Sunday, February 12, 2012

In recovery and preparing for the next session

Turns out that I didn't have to do any painting during the first class. The teacher dazzled us with his own works of art at the beginning of the class, went over the lengthy list of supplies we needed to gather together, and then stunned us all into fearful, respectful, hopeful, and awful silence as he demonstrated how to paint a flower. 

He started the painting demonstration by painting a sky and added a purple streak. As he painted, he explained to us how important it is that we move fast while we paint; watercolor is unforgiving. Once it dries, it's there to stay. Acrylic and oil paints can be used one on top of the other and the layer underneath will disappear. Not so with watercolors. Work fast. Keep the paint wet. He explained that when the paint is allowed to dry and then additional layers are added, the outcome is usually "a disaster." I was quick to point out that his disasters would be considered masterpieces to us.

"Other than that, it's fairly simple," he said. "First sketch out the flower you intend to paint. Then pick your yellow... add bits of orange... add green to the same puddle of paint so that it all works together... if you want to make purple, don't use cobalt red, use alizarin crimson instead because... you can fill in the details later."

Flat brushes, round brushes, wash brushes, water buckets, paint palettes, paint tubes, a mixing tray, a kneaded eraser, Arches watercolor paper blocks, and clothes that we can get messy in - all this and more will be needed each week.

I watched, took notes and photos, and then drove home trying not to fall into despair. No one told me I would have to be able to sketch in order to paint. It makes sense, of course, but I didn't think about details like that when I signed up for the class. I reminded myself that he's been doing this since before I was born. The next day, I bought all the supplies, squeezed the paint into my palette, and had fun playing with them. No flowers emerged. A sky did. As did a few footprints on a beach.

There is much to learn, much to create, much to enjoy. Fun, I trust, will be had by all.

One class session down. Nine to go. I look forward to tomorrow night's gathering of artists.

The only class I know I will miss is the first Monday in March.
I'll be on my way back from a five day trip to Haiti...

No comments: