Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A couple of painting exercises

I just finished a brief oil painting class taught by Jennifer Balkan.

What we did:

1. No preliminary drawing with charcoal -- everything worked with that unfamiliar tool, the brush.

2. Most work was done in 15 minutes per still life set-up -- go fast fast fast, block in value/light.

3. Not much work in "full color" -- lots of exercises in monochrome to sharpen our ability to see and recreate value/tone.


How it felt:

1. Yikes! Clumsy, like typing while wearing woolen gloves.

2. Double yikes!! You know those dreams where you want to go fast, but you're only able to run in slow motion? That's what the fast fast work felt like.

3. Triple yikes!!! Monochrome meant massed tone, and those who've seen my sketches in archive know I'm most comfortable with line.

What I liked about it:



lowenkopf said...

All of which appears to lead to the conclusion that we must constantly confront what is comfortable with the uncomfortable, to the point where the uncomfortable becomes muscle memory, and then we can move along.

For what it may be worth, I do enjoy the bottle and limes and red pepper which, were I to have seen them thus displayed, would have me at that delightful cusp of wanting to take a quick photo of the whole thing and a quick bite of the pepper.

chris miller said...

You and your teacher appear to have zero in common

(which I'd say is a very good thing!)

You seem to be like the pianist who picks up the violin and starts playing it comfortably right away.

Or ... maybe all those "photographs" you've been showing us have really been extensively reworked in photoshop ?

Dana S. Whitney said...

WONDERFUL. Looks like you'll be having fun... and that the instructor knows what he/she is talking about. (I had my first life drawing class this evening....I'm not sure whether I'll post them or not. They are WAY too big to scan, that's for sure!!

Pedro said...

I am exactly recognizing the pros and cons. Going on a similar project I feel just the same.

Reya Mellicker said...

Your paintings are exquisite! The class sounds like the roller coaster at the carnival. Wheeeee!!

BTW I've been loving your series of pics matched up with lines of poetry. Thank you!!

Rebecca Clayton said...

Wow! Thanks for showing us your early efforts. It's very inspiring to see you step out into unfamiliar territory. I need to try something new immediately, and I really want a bite of that pepper.

Kathleen Rietz said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful exercise! the paintings are great!

lowenkopf said...

Start with:
What we did:

then include everything to and including the bold face Everything,then print it out, then send it off to a magazine that publishes poetry because the text is indeed a poem and a rather vivid one at that.

am said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are so full of life, Lori!

Lori Witzel said...

Yes, a little time to reply (finally!)

Shelly -- I sure agree on the need to re-experience the uncomfortable feelings of being a beginner. Thanks for the "text is indeed a poem"...and I forgot to ask our teacher if she ate the pepper. It did look mighty tasty.

Chris -- *snork*
Since I was late to photos, and spent a lot more time learning how to draw (no mastery implied, just the ongoing struggle) I think the drawing eye informs my use of the camera.

As far as rework in Photoshop, here's what I consider fair rules of the game:
1. Use the pixels in the image itself -- don't use them from another image. (Only two pics on the whole of my blog break this rule.)
2. Use of distort, edit, sharpen, and selective contrast/levels tools are fair game, since they're analogous to what film shooters do under the darkcloth with a bellows camera or in the darkroom with dodge and burn techniques. If there's an analogue to conventional photography techniques, it's okay.
3. Don't change the thing you find to make a "better" pic -- take it as it comes. (I can count three times when I've pulled a blade of grass back or removed a bit of trash -- otherwise, what I saw is what you get.)

KPW -- I saw your new life drawing adventure -- keep going! And keep on looking!

PMBC -- I wish I had the attentional patience to draw architectural detail as elegantly as you do.

Reya -- Thanks back! I'm discovering a lot of poetry (and sifting through tons of stuff I don't like) as I play this new game.

Rebecca -- Thanks for stopping by, and go get 'em! Now that you mention it...I may need to go veggie shopping...yum!

Kathleen -- You are too kind, but so right about the good hard work of learning new things.

AM -- I had to laugh; my "local" friends know just how raggedy-tired I get. Full of life? Nah, just persistent and stubborn.