Continuing Education

Back in 2015 while volunteering at a local gallery, I saw a pastel displayed behind the reception desk. I thought why can’t my pastels look that good.

I took down the name of the artist and did some research. I found out she taught classes and workshops. From mid-2015 through 2016 I was a part-time student whenever there was an open slot in the classes and became a full-time student in 2017.

The classes helped me improve my skills. While classes will no longer meet weekly we will continue to gather every so often to critique finished work and help get suggestions on other pieces.

Over the past year, I’ve taken  classes regarding other mediums. I took an online class on watercolorlasy spring. Participants were given access to online videos  then we met the instructor for a critique of our work. While the videos were helpful, I wanted some basic information on watercolor painting to learn things that I either didn’t know or may have forgotten.

I found an online watercolor class by Liz Steel. She’s a well known urban sketcher (watercolor painting mixed with pen and ink). Here website is www.lizsteel.com.

It’s only been a few weeks into the class but I’ve enjoyed it very much. She gives students a lot of information (downloadable lesson plans) with  demonstrations videos to help you complete your homework for the week.

Last fall, I participated in a Make It, Take It class on Acrylics. It is very much like the paint night events people go to with their friends. The only difference is the teacher is a local artist and the image you paint that evening is based on the artwork of that artist. I don’t work in Acrylics normally so it’s nice to learn something about a new medium and how to apply it to an artwork.

Of course there are other mediums I could try. It’s always nice to try something new as well as develop new skills. As an artist, it is also a way to meet other artists and learn about their work.

It’s So Good because it’s So Bad!

Question:
What’s wrong with this photo?

Answer:
It’s So Good because it’s So Bad….

We are discussing Color Confidence in our OctoberPastel Class. Over the next few weeks, we are doing exercises dealing with value (light vs dark), chroma (bright vs dull) and temperature (warm vs cool).

Our first exercise would really hit home the idea that while color gets all the glory, value does all the work! First we were tasked with picking out one hue in varying values. In my values photo, the top row showcases a violet hue ranging from lightest to darkest on a scale of 1 to 5. The thought process is in painting it does not matter the color you use as long as it matches in value. If you have the correct value, the color will work in the painting.

In the other rows we were asked to pick colors matching them to their corresponding value. It’s more difficult than you’d think!

A previous pastel teacher once said she could easily pick out colors based on value without thinking about it. In singing, this person would be known as having perfect pitch. Most people are not that lucky. I am one of those unlucky people (not being able to pick out values so easily)

There were a number of times, I found a color that I thought could be a two or a three value and took a chance in placing it in squares of the exercise. When I completed study, I took a photo of the piece and converted it to black and white. Here’s where you can see the mistakes.

That’s why I say it’s So Good because it’s So Bad. Obviously, I’ll correct the value study. The more I work on it, the better I’ll become at determine values and picking colors that will work cohesively in an artwork.

Here’s a photograph showing how to fix a few of the mistakes  once I correct the values. Knee completed, I can move onto the next step by taking these values and applying them to an artwork such as a still life or landscape. I’ll post on that part of the exercise later this week

Sometimes the best way to learn is to make mistakes.

Demos

At work, we’ve been doing Facebook Live demos weekly since August 10. I’ve been the presenter three times so far. The first time I discussed Pastel Supplies followed by a demo on creating a pastel. Originally, I planned to do a full pastel in 10 minutes but realized doing the pastel while talking and keeping it to 10 minutes was hard. I chose to show what an underpainting would look like when dried and started a small pastel using a dry underpainting. Overall, I think those demos went well

Since the weekly demos have started we have increased the number of views and number of 3-second views. Hopefully people are finding them helpful as well as reminding people what the store has to offer to our customers.

Yesterday, I did a demo on Starting a Watercolor using Basic Techniques. Similar to other demos, I prepared an outline of what I hoped to discuss during the 10 minutes. By Tuesday afternoon and evening I began practicing the techniques. I wanted to show people how to apply paint to the surface, ways of correcting mistakes, and a few ways to add texture to your watercolor painting.

It was a good thing to practice! I planned to show viewers how to use rubbing alcohol, salt, and a sponge in watercolors. In my attempts to use the alcohol, it didn’t work.  Perhaps I wasn’t using enough rubbing alcohol. Checking YouTube, I saw someone dip a straw in rubbing alcohol and touch the paper surface.  I tried that method too. It didn’t work.

If it wasn’t going to work in a practice demo, I wasn’t about to try it in the actual demo. I changed it to using a splatter effect. It worked much better than the rubbing alcohol.