My Tuesday night painting class finishes next week and I don’t know what I will do without it. It brings a joy that I don’t ever remember feeling in art class where the emphasis was all on faithful reproduction through careful copying and drawing. I wasn’t any good at it and it wasn’t any fun.
With Victoria McGoogan, we have explored not only standard watercolor techniques (wet on wet, wet on dry, dry on dry etc) but we have also experimented with wax crayons, spatter paintings, the effects caused by mopping up with paper towels (see my rather pleasing mushroom cap below). We have learned layering. We have been encouraged to work with textures using everything from our fingers to feathers and combs to help the paint move the way we want it to across the page. Victoria references modern masters as she paints, so a lesson on building layers of color allows us to pretend to be Rothko.
I found myself feeling inadequate and stressed during the viewfinder exercise where we were asked to focus on part of an image viewed through a square hole in a larger piece of paper. Could we enlarge and reproduce what we could see? I could not. Shading is still a problem. I liked the exercise where we masked part of our blank pad with tape, creating crazy paving on the paper which we peeled off when the paint was dry. We also cut up our completed picture, using pleasing parts to create a collage on a new surface.It’s valuable to learn that some things are better with parts of them excised. I cut out mountain tops, sullen Irish skies, and fingerprint drystone, heather or peat bogs. I liked them so I framed them. Laugh all you want. I am going to buy myself a large container of Modge Podge, a fabulously named substance that can be used to stick paper down, or to paste over it, giving it a clear,shiny surface when it is dry. I have already upgraded some of my brushes to those from the Robert Simmons Sapphire range. ( Those of you compiling Christmas lists, take note). The kitchen table is even more of a mess than usual.