Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What makes a class successful?

Kind of unexpectedly I just got asked to teach a "Flowers in Watercolor" class at the local art center here in our small town. I'm really excited! What a fun, new opportunity. I'm also a little overwhelmed. There are two problems. 1 - I've never taught adults before. 2 - Since I graduated from college, I've never taken an art class. Not a one. I've wanted to really, really badly, but just haven't had the time or money. I've painted lots and learned lots and progressed lots, so I do have things to share. But I can't say I know what makes a good class. I would LOVE to hear from any of you that have taken classes or workshops - good or bad - and hear your ideas as to what makes a class effective and fun. I'm not a methodical painter. I don't have things down to a science. I can't tell you which are the best paints or brushes or which paints stain more, or which colors mix better with which colors. But other teachers can offer that. I don't think I should try. Any suggestions for what I should do? What has worked best for you? I appreciate any advice!! Thanks!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Starting with the sky

After an adventurous and rather busy couple of days, I at least got some paint on the paper. And I'm still, clearly, playing and experimenting and trying new things. It's fun to let loose and see what happens. It's much too early to make judgements on this one (although that hasn't really stopped me). I'm a little concerned at how dark I let the sky get, since it was supposed to be lighter than the trees that meet it, and I'm not quite sure it's what should have been done but I was at a total loss with the sky. There was way too much of it to leave it one plain block of color, or even a gradual fading of one color. It definitely needed more interest so there you go. I do like its boldness. My husband likes the stark difference between the smooth sweeping lines and the jagged tree-line. We'll see!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Paints!

 Frustrated as I was by my blues the other day, I hopped online and spent the rest of my birthday money just like that. My intention was to get more blues and find out which I liked best. I got distracted a little. I got more than blue. Ha! As if I shouldn't have seen THAT coming. Not all these here are new, but it shows them compared to what I had before. Leaf Green wins the award for the new paint I'm most excited about. Bright Red is the most disappointing. Opus (Vivid Pink) wins the yes-it's-actually-as-intense-as-it-showed award. There are honestly too many new blues for me to have any idea what I think after these tiny swatches, but I am more certain than ever that I do not like Cerulean Blue Genuine.
And I got started on my next painting finally. It's just a line drawing for now but it is a start. Usually that means I spent a LONG time picking which image to paint, which was definitely true and just as difficult tonight. It's a little more up-close than my last few in this new style. I am even showing some of the vertical lines of the grass, which worries me a bit. Don't want it to end up looking cartoony. Anyway, sorry if you can't see it well enough. Tomorrow I get to pick which paints to use! Wahoo.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What a difference a day makes

Ah. I'm happy. How does it sometimes just work? And sometimes just not? Thank you for your encouragement in the comments! What I wasn't liking about it was that it was staying shapes to me. The shapes weren't forming at all into the landscape, which I still wanted. And after pouting and glaring at it quite a bit, I noticed that my values were off. If it had been a black and white study, it would've been all over the board. For example, the whole ocean needed to get darker so that the rocks would stand out at all. And the whole cliff/grass section need to be a bit darker (still probably should but I don't want to lose the colors so I hesitate) so that it would recede into the background behind the other cliff section. And its colors needed a bit of confidence instead of projecting my timidity. So after an unexpected vision and burst of determination, I am happy. It's not perfect, but then again, who is? The closest cliff section is still a bit confused to me, but I don't think I have any clarity to offer it. And the sky is totally boring, but I'm not sure if I can help that either. So I put down my brush, at least for tonight, and will now sleep much more peacefully. Thank goodness.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Poco a poco

Ok I confess. I haven't been painting a ton lately. It's summer and we spend a lot of time playing out in the hot sun and that zaps my energy more than usual leaving me little left at the end of the day. Or at least that's my attempt at an excuse. I'm not totally lazy though. I did make a fantastic Rachael Ray's BLT Bowtie dinner and some awesome blueberry muffins during nap time. Totally beside the point I know, but it was yummy and I just needed to pat myself on the back for something because I'm not feeling it with the painting. Here's what I got done the other night:
And then tonight I got a little more done. Doesn't look like I did much, does it? And I'm not so sure about it. Kinda feels like it's lost its way a little or I've lost my excitement for it or something.  I'm not ready to give up but it's not reading well to me. But then again, there's a lot more to do and the middle of the painting process is always the toughest for me. What do you do when you feel like a painting isn't working? I ate an extra blueberry muffin and that didn't even help. Any better suggestions?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Back to the Sea

When we were at the coast a few weeks ago, we had incredible weather and took some awesome pictures. They were the perfect thing I needed right now for a little painting inspiration (I've just been too tired at the end of the day to pick up my brush lately). But this scene is gorgeous. How could I not want to paint? I'm going to try to keep in the style of my recent Columbia Gorge painting. I wish I had more blues in my palette. Which blues do you use? I use Da Vinci paints because they're cheaper and an artist I really admire recommended them saying they're great quality. And I have Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue (not thrilled with honestly - it's grainy), and Indigo, if that counts. What do you recommend?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Trying Something New

So I got an email the other day with local farms news and they were having a t-shirt design competition, and I thought, hey why not? Free food from the Farmer's Market as a reward, awesome! Not really my normal route for expressing creativity and I'm not really that comfortable with design or simple line drawings and I know nothing about graphic design, but it's good to give yourself a little challenge now and then, right? Well it turned out to be much harder than I anticipated but after lots of crumpled paper, after too much time, and after re-working my imagined design, here's what I submitted. The one on the left is for the front of the t-shirt, and on the right is for the back, following their requirements. Kinda fun to have finished if nothing else. And my daughters like it, so there's always that going for me :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Finally back in the saddle!

So moving has kind of taken precedence over painting lately. Sigh. And sadly it's not like there hasn't been any inspiration. This is the view out of my kitchen window! Isn't it an incredible view of across the river? I just love the shadows - so cool. They're really fun to watch change throughout the day.
And, on top of that, there is actually a place for me to paint in our new house! A previous owner turned the carport into an extra room, which is hands down my favorite part of the house. It's big and spacious and has a work bench lining one of the walls ... which, of course, will be my art bench! I'm so excited to not be painting on the kitchen table and having to pick it up every night!!!
So although, as you can clearly see from the above picture that there are plenty of boxes left to work on, I took the night off and finally finished the painting for my husband of the temple we got married in 7 years ago! It's the first acrylic painting I've done in years and he loves it, so I figure that's a success, right? It may even end up being the first thing that makes it on the wall :)