Tonalist landscapes with Dennis Sheehan

Tonalist landscapes with Dennis Sheehan


July 20-23, 2020 at the Lyon Arts Studio in American Fork

10am-5pm daily with lunch 1pm-2pm

This is a 4-day studio landscape painting workshop.

From Dennis:

My workshop will include the exploration of painting outdoors with the goal of transforming natural surroundings to a more intimate, poetic and tonal work of art.
We will also explore the use of neutral tones with a muted range of values and finding how to create more visual strength with limited use of chroma.

About Dennis:

Dennis Sheehan, born 1950, has work in major public and private collections, including the White House. Sheehan evokes the artistic sensibility and emotional impact of 19th century American Tonalist landscape painters. His poetic landscapes favor Nature’s transitional moments — the breathtaking effects of dusk, dawn, and the stillness before storms. He builds his compositions by tonal contrast and translates value relationships into color relationships. In this way, nothing is arbitrary: the paintings exude a sense of organic correctness. Looking at his work, we sense a satisfying “rightness” to his choices.

In his own words, Sheehan notes, “My goal is to have the painting emanate light, rather than be just a surface that records the reflections of light. This is why shadow areas are important, for it is from them that this emanation proceeds. The light areas are focal points of the effort, but the power comes from the shadows.”

Not surprisingly, his method gives darks pre-eminence: he starts with darks and in a subtractive process, removes pigment to reveal subtle gradations of light. “I study Rembrandt as much as I study trees… and like Rembrandt, I find drama in the darks as they articulate lights.” He aims for an emotional response in the viewer, and strives to imbue his landscapes with the same expressiveness found in Old Master portraits. Sheehan’s extensive use of glazes also enhances the expressive effect, and brings a glowing dimensionality to his surfaces.

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