Friday, December 9, 2011

Bucket List Part Two

Thanks to all of you who even thought any of the pictures last week were mine.  Sadly, I did not paint even one of those!  All were Reid's.  I will share some of mine, but be warned and get the children out of the room--they are not pretty! 
Last week I wrote about the first two days of the workshop.  Each night I would come back home with the kids (well, 28 & 26 are still kids to me) and flop down--EXHAUSTED! Being in a 9 to 4 week long workshop is more art than I usually do in a week!  And that in itself is why I do them.  I am able to fully focus and concentrate on my art for one week out of a year.  Nothing but art for one week. 

The first day. Seems stiff and
harsh to me.The only thing I like
is the chair!
Later in the week we are into a routine and I've found a coffee machine to fend off the afternoon fatigue.  Reid is still doing the spellbinding demo's in the A.M. and I am still working to loosen up and paint with bold color and one stroke confidence!  It's not happening!  But he makes it look so easy!!  I know it can be done, but can it only be done by the master?  Can the sensei impart the knowledge in one short week?  Is this student a little slow?  Shouldn't I be getting it by Wednesday? 
This workshop is painting the figure in watercolor.  I am no stranger to painting the figure.  I still have some issues with accuracy in drawing, which Charles helped me with a great deal.  His dot to line and gesture drawing, which I have been doing for years and which is nothing new, once again made a huge impact on what I really see and what I think I see.  Back to basics! 
Reid at work Wednesday A.M.
Right and below is the same model he did in the A.M.  I was happy with the gesture and the drawing, but the face is harsh and she still looks cut out and pasted on the page.  All things I am working to overcome.  It is not as harsh as the first one, so I feel I am making some progress. 
The floor beside Reid was as colorful as his paintings! 
He snaps the brush on the floor to remove excess water...
My work Wednesday P.M.
Somehow I find myself over the hump and staring down the last two days of the workshop.  I have a little panic attack since I have not produced one painting I feel good about.  Please don't misunderstand.  I am not being overly critical of my work.  But when you know where you want to go and what you want to achieve--you know when you are not getting there.  This was a turning point for me.  There were many fine artist I was with who made great strides quickly.  Others were struggling like I was.  Reid was right there, encouraging and giving help but I just couldn't get where I envisioned myself going! 

I will end part two with these reflections:  On Thursday I wondered if I should just make peace with what I could do as an artist.  Maybe my "style" was so strong I could not break free enough to do what I saw.  And should I?  Then I thought "why bother to learn anything then, or admire anothers work?"  If I gave up just because I couldn't do it the way I thought I should by now, what was the point of taking the workshop?  I am always telling students that no one is a virtuoso without training and most of all practice.  The very definition from Miriam Webster is:  one who excels in the technique of an art.  Excellence is never a waste of time.  But it does take time. 
Reids version of the model. 
And second, I clarified what I was hoping to learn and that was not trying to paint like someone else.   I do think it's possible to get so enamored with someone elses technique or style that you "copy" them at the expense of your individual voice.  What I wanted was to have that same control with a looser look and a better overall artistic voice. Looking around the room I noted that although each artist was looking at the same model, all are painting her in their own way.  Your art is like your fingerprint.  There is no one in that class who could paint like Reid, though a few could get close.  But even those that were close had a unique quality to their painting that no one else had. 

I went in Thursday morning understanding that I was there to stretch myself, not paint the way I always painted.  That meant being willing to fail again on Thursday.  But do I make the progress I want in the coming days?  Yes, I do.  In the end I learned some valuable lessons that I think have changed my art. (yet it only comes out every other painting!!  Old habits die hard!)  I'll show and tell all next week! 

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