open, there are some really good artists who offer great workshops that you might find more affordable but in the meantime, joining an active art club helps! I enjoyed seeing your art in your blog especially the commission for your son's album!

  11. Theresa you too? I don't know where you guys get about me teaching I am so not teacher material!!! I'm glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the Mom Yay! Namaste :)

  12. Ariana I did 3 paintings. I wiped off he first one, I sort of messed up the 2nd one when I was packing to go home. And I aim to finish the 3rd one :D I know you're anticipating I sell my class pieces HAHAHA I hope to make that happen ;)

  13. My dear sister Erika,

    Super artist sister, your thorough and detailed sharing of the art workshop you just attended is very inspiring and educational. Thank you for doing it!

    I'm truly impressed with your artistic perseverance and great love for your gift. Your never-ending thirst to learn more and improve your skill is indeed very admirable...not because you are my sister. You and Raul have the same zest to try new medium, to learn from tried and tested techniques of master artists and to be fearless in defending your creation.

    Your mom Alice and Scotty beside you through thick and thin are your great blessings from the Lord...they are your supplemental source of inspiration and strength.

    Keep on creating, painting and learning sister dear...that's the right road to success! I love you!


  14. Ate Bbbbbbbb such wonderful supportive kind words bless you and thank you! Love you back!

  15. An interesting point of view at a progression of a painting.

  16. very well written, as usual, CD! Did you see Tim's facebook pics with he and Romel? Funny.

    Toad ya you could teach...I'm not the only one!

  17. Erika you write so clearly and wonderful order! Your sense of humor comes across the Internet so well I really enjoy your blog. I also wanted you to know I didn't have to enlarge the images they are excellent as they are thank you for sharing. I don't take workshops I cannot afford them. But I would make an exception for you promise!

  18. Finally I get to see the post (no electric)...and it is fantastic!! How fortunate to be able to soak all that up...I know it will come out in your work. The pictures are wonderful and the text is very helpful...I love the part about the canvas...you crack me up!! Good to see you and your Mom and hear all interesting details! Go girl..your fabulous!!

  19. AC thanks welcome to my blog :) Loved your photography!

  20. RED!!! Yes it was nice of Tim to meet his FB friend Romel in person and be a good NWA host! I see they got along well :) Oh teach? But I do teach or co-teach with the MyArtTutor films ;) xoxox

  21. Lulu I need to adopt you so I can bathe in your encouraging words every morning! Thank you so much always! You will be first to know when I teach :) xox

  22. Theresa!!! So glad you enjoyed the post! I look forward to painting my real first painting HAHAHA Thanks so much xox


Thank you for taking the time to comment ~Erika