Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Good First Lesson

I do not intend to continue to post early samples of my work but  allow me one more to make a point.  In the first classes I took, mentioned in my first post, the instructor demonstrated brushwork as we followed along.  She loaded her brush with paint and made bold distinct passages.  She left each undisturbed and finished the entire painting that way.  As I said before, I didn't know what I was doing but didn't have any bad habits either.  The painting below hangs in my studio today as a memento, but also as a lesson on the wall to remind me not to overwork the paint.   This habit can become ingrained and is best avoided from the start.  My painting style now is nothing like this image, but I try to remember the lesson every time I face a blank canvas.  Visitors to my studio often comment on the painting and it amuses me that some seem to prefer it to my current style.  That's OK though, and it makes me treasure my first attempt even more.

One more thing- when I first started I was sometimes advised to save all of my paintings.  That way I could look back on them to gauge my progress.  Except for those who paint very infrequently, my advice is to discard older paintings on a regular basis if they are serving no purpose other than documentation.  I would have had to rent a storage locker by now, or else my studio would be a cluttered disaster area.  I recommend photographing all of one's finished paintings along with any important studies and filing the digital images by year, which is what I do, or dating them and filing by genre/subject matter if preferred.  I do save a few successful paintings  that represent milestones.  These hang in inconspicuous areas of the house, such as the laundry room or guest bath, and I can visit them whenever I like.  Of course with time many successful paintings will leave through the front door as sales or gifts and that is the happiest way to control clutter!

Thanks for reading!

Suggested Reading:  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Condo.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Launching My New Hobby

Wow- I'm blogging!  And no followers yet so it feels safe.   One thing is certain- I have no idea how this is going to go.

My intention is to share my thoughts and discoveries about painting that are relevant to my art journey.  I started painting in Feb. 2008 after drawing with a close friend for a few months.  Even though I was drawing without any formal instruction, and not very well, I had the good fortune and dumb luck to take advantage of a community program for adult education that sadly has since been discontinued.  I signed up for beginning oil painting lessons.  If I hadn't done that I know I would have given up painting before long.  My first instructor was wonderful and showed me absolutely everything I needed to know to get off on the right foot.  I had no experience, but also no bad habits.  My best advice to anyone who wants to learn to paint is to find a good instructor from the beginning, follow advice, take notes and read recommended books.  Over and over again.

My last art class had been in the 9th grade.  My career was in medicine and I never took time out for art.  As my husband of 40 years exclaimed, once he realized how passionate I was about painting, "You never even doodled!"  My mother has been gone for many years now.  She was a painter herself and a good one though not prolific.  We never painted together and I wish I could tell her that I do now.  Most parents are happy when a child gets into medical school, but she was sad, realizing that I would abandon art- the career she had in mind for me.  Things work out for a reason.  I would have starved as a career artist.  Now that I am retired I get to paint all I want and I love it.

So for my first blog post, I will include a sample of my artistic prowess in the 3rd grade.  It depicts my favorite subject- lunch.  (I didn't like grade school very much.) My mother thought I was a genius when she saw this,  as mothers tend to do,  and it was still in her home when she died.

Got to love the blue hair!