Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Life as an art student | Day 7 of 20

Today was the first day for doing a warm/cool value study painting from a still life instead doing a 2D master copy. We started the day (per usual) with a discussion and looked specifically at the Jerusalem Studio School.  We watched a few videos and interviews and really examined the creative process behind creating works from figurative subject matter vs. representational subject matter. I took notes in my visual journal and wrote down both quotes from the videos as well as things my professor points out. I have been taking notes like this for most of the class but have completely forgotten about sharing the pages with you so I'm going to go ahead and do that now.

Here is what I wrote down today...

And here are my pages from last week and then earlier this week (when we watched the video interview with Sister Wendy Beckett)...

When we got into the studio, my focus was primarily on trying to paint a green pepper (given to me by the professor) in warm and cool values. I jumped right in and was happily slapping thick paint all over my paper when the professor stopped me and tried to redirect my strokes. I attempted to steer myself in the way he wanted me to go. He stopped me again and attempted to redirect my strokes again. I went back to work. *Wash, rinse, repeat* about three more times and I was NOT getting it. Below is where I started...

Now that I am beyond that moment, I can better articulate what I was doing wrong:
  • I was using WAY too much paint to the detriment of the brushwork and direction of the strokes. 
  • I was thinking way too much about the overall image rather than the smaller sections of value and shapes (created by the value)
  • I was using strokes that were much to wide, long, etc. vs. shorter/more meaningful/intentional marks (as in Van Gogh's work and the way you can see each individual mark, shape made collectively by the marks themselves)
  • I was not changing direction with my brushwork enough to show the planar differences and thus more obvious three-dimensions.
Nearly everyone was being challenged and was (perhaps) frustrated so the professor set up his own easel and then did a great job showing us exactly what we should be doing. I had already sort of figured out what he meant because he gave me some books to look at and when I finally saw him lay down half a dozen strokes on his own canvas, I was full confident and I went ahead and painted alongside him - laying down my own strokes and then checking my workflow against his. I'm happy to report that I was REALLY able to improve my work to the point that when he stopped by my easel to check my progress, his first reaction was, "WOW" followed by more constructive feedback that included affirmations that I definitely was doing things better and right this time. Here is my easel set-up and place where I stopped at the end of today.

And here is a closer (though poor because I took this with my camera phone) view of what will likely be my completely finished piece.

Tomorrow I will be working on another warm/cool value study of a yellow pepper (the professor wants us to do a cool vegetable and a warm one) and we will also be glazing (with oil paint) the work that we do in order to start using color correctly.

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