This summer I took quite a few Art Workshops with different painters. From some, I discovered new ways of seeing art. From others, I had a good review of the basics of art, something all artists should think about from time to time. As would be expected, I enjoyed a couple of my classes better than others.
I am not a floral artist, but I took a studio with Stanley Bielen where we painted small florals, vegies or anything we selected from a table full of fun objects. My first was a copy of the demo he did for the class.
Being happy with that, I found a small white teapot and put together a rather whimsical painting with the teapot. All of these pieces are 6″ x 8″ or 8″ x 10″, a size I had not done much work in before, so small was a little challenging to me.
The class lasted three days and each day I discovered something new or different. Stanley is a funny and intelligent instructor that kept the class laughing with stories and kept our interest by sharing facts and information about other current artists that he has met. The class had students from all over the United States and Canada. It was fun being in a class with such dedicated artists.
Going searching the table for the next object or objects to paint I spotted this beautiful turnip and loved the contrast of the bright orange peppers next to it. Purple and orange are two of my favorite colors, so this was fun to paint and I was pleased with the composition.
Day three and a lot of the flowers on the table were starting to look a little limp, and having had such fun painting the turnip, I decided to do another vegetable – a Bok Choy.
I loved the floppy character of the Bok Choy and felt I “captured” the essence in this little painting. By the last day in the afternoon, I was getting tired. I was enjoying the class, but my energy level was down a bit. I often think I am better in a two-day class. The last painting of the class was my worst of the series.
I started too high on the canvas so I was not happy with the composition and composition, even of small paintings make or break the work. I think I finally just cut off the bottom and repainted shortening the stems.
Being inspired by painting small, I took the concept to a slightly larger canvas and painted plants with pots from our local nursery. I am pleased with the result and hope to do a few more of these in the future.
Stanely Bielen’s class at The Winslow Art Center was informative, fun and made me look at smaller objects in a new way. This was not the first of my Summer Classes, but one I truly tried something I had not attempted before and was quite happy with the result.
One other lesson from taking many classes in too short a period of time is that every successful artist believes their paint color choices, canvas finish, and style is the best way to paint. What you should take away is that there is no one style of painting and that you can incorporate, some but not all that you gather from each professional. Take too many classes and it becomes confusing. Take classes from too few instructors and will realize that your paintings start to look like theirs.
I took art class once a week from the same instructor for twelve years. One day after they opened a small local gallery and I was taking a hiatus from painting I walked by the gallery and my youngest son (in his thirties) said to me: Why do all the paintings shown here look the same, even though there were four or five artists represented?” It was at that moment I decided to take classes from a variety of different professional artists.