Thursday, February 2, 2012

Workshop, Day 2

So the question comes up, "You've been painting for years, why do you take a painting workshop?" The reasons for doing so are numerous and varied. Many of us believe in lifelong learning. Unlike artists in the states, living on St. Croix we don't have many opportunities to expand our knowledge and skills. Our university has just begun offering art courses, those that are offered take place at night, and many of us don't want to be driving at night. We can't just hop in our cars to drive 100 miles to another town to take a workshop and even after flying to another island or the states, the expense of a hotel and a ground transportation are incurred. So when a workshop is offered, we who live here usually jump on it!
As I said, we want to learn more, because otherwise we'll just keep doing what we've been doing and that gets boring. A workshop environment is a very positive one! Some of us want to learn how to make better use of the medium that the artist/instructor is known for. Even when the artist paints in a different medium, I've found that I can still learn about the use of light and dark, warm, cool, and complementary colors, composition, and some of the "tools of the trade" that all painting media share.

I had a lot of fun at day #2 of the workshop. Since we're working with photos in this workshop, I brought with me a photo that I'd taken on Tuesday of the cats that inhabit the Chenay property. After Alexis and I discussed how I'd use the photo , I did my thumbnail sketch, figured out my values, and proceeded to draw my sketch on my canvas. My morning passed quickly as I tried to get my darks and lights established. Alexis came by regularly to see how I was coming along and to give some critiques. At one point early in my efforts, she asked me if I'd ever painted a cat! Ha! I will admit that my Van Gogh-like brush strokes didn't look like much yet! We broke for lunch, then I returned to my painting, finally finishing it around 3PM. I felt that my day had been well spent.

At 3:30 we had a critique session during which we were able to see each other's accomplishments. It was quite impressive! I could clearly see how each of the other participants had applied what we'd been learning from Alexis thus far.
Afterwards we were treated to a great magic show put on by magician Bob Filene, Susan's husband, that was very entertaining!

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