Maryland Pastel Society newsletter

IAPS IMPRESSIONS AND HIGHLIGHTS, 2009

Lisa Mitchell's Impressions of Lorenzo Chavez

Lisa Mitchell039s Impressions of Lorenzo Chavez

Lorenzo Chavez at the easel

I attended IAPS demonstrations by Lorenzo Chavez, Maggie Price, Kim Lordier, Richard McKinley and Liz Heywood Sullivan. I was impressed by all of their talent and generosity in sharing invaluable information. This was my second IAPS Conference and if you're an artist interested in three jammed packed days of pastel information, it's the place to be! I recommend adding on a few days to visit Santa Fe galleries and other unbelievably beautiful landmarks in New Mexico to round out your trip.

Here are my impressions of Lorenzo Chavez, Painter of the Southwest…
View the artwork of Lorenzo Chavez

Lorenzo Chavez, is originally from New Mexico and he has a profound and sensitive understanding for the land in this region. He began his lecture with a PowerPoint presentation showing examples of paintings done by several American impressionist painters that inspired him to paint the great southwest landscape. Many of these artists were California plein air painters like Edgar Payne, Maynard Dixon and Hanson Puthuff. It was Hanson Puthuff who said, "Go East to paint the West."

Lorenzo, continued to discuss the unique sensibilities the artist must consider in capturing the feeling of the southwest landscape such as:

The American west exaggerates the change from warm to cool temperature to achieve great distances from foreground, mid-ground to background.

Including figures, rocks and bushes in the foreground help to exaggerate the feeling of open space and distance.

Bounced light from ground planes to vertical surfaces such as cliffs, trees, buildings and rocks is key.

Dust particles change the atmosphere. They add color and dense light to the distant mountains.

To accentuate the feeling of light, he paints in a high key, (this point struck a positive chord with me).

To unify his painting he moves the yellow ochre (color of light) around the painting.

He uses black pastel accents in the foreground to push the distance.

His shadows are drenched in warm hues to create the feeling of light.

Where the form turns into the light he includes the color of the sky. (Skies are beyond Big in the west and have a HUGE impact on western landforms).

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His demo of a wash area exploring the bounced light affect!

Lorenzo, paints his beautiful pieces on Canson "Moonstone" paper. This surface is "snubbed" by many pastel painters in favor of the more popular sanded surfaces and I was completely blown away by how amazing his paintings looked on this paper. From his obvious experience in working on this surface for so long I could see how well he understood the relationship between his medium and this particular paper.

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I feel that Lorenzo Chavez would be a wonderful instructor for someone interested in painting on location in the southwest. This seems to be his area of expertise and my impression of his personal nature is that he would be quite generous in providing support and guidance to his students.