Saturday, March 6, 2010

Palletteers Paint at Governement House!

What an experience! The Palletteers arrived at Government House Friday morning en masse and we were like kids in a candy shop! Thanks to Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Phillips, we were given carte blanche to paint anywhere we wanted, except for the Governor's private residence. Mr. Phillips served as our benificent host, checking on us periodically, answering our questions, giving us bits of the residence's history, and bringing out several staff members for introductions. Unfortunately, aside from a quick photo, he didn't have time to pose for any of our paintings.
We explored at will, taking pictures, examining the rooms, and hamming it up for the camera. Finally we chose our painting spots and got to work with brushes in hand.

All too soon, it was "Show and Tell" time. We exhibited our artwork on the steps of Government House and an "ooh & ah" period followed. Let me add a little aside here: Several of us recently participated in Alexis's workshop on Creativity and Design. During her workshop, we'd discussed how, whether painting plein air or from a photo, one doesn't always have to put exactly what's there in our paintings. Painting what we see doesn't always add up to a good compostion. Alexis said that one of the first steps towards obtaining a good composition is to determine one's focal point and eliminate anything that distracts from it. This is the mistake I'd made. Look below at the painting with the violet-blue sky and puffy clouds and plant pots going down the steps. As I placed my painting on the steps, I knew that "something" wasn't quite right about it. Helen helpfully suggested that I take out the plants and just leave the steps because..ta da.. they took away from my focal point. She was right! As soon as I got home I wiped them off my canvas and repainted the steps without them. Voila! My focal point immediately became clear AND, more importantly, my painting had improved! Put your finger over those potted plants and tell me if you don't agree!

After our "Show and Tell", Mr. Phillips brought Karl Knight, a representative from the Governor's office, over to me. A former student of mine, Karl and I talked briefly before he welcomed our group to the "people's house." I can't tell you how proud I was to see this fine young man speaking so eloquently and assuredly. All those public speaking assignments I'd assigned my students surely proved their worth! Mr. Knight not only welcomed us, he also welcomed our offer to help out with the government's next big celebration which will be taking place in May and involve an art exhibit at Government House. Hopefully some of the paintings seen here will be part of that show.

Our thanks to everyone at Government House who made our morning there such a memorable one!

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