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  • Writer's pictureHilda Van Netten

Full Circle

Early 2024 art classes are coming to an end around here. It is almost gardening time. I've warned my artists that this may be the last year of teaching for me. I feel old lately.


It has been extremely satisfying for me to witness my artists learn to make beautiful art in their own style. They come up with what they want to paint and how they want to paint it. I just help them achieve those goals.


The artist below purchased a couple of sets of Artistro watercolour paints. They are reasonably priced and are a great starter set of paints. She even has a set of metallic paints from Artistro. Great for painting the iridescent colours of hummingbirds.





Today, I am combining the art from both classes. The artist below is by far the most adventurous of my students. She is always trying something new: new surface, new medium, new subject, new style. This week she was exploring how to paint the velvety colour of an iris.





Notice the nice shadows of the stamens on the three bottom flowers? It makes them stand out. Nice job.





Speaking of teaching artists to paint in their own style: I am in awe of anyone who can do what the artist below does. As reference, she used a painting in The Art of Watercolour magazine. Soon, she will apply the techniques she's learned to paintings done from her own photos. At least, that's what I say.


This is going to look beautiful framed.





Saving reference photos in Pinterest is a hobby for the artist below. Her paintings are getting more dramatic with each passing year. And, despite having vision limitations, she manages to mix colours wonderfully. I love the multi-coloured feathers in the middle of her painting.





Inspiration and subject matter can come from anywhere. The artist below loves drawing Amish children and loves drawing her own grandchildren. She found this reference photo online and just had to figure out how to paint the braided pony tail. My favourite part of this painting is the textured fabric of the little girl's dress. This artist used a mid-toned paper and used lighter and darker pencils to go away from the paper tonally.





One of our newer artists has a loose painting style which many people envy. She is doing a great job. You many wonder what those interesting rust coloured spots and lines are all about? Well.... she had an assistant helping her paint yesterday.





It seems that this ladybug wanted to leave her mark, so our artist went with the flow and let it do its' thing. Who knows where this will lead? A snail? A turtle? A kitten? Assistants can come from anywhere.





I have learned so much from my students over the years. One of our newer artists loves buying art supplies. She came across a Canadian paint maker, Beam Paints. Here's more about Beam Paints, from their site: Beam Paints is the result of a multi-generational love of pigment, paint, colour, and innovation. I was raised by my artist parents, Carl Beam and Ann Beam, and was taught from a young age how to harvest hematite pigment in the LaCloche mountain range near our home in M'Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island. Beam Paints draws on my early educations in Indigenous pigment and expands it to encompass all paint traditions. A focus on high quality pigment content creates sublime artist materials, with plastic free packaging.


We were all very impressed with the depth of colour and the beauty of their individual colours and the fun packaging from this company. They seem to be great paints.


And... this is her second watercolour painting. Well done!





It was gratifying to witness this artist figure out how to paint the shadows around the black tree just above her hand on the painting below. She's getting it!!!! She will be able to apply that technique for the rest of her life! Learning is like that.


This is going to be a stunning painting when it is finished.





The artist below has been working in a Robert Bateman sketch book for a few years now. She has a treasure trove of great graphite pencil drawings in it now. Her confidence has soared in recent years and she is quick to encourage others around the table to keep trying.





And, here's the last of our artists (one left early - sorry Linda). A phantom chicken. The phantom chicken painter has a style that I would recognize anywhere. Whimsical.




I am confident that all of my artists will be able to continue to improve on their own. Their styles are unique and they have the mental tools to figure things out. I know that, because I have seen it.


I feel like life has come full circle today.


22 years ago when we sold our farm and I finally had time to try watercolours. I remember buying an art magazine and wondering how the paintings there were painted? It seemed impossible to me. It didn't take too long to figure it out. For the past 10+ I've had the privilege of helping local artists make their own beautiful art.


And, in this morning's mail my art was in the watercolour magazine.





Full Circle.


To my artists - this is what I see in you. The light is coming from you. Keep on painting.



It's so dark right now,

I can't see any light around me.


That's because the light is coming from you.

You can't see it but everyone else can.”


Lang Leav

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