The Oregon Fish Hatchery Research Center Arts and Crafts workshop at Fall Creek was today. In both the morning and afternoon class there were a number of children with their families. It was nice to see the liveleness of young people's work. It helps us adults too. This piece was done by a nine year old boy.
This workshop is the first time a student copied a small digital image looking at his camera - a picture fresh in his mind just taken on his way to the workshop. I was at a loss to help him because he was almost done before I noticed he was using a camera. My handy empty slide holder would have been too large to apply to his tiny screen. On larger photographs an empty slide holder window moved about the picture often helps to focus on a doable painting. The student's work, I am critical of the method not the student's ability, was a wonderful example of the flaws of low resolution photos. The elements of trees, fog, water were flat within each of their areas.
Using the digital camera as a tool could be more productive. Even copying an image could be a rewarding experience, if he understood that the elements are more individual in color, texture and degree of sharpness than on the camera screen. Interpreting the photo makes it more personal, poetic, and interesting. One way to interpret is to count the number of trees, rocks, clouds. Decide which one or ones you love most. Labor over the ones you love the most. If they are not turning out the way you want, look at the camera image to be refreshed.
Goal number 1 of the workshop is to make a memory of a time you enjoyed painting observing nature with others excited about seeing in new ways. The memory can be framed and hung in your home.
Goal number 2 is to be confident in a technique that will enable more family painting outings in nature. This year I had a group of friends as well as families. Maybe we will get together soon during a costal storm to paint the waves.