Friday, March 11, 2016

Another Detour Through Painting on the Way Back to Stitching

I took another wonderful detour into painting, although this time it was actually a blend of painting and stitch. Katie Pasquini Masopust was here teaching her Stitched Paintings workshop and I got to join in! What a treat. Besides enjoying ANY workshop taught by Katie, this was a chance to learn how she creates her ingenious abstract landscapes and still lives that start out with painted canvases. The process starts out with painting canvas in a palette of color the will suit the landscape or still life you have in mind. The first pass at the painting is a gradated color from light to dark. Then comes the fun of a series of mark making steps to add interest and texture to your painted canvases. These are some of mind in the various stages of painting. IMG 1256
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One of the possible composition techniques was to stack and cut through the canvases and then re-assemble them in to a non-representational abstract. IMG 1279
This is my landscape with the reference photo to the left of it. IMG 1290 The next steps are to quilt it to a backing (batting optional) and then build a frame, and then finally attach it to the frame and paint the frame edges to complement the painting. I didn't have time to do this part of the process, as I called away to work at various times during the class, but I've been so inspired by the process and painting in general, that this winter I've set up a tiny painting alcove near my studio where I can have all my paints and supply handy. You can see more photos from this workshop on our workshops blog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Detour into Painting

I admit, I was finally seduced into taking a painting workshop. For years, as director of the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, I've been watching all the fun people have been having at our painting workshops. It was just too much, I had to give it a try! So I joined in the Robert Burridge workshop this past October. It was listed as workshop for "intermediate to advanced." Even though this would be my first painting workshop ever, I wasn't deterred because, as you know, attitude is everything, and as long as I was prepared to look like I totally didn't know what I was doing and just keep trying, all was going to be well. The basic theme of the workshop was to work on a series. However, each morning Bob did a quick demo and set us off with some quick painting exercises to get the creative juices flowing. The first morning, we had to create a series of paintings, working with just black and white, to the "word of the moment" that Bob gave us, like "stability" or "surrounded" or "order". He allowed us about a couple minutes per painting. The point of this exercise, besides getting our painting muscles warmed up, was to really think about what you are trying to convey in a painting. Bob said that he always picked the title of his paintings before even opening his paints. He wants to have a clear idea of the meaning / focus of what he is trying to say. IMG 1118
IMG 1120 Another morning exercise was to create "carrot" figures - with a single brush stroke, lay down a carrot shape and then top it with a oval. Then you can finesse it to look more like a person. For this exercise we were to use black and white and one other color. IMG 1123 Another exercises was to play with abstract composition styles. IMG 1128 Thorough out the workshop, Bob kept a running flow of hints, tips, techniques for reworking duds into delights. Adding color over a black and white piece was one way of adding a pop of interest. IMG 1129 I've a fascination with the flow and movement of a horse's mane, so I attempted to express this in this painting. It's not much, I admit, but it has some good bits and I expect to have to do, like a million paintings before I will be satisfied with the result! IMG 1130 A few more small exercises, the purpose of which I've forgotten. (Good thing I have all of Bob's daily handouts and I bought a couple of his workbooks for reference.) IMG 1131
IMG 1132 The apple is a reworked painting. The apple is revealed by painting over everything that doesn't look like the apple! IMG 1134 These flower vases are the same principle - paint a bunch of bright splotches over a "bad" painting and then paint over the background, covering up everything that is not going to be flowers, then add a vase. IMG 1135
IMG 1143 Reworking the horse again. It was liberating to know that you could just paint over anything you didn't like and turn it in to something else. IMG 1144 Another exercise was painting pears, learning how to create the depth, lighting, and stylistic interest. IMG 1145
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IMG 1160 When I gathered up my paintings at the end of the workshop, my general thought was that my work looked "mmehh." But after looking at the photos from start to finish as I added them to this blog post, I can see that I made some good progress during the 5 days of the workshop. From rank beginner to painting a credible floral bouquet and a pear. So now I'm very motivated to continue exploring this new medium and to also use what I'm learning painting for when I am working in my preferred medium - fabric. I can definitely see how you could use painting to play with color, composition, and value a lot faster and easier than with fabric, but how these things can then be translated into fabric. I highly recommend taking workshops in a variety of media. It gives you a whole different perspective. Now all I need is somewhere to paint! My studio is small enough without trying to make room for a painting surface and supplies, so this winter I'm working on clearing out a small storage alcove near my fiber studio to be my new painting studio. This is what I have to work with. Looks like a disaster, right? Stay tuned for updates! IMG 1371