Below are the two paintings that I worked on for the last 2 weeks of class at Studio Escalier. I needed a little distance before I posted them. As I was working I became so frustrated and even sad. I felt that I had wasted my time, hadn’t learned anything, the painting was terrible. I had a day where I simply stopped painted and curled up into a ball in the studio.
Looking at the unfinished images below I am now very happy with my progress. I have learned a great deal in a VERY short period of time and feel accomplished. There is much work to do as I continue to develop my abilities, but I can certainly see that it is worth the effort.
I began painting this summer with zero experience in blending colors or how to use the paints properly. In addition to playing catch up with these skills, I was learning an extraordinary way to look at and appreciate light and the body. I think a little time to marinate these things together will be good. In October I will begin a portrait and still life class with Watts Atelier. The adventure continues!
I returned from break excited to jump into a two week painting and drawing. While I am improving in my work, I am also improving my ability to see what’s wrong with my work. This can be a frustrating balance as “good enough” really doesn’t make me happy.
In drawing, I am beginning to discover my specific weaknesses. Namely – I tend to stretch the torso and enlarge the feet. Recognizing this, I made an effort to restrain the legs in the above drawing. My initial choice wasn’t enough, I continued to hack off the knees as the days went on.
Towards the end of the second week, I was excited to find myself really becoming absorbed by the painting process. I felt like I really turned a corner in my ability to trust myself and see what colors I needed to use. I thought perhaps it was the Euan Uglow book I’d been pouring over one day at break. I find his work very inspirational and adore his resting place somewhere beyond a poster study. I could look at his work for hours.
You can see the same “long limbed” issues in the below painting. If it had been a longer pose or a final piece I would have taken the time to fix them, but my goal was really to focus on color, shadows and light.
One of the benefits I was hoping to gain from this program is the ability to sit with a drawing and really commit to accurate, realistic work. I confess I’ve been a lazy artist and have truly wanted to pull myself out of that rut. My time at Studio Escalier has done just that.
In the past, drawing a rose would have been a quick exercise in not paying attention to much of anything. This past week I found myself engrossed in the myriad of details. What I know now is that there is never “too much” detail. I don’t need to be afraid of the depth of the drawing. The trick is to find a place, commit and stay organized. I hope to complete many more such exercises in patience and exquisite detail.
There are three weeks remaining. Today we begin a three week pose for drawing and painting. Our AM sessions are normally drawing, but we will have the option to turn our drawing into a painting in the next week. So I’m hoping to complete two more paintings before I leave. We will see! I am staying committed to the learning experience, not creating precious finished works.