Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Year of Learning

Some people like to pick a word or phrase at the beginning of the year as something to focus on throughout the year.  I don't usually do that.  But the phrase "the year of learning" keeps coming to mind when I think of my year this year.

The reason this comes to mind is because I have signed up for quite a few workshops this year.  If you have read my blog for a while, you will know that I like to take workshops and classes (mostly about art). This year I am taking some that are farther away and that seems more like a big deal because I don't usually do that.

So far locally, I have already taken a book making workshop with Lisa Cheney.  I have also been taking oil painting classes with Rachel Teannalach.  I have never worked with oil paints before.  In college we used acrylics. Rachel does plein air painting and I like the idea of being able to capture more color while outside as opposed to just sketching (and occasionally using watercolors).  The oils don't dry as quickly as acrylics which can be an advantage and a disadvantage.  An advantage because they don't dry out as you are painting in this dry desert climate.  A disadvantage because then you have a wet painting to deal with when you are done.

It has been a little frustrating for me working with the oils because I have to work with them in a different manner. It's a different way of thinking about painting.  Of course, I also discovered this when I started print making.  The other issue is mixing the paint is different than mixing dyes.  The same color theories apply it's just that the two media are totally different. When I started mixing dyes, I learned that as well.  Just like learning most new things, I need a lot of practice.

I haven't decided yet if I will make oil painting a regular part of my repertoire or not.  Anyway, it's been interesting to learn.

The classes were in Rachel's studio.

Here Rachel is demonstrating for us how to use a fan brush. 

She invited her students to go out one day and do some plein air painting at sunrise.  I did get up early on a Sunday and went.

Here are Carrie, Rachel and Lorna.

I don't have the proper plein air painting equipment.  Here's my stuff on the ground.  I was painting on paper and that bright orange/red on the paper is the primer color I chose.  It gets painted over. Because it was frosty and I had my palette on the ground, my paint actually started to freeze up some.

 This is a better set up of Lorna's and a better painting.

Most of my paintings are too embarrassing to post, but these are o.k. even if they look nothing like what I was looking at (our foothills).  I didn't get the top one finished on site and so the sky was still the primer orange.  But I kind of liked it.  So when I got home, I just painted over it with a slightly different orange to tone it down a bit. The bottom one looks like I should have been in Ireland instead of Idaho.

The learning continues, as this week I am in Portland taking five workshops at the Art & Soul Retreat with Jane Davies.

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