Diane Mannion, INK POT DEMO, 6x6" oil on gessoboard
A thunderstorm was forecast during our Ringling Englewood class, so instead of painting landscapes outside, we painted flowers inside. Filled small bottles with clippings from my garden and had each student work from their own arrangement. Classroom lighting is not exciting, but still excellent painting practice.
I took a poll of favorite things to paint: Landscapes? Most hands up. Portraits? Several hands. Still lifes? My hand was the only one up. Then I asked, Flowers? All hands up!
Interesting that flowers were not thought of as still lifes. Flowers can also be painted as part of the landscape, or part of a portrait. Maybe flowers are simply thought of as florals, instead of still lifes.
Asked students to do thumbnail sketches before tackling their canvas or paper. Thumbnails are the place to figure out composition and think about the subject. Make design mistakes in a tiny sketch instead of the final project. This is the place to visualize how the subject will fill the space. It's important to draw a rectangle about the same proportion of the final canvas or paper.
Even after all my thumbnail advice, a lot of students ended up with a tiny jar of flowers floating in the middle of a huge empty space. So next class... I'll bring my bootcamp whistle to warn them of the dangers of not considering the background space as PART OF THE PAINTING! Visualize this first in the thumbnail sketch!
Next week... after lecturing (nagging?) again about the importance of thumbnails, we'll start painting by toning the canvas and then wiping out with Color Shapers and paper towels. That is... after everyone has worked out design and composition in THUMBNAILS!