Wednesday, September 23, 2009

painting class is getting deeper ;)

I've been taking a Fundamentals of Painting class for about 1 month now. It's twice a week, for 3 hours each week. I've really been enjoying it. We started with drawing - charcoal on paper, using objects (mostly spheres and cylinders) that had been spraypainted white. After doing that once, we moved on to painting them - but again, with just white and black paint and white objects. We did that for a while, adding objects with increased complexity and dimension, and then did the same thing but in raw sienna. We added fabric, which increased the difficulty by a LOT. Last week we started with COLOR! Instructor (Paul) would set up two still life settings - one with oranges and blues, and one with greens and reds. Adding color was like jumping off of a building into a whole new swimming pool. Oh MAN do I love color. The blue/orange combo is especially pleasing to me.

For the most part our paintings have been 20-40 minutes in length. He purposefully stops us from going further with them. He says the hardest part of painting is starting a painting, so he wants to get us over that. Also, he wants to keep us wanting to do more, and it is frustrating when he tells us to stop, switch still lives, and start again. Last night he let us work on one painting for the full time and it was a very different experience. We really got to dive in to it more than we had before.

Tomorrow we are not painting, but going to a gallery opening in hollywood. This is the kind of assignment that makes me grumble and not want to go, but I know that once I get there I'll be glad I went. It'll be really good for most of the kids (yes, I say KIDS, because they're BABIES) to get exposure to any sort of painting at all that isn't as famous as the Mona Lisa.

Tuesday we are to - well, here is the assignment:

Consumer Goods Still Life: Establishing Visual Rhythym and a Limited Sense of Depth

Most of us regularly buy various consumer products. These products might be staples such as milk, soap, socks, and light bulbs. Or they might be products we choose to indulge in more than is strictly necessary, such as gourmet chocolates, t-shirts, cd's, hats. For this exercise, make a list of consumer goods which hold a special fascination with you - items you regularly buy, or want to buy as well as objects you simply enjoy looking at.

After you have finished the list, circle two products which hold an especially strong attraction for you. For each, write a paragraph or two exploring what that product means to you adn why you like to buy examples. Does teh item appeal to you visually, emotionally, intellectually, or sensually, or in some combination of these and other ways? What do you think your interest in the product says about you?

Make two paintings featuring multiple examples of one type of consumer product, like cakes in Wayne Thiebaud's paintings. The product may be one you wrote about in teh first part of the project. Both paintings can be made on gessoed paper or canvas panels, approximately 20 x 15. Use a large or medium flat brush to establish the general shapes first. Work from the general to the specific.

Painting 1 (exploring rhythym): Depict objects in plane parallel to the picture plane. Start by placing objects on a shelf or shelves, or attaching the objects to a wall. As you arrange the objects prior to painting them, experiement with varioius ways of spacing and orienting them in order to enhance a sense of visual rhythym. Try movin gthe objects into highly ordered regular arrangements as well as relatively informal and irregular arrangements. Try arranging the objects based on patterns of darks and lights, or by size and shape. Make a series of thumbnail sketches, then, from these choices, paint the composition that most effectively establishes a sense of visual rhythym.

Painting 2 (a first look at creating depth): Arrange and then depic the objects so that they appear to recede back from the picture plane. Portray depth in two ways. First, where they are aligned, opague objects in front will shield the view of ojects deeper in space. And, secondly, the cotnrast of values will be reduced in teh distance. (The reduction on contrast means that darks appear less dark while lights appear less light)

my objects

yarn, yarn, yarn, yarn
new journals, journals and notebooks and ledgers in general
certain ceramisc
granny squares
wooden handles on those bags
kitchen appliances - like salad spinners,
lots and lots of vessels
some shoes
anything orange
purple eyeshadow
little bottles of wine/champagne
potted herbs
certain flowers at the grocery store
thin asparagus
pens, crayons, markers, sharpies, etc.
big chunky wooden earrings

we shall see, we shall see. I will have to go on a foraging trip through my house to find these. I know I like series and groups of things - I like a whole wall full of yarn, a whole shelf full of the same style of books, a whole cupboard full of spice jars, etc. I would love to combine the consumer aspect of this assignment with the visual.... looking forward to a painting assignment that goes beyond what you see in front of you!


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