Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Painting For Absolute Beginners - Weeks 3 & 4

Yes indeed. It's for absolute beginners. In fact, it's moving so slowly that I've decided to combine last week and this week into just one blog. I'm not complaining. I like it, although were I to miss a week, I probably wouldn't miss anything. It's an outing. It's an opportunity to socialize.

Last week we painted apples. We made green water circles called underpainting, and filled them with paint. Yes, the paint stays in there. It was a process called wet on dry. Then later, wet on wet. We used crescent brush strokes and a flat brush, curving the strokes to make the shape of the apple. Layering is what it's all about. Mine was ugly and started to look like what could surely be described as a Timmy's shamrock donut. I don't like green apples anyhow. After about the fifth layer of colour, I figured out how to make my apple look more apple like. The skin outline looked ragged. It would be one of my produce sale rack, bargain apples, I decided.
Alas, something was missing...yes, the stem and the little fuzzy blossom part on the bottom of the apple. Surely that part has a name. Is it the calyx or stamen or both? Why can't I remember?
Perhaps we'll be taught this essential piece of info I thought, as our instructor asked us to begin again, this time to make a red apple. delicious. My favourite. Something I knew something about. As the instructor promised, this one was progressing much more quickly. The class ended before I could finish my masterpiece, but oh well. Next week was to be another appley week I was sure.
Homework was to work on this and remember to bring an apple to the next class. I tried to resist being my usual wise guy and bringing a tomato. After all, isn't that the original love apple? Ah well...since we have a goodly assortment of Macs around the house, perhaps I'll take one of those. They certainly have interesting hues.

Today was class four. We observed and discussed a number of techniques and learned about light and shadows. We continued to study the importance of layering. Then we looked at our apples and underpainted the outline in grey. Mine was really difficult to see. After that, we made a darker grey shadow.

 Like I said, it was hard to see, and didn't show up in a photo so there's no point in sharing a picture. Anyhow, after determining the underlying colour, we applied more layers. I made a greenish yellow which was more yellow than green. For some reason I found this stressful. I'm not sure what happened when I tried adding my red over the dark gray shadowy side. I didn't really care for the result. The instructor asked how many layers I had and when I said six, he said paintings aren't successful until there are at least seven layers. I turned to my watercolour apple and informed it that it was not successful.
This week we have a lot of homework. The pressure's on because next week, we're painting a still life and also using last. We are to pick something with colour, a fruit or veggie, leaves of a houseplant or whatever with colour variation. We are to underpaint  then make curves using the furthest colour first. Then we are to attempt texture, like the bark of a tree I guess.

 I'm not particularly interested in painting fruit or landscapes. I'm more of an abstract or cartoony type of person. I was becoming quite restless with this process. Then, hubby and I attended the most magnificent of exhibits. We saw the Maurice Sendak display of original works at the Toronto Reference Library. Sendak's art from his various children's books as well as his most famous paintings from the book "Where the Wild Things Are" gave me new hope. How so? His artwork was done in watercolour, pen and ink and was magnificent.
 Perhaps I'll give this activity more time and effort after all. Maybe I'll develop my own style. After all, who wouldn't love and be proud to have something like this hanging on their wall?

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