Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Peruvian Lily

Diane Mannion, Peruvian Lily, 6x6" oil

      Started as a class demo teaching artists how to paint glass, and finished later at home.  Used baby food jars so each artist could set up their own arrangement.  Glass is not easy... told everyone to just focus on the shapes inside the glass, the values, and put stokes down, then leave them.  "Forget you're painting glass."  This was extra difficult because I also gave them a flower.  Flowers are another technique, but thought it would distract them from the glass enough to let accidents happen. 
      It's a wonderful thing when I see some students GET IT!  Somehow, my instructions, however bizarre... get through.  One student struggled for an hour on a jar and it was so so.  Then he did a ten minute jar with a timer and GOT IT!  Timers force focus... rushing to beat the clock eliminates the brush from worrying over unnecessary details.  (I should listen to my own teaching.)
     Painting techniques are theory and formulas, but it takes practice... like learning to play the piano or violin... to GET IT!   Another student said, "I'm just a beginner"... and would not listen to any suggestions, kept a closed mind, so I had to leave it at that.  Sad.  The urge, the obsession to learn about the art and craft of painting has to be there... and has to be there always.  An artist is always evolving, growing, pushing through to new levels.  The learner's mind... an artist is always a student.  (And as I've said before... how boring would it be if we thought we knew it all.)
      I watch other students work though visual problems and come up with imaginative resolutions that are brilliant.  Sometimes quirky, sometimes wonky, but always a wonder!  The joy of teaching!
      

2 comments:

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Beautiful work on this painting. I love the simplicity of the composition and limited color that really draws attention to the flower.

Katherine Thomas said...

I know that Get It phenomenon very well. It's a wonderful moment for both the teacher and the student. I had that happen to me as a student this past weekend during a portrait block-in workshop. The focus was to get the shadows blocked in before adding the details of the face. I really needed this! The instructor did exercises with the timer, telling us how many seconds or minutes we had to get the shadows blocked in for each pose. One time, he said we had 30 seconds, so I rushed like crazy to just hash in those shadows. Then he called time, and said 'I lied, I'm giving you 10 minutes for htis one, but see how you've already got the basic shapes on the paper now?. Anyway, this painting is beautiful. I love the glass and the violet colors. It conveys a sense of clarity and peace very effectively.