Saturday, April 21, 2012

Get Your Paint On: Week 1

I took a leap I had been contemplating for a while and decided to take the 5 week on-line Get Your Paint On class with Lisa Congdon and Mati McDonough. I decided on this particular class for several reasons. Though I've played with watercolors and acrylics a bit, I am by no means a painter so I thought it would be a good creativity boost to have to learn and think differently to paint the weekly assignments. Probably because of my architectural training, I am much more comfortable with black and white than I am with colors and exact representations of what I see. Lisa and Mati both use lots of color and imagination in their paintings. I'd like to learn to be looser and more colorful so this class seems like the perfect opportunity!

For the first week, our assignment was to make a gridded or quilt like painting to get familiar with the paint and make blocks of color using the Gee's Bend quilters of Alabama as inspiration. Many of their quilts resemble typical geometric quilt patterns, but the quilts are not so exact and resemble modern art. There's certainly a skill to being not quite exact in an artistic way rather than looking like you goofed up! I added the black lines to my painting below to try to give that feeling.

What did I learn from my first painting?
  •  I'm a planner. Okay, I didn't learn that, I knew it. I had the painting all drawn out  and colored in my sketchbook before I even bought my missing painting supplies. And I sketched it out on the canvas before I started painting. I didn't use a ruler to make sure everything lined up perfectly. And I did make some changes to the center square on the fly.
  • It's impossible to be exact with a paint brush. At least for me. I had a lot of difficulty making neat looking squares and lines of the weight that I wanted. Which may have to do with my brushes and my skill with them.
  • I need new paint brushes. I have a whole slew of paint brushes that I've gathered over the years, but most are either well-used or cheap so I had a problem with stray hairs dropping paint where I didn't want it to go.
  • I'm taking the class for me. We all share our paintings on a Flickr group and there are a wide range of skills represented amongst the others taking the class. I need to remember that this is for me to improve my skills and not to be intimidated by those with totally awesome paintings. Fortunately, the pinups and critiques of architecture school helped with this immensely, but sometimes, when I feel like I'm out of my element, I just have to remind myself that I'm here to learn and not to compete!

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