Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer workshop

This summer I have been teaching a six week painting class. With one remaining class I thought it was time to show some of the work I did during the class. Focusing on painting from still lives during the weekly 3 hour class, gave us an opportunity to focus our attention on interpreting the subject in front of us.

While trying to communicate painting concepts and techniques I find it is easier for me to demonstrate with a brush in hand. While working around the room assisting my fellow artists, it is good to return to my own easel to work on capturing my own impressions of the subject. Having very little time for my own painting, I try to demonstrate how quickly the elements of a painting can come together to express a likeness of a subject.

Featuring plums from my tree, pairing colorful California pottery with the blue violet fruit allowed me to juxtapose intense colors with the subtle variations within the skin.

Week 2 the fruit includes apricots and a donut shaped peach. Actually this peach was the shape of a heart, just not the viewpoint I was painting from. The odd shape of these peaches are not a good choice for a subject, I only included it in the still life because from the right angle the heart shape could make an interesting statement. Although this new variety fruit is very tasty its shape is not easily recognizable and thus more difficult to express convincingly.

Week three, and not wanting the class to be thought of a fruit painting class the only fruit I brought to the still life are some blue glass grapes. I expanded the still life to include many combinations of subjects. I was the only one to work from these elements. Someone brought eggplant and green onions, and they were the unanimous favorite this time. I don't know why no one wanted to paint an agapanthus blossom.

.Fourth week I included the glass grapes again. This time on a tin tray with a metal sphere perched upon a silver candle stick. The red of the tin toy bring some warmth to a mostly cool subject. This time I was not alone in trying to render the glass grapes, they showed up in two other paintings that afternoon. The red car stood alone in another painting, and wine bottles were the main focus of the remaining studies done that day.

Week five while an old electric mixer dating back to the 1940's seamed to grab the interest of most of the people painting that day, I could not resist the simplicity of these tomatoes in a vaseline glass dish. The one odd hot pepper makes me think that heart shaped fruits and vegetables are more common then we think.

Painting organic objects like fruit or flowers are often more forgiving then trying to render an accurate image of a some thing man made. If the apple is lopsided it could be how Mother Nature made it, but if the bowl seams to be cockeyed or the teacup askew, the artist will more likely to be called to task.

Tomorrow is the last class in this workshop. I do not know what subjects I will bring to paint. I find I am willing to paint just about anything, or at least have fun trying. I try to convey the idea that just about anything can be the subject of a painting. It is important to decide what relationships you want to express. It can be shapes or colors, everything is a part of something larger. We decide what we want to show.

I enjoy painting with other artists, I'm grateful I had this opportunity to share my ideas and insights. While painting I am always thinking about the process of painting. This workshop allowed me to verbalize some of my thoughts and processes. It is nice when someone listens. I'm learning and I'm not alone.

Sorry it has been so long since I last posted anything • I will blame my computer, or what is left of it.

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