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  • Writer's pictureHilda Van Netten

Teaching and Learning

It has been a pleasure to watch our Monday afternoon artists learn new skills. Everyone learns in their own way and often they learn not from me, but from each other. Beautiful.

Our very new-to-watercolour artist is starting to use layered washes to make the buildings look three dimensional. She also experimented with using salt to create the rocks. Not done yet, but will look good when finished.

Once the spacial part of the brain starts to "see" things, your world will never be the same. You will see light and shadows, direction (like the pathway in this picture), shapes (the trees are looking less like dogs and more like trees). And, the beauty is, when that part of your brain sees, it will never un-see. It will take over and you will be able to draw well. Below is the second sketch (in his life) by our newest artist.

Hmmm..... why the corn? Chickens - eggs - corn. Now that the bowl of eggs is mostly complete, the artist wants to tell a story with the painting. She will toss a handful of corn kernels across the painting and mark where they land. Then, she will draw them and mask them with masking fluid. When that dries, she will loosely paint in an earthy background. It will look fantastic.

Where did we get the corn? Not only do our artists learn from each other, they also receive corn from each other.

We learned something today about the anatomy of the hibiscus flower. Those round things with the white rims are the end of its pistil. This painting is coming along nicely as the artist figures out how to make the petals look three dimensional by paying attention to tonal changes and hard edges. And, it looks like she went all out and matched her fingernails to her painting. Well done!

I've noticed that when artists dedicate themselves to their art, painting often, that artwork evolves into a technique and subject that becomes their own signature style. They find subjects, as specific as Mennonite children, and techniques, like black and white ..... no, more specific... black and white with a hint of colour that become their artistic calling cards.

She has learned something about herself: what kind of art excites and satisfies her.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”

Robert Frost

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