Ever get into a sport or hobby on your own, see improvement but realize you need some help,training, guidance? That’s what happened to me recently . When I was a young kid I was the class artist…but by Jr High school it was dawning on me that my hopes and dreams of living out every artists dreams of the ultimate achievement …Comic Book Artist…just was not going to happen…and I for the most part laid down my pencil to address other pursuits. I would scribble and sketch here and there, but not much or often enough. About a year ago between a combination of a trip to Barcelona, Spain’s Art Museums and Art Galleries, attending gallery events in NYC and of course…trying to impress a girl…I went to Blick and picked up paint supplies. From there they referred me to Course Horse which led me at first to a Painting Party and from there to TheArtStudio (shameless plug, after shameless plug)
My first class, Painting 101 was taught by Adrienne Hecker. We started out the first class learning about the Color Wheel, how to look/focus on (read: squint and make squares with your fingers) at objects you are painting and which colors to use to shade…generally not what you think…for instance how would you shade against yellow? How many of you guessed purple? I didn’t. Red? Answer green. Then went on to paint our still life of Peppers. From there we moved on to a project painting on Plexiglas. While we did learn a few things about use of color, etching and painting backgrounds…it didn’t really do it for me and kind of felt more like Arts and Crafts. You live…you learn. Next up we did a landscape. I used a picture I took in Buzios,Brazil. This I enjoyed and learned how to paint in blocks of darks and lights and how to highlight. I also used Pumice here to give the sand in my painting texture(see picture).
For our last project we could do whatever we wanted and I choose to do a portrait(see below the progress of the painting). Here I learned a bit on blending skin tones and the use of gloss to help blend colors into each other.
I enjoyed the class and then signed up for another Drawing and Painting Portraits. However, a few things to point out before I go into my current class. The classes are more about giving you a studio to work in with a teacher on hand to lend support rather then leaning about Color Theory, how to mix skin tones, etc…However my experience thus far with the teachers has been that they are very hands on. One thing that if you do sign up….and I highly recommend taking a class here is do not purchase everything they put on the materials list. They went a little overboard with it and I have discussed this with them. I would e-mail them what do you need just for the first class and purchase additional supplies as required. For instance Crackle and Pumice were both on the required list, yet they never came up until I inquired about what were they for in the first place.
I have one more session to go in Portrait Drawing and Painting. Our instructor Jake Premo starts off each class with a brief lesson and then we go to work…again very hands on pointing out what we are doing well and showing us techniques how to shade, draw eyes from the side, faces when you can only see an 1/8 of it from behind, add purple to flesh tones, etc. The first few classes we sketched a nude female model in a variety of seated poses. I was hoping for a recline but it was not to be. I enjoy drawing and was advised to draw more to get a better understanding of how the body fits together. This was challenging especially do to some of the angles I choose(I have a tendency to take the more difficult roads in life). Here’s a couple of pics I can put up on a family friendly site(see below)
After a few classes it was time to bust out my paints and I created the best piece(see progression of painting below) I’ve done yet, even managed to do a pretty good job with the hair which I had a lot of difficulty in the past. I ended up doing I think a better job with highlights then with some of the shading and I sure didn’t anticipate using my fingers like I was putting on make-up…which I don’t have much experience with…aside for that time at camp when I got dressed up as…well another time. I have one more class and I’m working on a female in semi-recline at the beach to try and incorporate a number of things I learned. I likely will be signing up for another class to continue to improve my skills…well, that’s if after reading this they let me…:)