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Documenting a period in my development that could become pivotal

Friday, October 22, 2010

Workshop at Fall Creek Fish Hatchery and Research Center

This will be the fourth year that I have taught watercolor at Fall Creek Fish Hatchery and Research Center. It is free but pre regestration is necessary. It is the first Saturday, November 6. To secure a place call Joseph O'neil at 1-541-487-5512. Below is a student's work from last year.

In the afternoon it was dark and rainy outdoors. I tried to find an activity that did not involve going outside to paint.

Here is one result " Fort Hood" rendered by a gentleman who took up my idea of expressing your emotions and the perception of all your senses. Looking through my collection of photographs he selected one as a starting point. It was a sunset over water with grass in the foreground. For his "Fort Hood Flag at Half Mast" he preferred to paint on pure white paper slightly sullied by the folded grid for a book. The paper had been folded into 16 square pages but not cut. I don't know if the gentleman was aware of the symbolic significance of his heart felt memorial painting. I see this as an expressive work.
As a teacher I don't feel I had much success in convincing my students that they really have so much art inside them.
For the most part I had some very appreciative students learning some basic possibilities for carrying watercolors outdoors. I heard some wonderful questions on techniques. In hind sight I have additional things I want to share at the Fall Creek Fish and Art Festival, 2010.

I received this question. What specifically can I do to improve my style in watercolor?

This was a great question and the class was almost over. I had spent so much time talking about how to be prepared for sun, and rain and hunger and thirst. I showed how to manage drying your work without a hairdryer. I fear especially for the beginning students, there is a need to know much more about getting the paint from the palette to the paper. What different possibilities does a round pointed brush have in contrast to a flat one? Where do you begin first with the forms or the spaces around?
The beginning point doesn't matter. Then proceed on the path of least resistance making what you do as simple as possible. To improve your sense of color and how you form and place your images there is nothing better than trial. Select what you like best. Keep painting and drawing into your paintings. I really like to tint the paper before I paint and then just a few lines on location makes for painting that tends to be tied together.
I wish all my students more exciting, memorable painting experiences.


Kay Dennison said...

I love your Ft. Hood picture! And I loved your commentary on artistic endeavors because I've been considering taking a watercolor class?

Parapluie said...

Yes, I would be proud to have painted "Ft. Hood". I am proud of recognizing how well it expresses the white sheet shroud as a book signature. The symbolism is complete saying so much with so little. One symbol is the book of life. A book signature paper is folded into a grid of sixteen rectangles and cut into pages of a book that can symbolize a full book of life. When the soldiers were killed their book of life sheet was unfolded and became a symbolic shroud in the painting "Ft. Hood".
At some level of the student's consciousness, he organized the painting extreemly well. Every part of it is important. There is the setting of the sun filled sky behind the waters of life. The upright flag pole with a flag fallen and limp and the stars gone and the stripes indistinguishable. It gives me goose bumps.

Parapluie said...

There is more to the painting "Fort Hood". The grass is brown and floats on the white picture surface without roots. Grass roots are so tiny but have many, branching parts. How could the many contacts within the Army missed the warnings. This absence of needed watchful support is the root of the tragedy. Or is the brown grass the soldiers killed by Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan?