Each year there is a ‘Shakin up the Arts’ show at the Carmen Durazo Center in Calexico. This year the show was just about equally divided between high school students and adult artist entries.
On Tuesday I taught my ‘Painting for Absolute Beginners‘ class at Borrego Art Institute. The gal who does their social media came around and took a bunch of photos on her phone, then obliged by taking some on mine. I don’t often get to be in front of the camera.
If you’re in SoCal, I run the class in 3 different venues, plus my studio, or I can come to you in reasonable distance, with a group to teach.
Before you get too excited about my achieving second place with my chalk painting last Saturday in Moreno Valley, it was a very small field of competitors. I also had a small booth at the art fair and my beloved was being the store keeper for me, while I wore off my fingerprints. I discovered fairly early on that our choice of space to set up (chosen because putting Doug under the tree in the shade would allow me to use the umbrella to keep the blacktop I was working on from melting my fingers), was in front of the band. The band (there were several during the course of the day) and the between-bands background music was LOUD. So, to relieve Doug and allow him to walk around and repair his eardrums and sanity, I hurried through my work.
The need for speed was exacerbated by wind which took the umbrella for a tumble and meant I had to chalk with one hand while quickly rubbing the chalk into the now-scorching blacktop with the other. I finished in 2 hours, and apparently was the only one who completely finished, though other chalkers, intending to take until 4pm created larger compositions.
I had a limited amount of blue, so did the surrounding ‘atmosphere’ in red, rather than follow the original, and created far less clouds than on the mixed media painting this was based on. For this it’s more about the message than the accuracy of the map.
About 15 months ago, ‘Jo’ took my absolute beginner’s class. Earlier in the month, she took the class again, not having painted very much in between. One of the things that I ask at the beginning of the class is what the student hopes to get out of it. It can help me tailor the class a little to hopefully cover any specific items. In this class Jo was lucky in that she was the only one, so we got to discuss her progress a little more.
She had indeed painted the day before, using watercolor crayons. The papers were tiny piece of printer or drawing paper – not the best surface. Jo expressed that she had had difficulty making out what she had painted afterwards and had ended up using ink to define the items painted. Towards the end of the afternoon, after the standard Shadows exercise, we looked at Jo’s paintings and I thought we could tackle one of them as a larger watercolor and make a more realistic painting.
Working a little larger does help. This time we used watercolor paper (Canson 140lb cold press) – about 12×9″. I drew a quick value sketch first on a scrap to outline some of the changes that we would make to make the little barrel cacti look more round, and the rocks “rocky”. The main adjustments were addition of shadows/shading to bring out the shapes of the cacti and rocks. I suggested a simple blue sky/purple hills/sandy mid-ground behind the cacti in order to make them stand out from it, rather than a green one of a similar tone. The cacti flowers didn’t come out as well as hoped – I’m not by nature a floral painter and they were a little on the small side to do much more with than a bit of impressionism.
Jo said her husband thought everything she painted was wonderful, but when he came to pick her up after the class and we showed him the before and after, there was no faking those eyebrows shooting skyward. Here’s the before (on the right! 🙂 ) and the after.
Trilogy in La Quinta is a gated community with an active creative club. A couple months ago I got the opportunity to become one of the watercolor class instructors there, and teach about twice a month on a Monday afternoon. It’s a guided-tuition class, a little like the paint-n-wine format in that all students complete the same painting, but with much more of a learning opportunity focus.
I get so wrapped up in demoing and guiding, that I usually forget to take photos of the class in action. But this time, I persuaded the ladies to let me take a pic of their completed exercises to put on the blog.
They sure do make me work too! Not only do I need to prepare the exercises, but I get requests of trying subjects that I don’t usually do, so my skills get stretched as a result. Seems like we’re all having fun, though!
This is the last one in the series suggested by Eric in Ventura. His phrase was:This is the last one in the series suggested by Eric in Ventura. His phrase was:”The attic, grandma’s art hidden behind the attic crawl space”
Having gotten close to the end of the list of suggestions, I’ve been working off on my own for a while. I completed six sonnets on the weekend during quiet moments at the art fair and I’m now over the 100 mark!
It’s an expected death, but still, she’s gone –
in heaven with Grandpa – her life love – again
and now it’s up to us to clear the home.
Sixty years of chatchkis, what a pain!
The auctioneer comes first and takes the best.
Next the ebay guy, then Goodwill runs,
and lastly to the dump with all the rest
but family albums. Oh! The attic’s full
of paintings! Whose are these? My God, they’re hers!
We’d no idea she was so good at art.
And dates! She’d painted in her youth for years,
but none since when our Grandpa stole her heart.
So sad, on these walls only now we see t
he artist her life wouldn’t let her be.