This last weekend I took another three-day class at The Winslow Art Center on Bainbridge Island. Martha Jordan brings in wonderful artists from all over the country to teach workshops. This last weekend, Stanley Bielen came in from the East Coast to teach beautifully simplified small paintings to a group of fifteen from all over the country.
We all had individual vignettes set up around the room. It was so fun to see what people selected and then what they painted. I learned a lot from the teacher and from watching the approach of other artists in the class. I started to say “students”, but for the most part, the class was full of very accomplished artists.
I stopped to talk to a friend downstairs and by the time I returned after the morning demo, the only spot left was the one where Stanley had painted the demo, so I decided I would give it a try.
These are small paintings at about 6″ x 8″, so this is even a little larger than the actual painting. Being pleased with this I moved on the next day to a set-up of my own.
This is not quite as loose as what Stanley was sharing, but it was fun and I felt good about it, which is not always the case.
In the afternoon, I looked at the choices available and found this beautiful little teapot, and thought it would be fun. Laughing a little, I placed a quince bough in the spout and had fun painting this. Stanley made a couple of painting strokes, that really made a difference in the painting.
Keep in mind that I am not a “flower” painter. Ever since I was in Art School in the ’70s, and the teacher in one of my first-semester art classes said, after I produced a three foot by three foot abstract, that he was surprised, as he always thought I would just be a flower painter, I have kind of steered clear of flowers. If you look back in your life, I think most of us would be amazed by the power that a small quick comment may have had on our lives. Teachers have more power than we often think.
Feeling good about my little teapot (short and stout) I returned to the “table of treasures”, as I called it with lots and lots of flowers, some fruit, and vegetables and tried to figure out how I could avoid painting flowers.
Ah, the Bok Choy. One other artist painted it laying on its side, but I thought: “Let the Bok Choy stand tall”. Not sure it came out as tall, but at least it does look like a Bok Choy.
That was the end of the second day and I have to admit I was a little tired. My sweet husband suggested we just go out to dinner. I thought that was a great idea and had a few glasses of champagne with dinner, came home and had a couple glasses of wine. I awoke with a not so happy headache but took some ibuprofen and was off to class. Arriving at class, I realized I was tired and not really “on”. I discovered that day that how you feel makes a difference to your creativity. I did two more small paintings, but walked away, not liking either one of them.
One of the women in the class brought in a vase of amazing Camillias, so I thought: ” Humm, they are big, maybe I can paint one.”
Stanley liked it, but it does not “sing” to me. I might try more flowers just to see if I can do it more successfully. The last painting of class should be your best effort, but I find I am usually more tired at the end of the class, so don’t think it is my best.
I realized as I finished this, that the flower was way to close to the upper left corner. The nice thing about working on panels is that you can cut them. So I cropped it in Photoshop and will have my husband cut it down.
So I will have him chop off the bottom, and I will repaint the bottom and then I think I may actually like it.
It was a very wonderful workshop and I feel lucky I was able to take it with old friends and now some new ones.