Sunday, December 1, 2013

#1: Columbines - the beginning


This is my first attempt at painting. Well, maybe not my very first, I do recall the enjoyment of standing at the easel in kindergarten, using the long-handled brushes and swiping bright swaths of tempera paint across large sheets of newsprint!

I created this painting in an art class at our local Michael's art store. I happened to be in the store previously, when they were offering various art classes at two for the price of one. Since I had often thought it would be interesting to learn to paint with acrylics, I signed up for two lessons.

I was very disappointed in my lesson. The instructor didn't do a whole lot of teaching. She did show us how to use the transfer paper to trace the image onto the canvas board. She cautioned us to be aware of what side we had facing the canvas, however, being that I was a bit more advanced in age than some of my classmates, I have had enough experience with carbon paper in my life that this tidbit of knowledge was superfluous. 

We were instructed to put a dollop of blue, red, yellow, white and black on our palette papers. She assumed we had rudimentary knowledge of color theory.  Then, we were told to go ahead and paint, starting with the background. 

Other 'take-aways' for me:
  • Mix paints with the pallet knife, so the brush doesn't get 'gooped' up 
  • Don't leave brushes standing in the water as the wood in the ferrule between the brush hairs and the handle might shrink or weaken.
I was very frustrated. After painting the background a dark green, working carefully around the outlined flowers, I moved on. I completed most of the flowers in class and a few days later added a few more touches to the very light areas and the yellow. I also played with the background, but found the busy-ness to be a bit overwhelming. I was not thrilled with the choices of flowers that were available to me, so that may also have entered into my disinterest in dealing with the details. 

What I like about the painting: 
  • The shading of the central flower works. The two white petals on the right, especially, have a bit of a 3-D look.
  • The shadows in the leaves, especially along the bottom, helps bring depth to the picture. However, I see now that I should have incorporated more light where shafts of sunlight came through.
What thoughts or suggestions do you have?

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