Monday, October 7, 2013

Brain Waves!

Talk about the brain swinging to and fro on a pendulum!

Being a working artist has its perks, but it was time to get away to a workshop again. To my delight I found two happening in the same weekend at Cole Gallery in Edmonds! Denise Cole manages to get the most energetic and interesting instructors, so I really looked forward to some time to play with art.

Friday night was a three hour session with the whimsical and contemporary acrylics of Jennifer Bowman. As a rule, I shy away from acrylics, preferring to work in watercolor (as a purist) and oil. But a getaway is just that- getting away from the norm and trying something new.

We started with wine and refreshments. Now THERE'S a way to start painting. Relax, Jennifer encouraged us! Although her work is contemporary (to some, that may mean abstract),we never deviated from the basics- the color wheel, composition, line, value, chiaroscuro, or the use of light against dark/dark against light. A  toned matboard provided the surface for a free hand drawn pear and some free-wheeling paint application, taking into consideration light source, shadow location and value to achieve drama and interest.

Then we got to throw paint. Yikes!

Next project, also drawn free hand, was a wine bottle. How to achieve a festive look was created with more paint spatters and squiggles.

Those of you who know me and how left brained I am can imagine how foreign this was. But the results were fun and imaginative, and yes, I learned something. It's okay to loosen up. Well, a little, anyway.

Saturday and Sunday's session with Eileen Sorg was more in my ballpark. Traditional, although equally whimsical,  we were given a predrawn image to transfer to hot press watercolor paper. Like acrylic, I shy away from hot press paper since it has a mind of its own and doesn't accept washes as well as cold press. But.....with the right instructor giving the tips and tools of the trade, I was amazed at how well we could get the hot press paper to behave. Plus, in order to accept the colored pencil accents, the paper needs to be smooth. A bumpy paper won't allow the detail she wanted us to achieve. We were also encouraged to try some of the granulating watercolors - something else I'd been leery of. In painting traditional watercolors, particularly skies, one of the things I try to avoid is granulation. But apparently it has its place.

Saturday, transfer the drawing. Ink in the darks. Apply watercolor backgrounds. Sunday, add the details and highlights with colored pencil. Found myself humming, "Heaven, I'm in heaven!"

The results on everyone's pieces were nothing short of awesome! Planning to try these techniques on some of my upcoming work and have already spent the morning going through reference material.

Get away, step out of your comfort zone, and have some fun. As I sign off all of my education articles for ASAA, Ancoro Imparo- I am still learning. (Michelangelo)

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