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  • Writer's pictureHilda Van Netten

Wednesday Evening Class - Update

Half of Wednesday Evening's class is new. Sometimes, I don't even need to open my mouth for my teaching to happen: the long-time artists proclaim the values of our class to newcomers. Like yesterday evening, when they let the newbies know that everyone around the table is encouraged to develop their own unique style of making art.

So, what's happening around the table?

Three artists worked on right-brain drawing activities to improve their observation skills. I've used this worksheet for years. When artists have worked through a few simpler exercises to get their brains really seeing, this is the lesson that pushes them completely over to seeing so well that they can draw well.

This artist thought she could get away with drawing laces like she did in grade 6. Oh my! Look how wonderful her laces looked when she was gently pushed to really seeing them as unique shapes. Don't think of them as laces, think of them as shapes.

There is something very therapeutic and spirit-calming when artists engage with a complicated image. The spacial part of the brain is so engaged that the chattering part shuts down. Not that this artist is a chatterer! Far from it! I have a feeling she may want to frame this image of coffee beans spilling out of a mug when it is finished.

I chose to show this colourful image in black & white to share the importance of getting the tones right in a painting. Even though the paper is less than half covered, it already is a wonderful painting. The dark tones draw the viewer's eye around the painting. This artist is working towards using her own photos as reference and painting them in this style.

Some people who have an innate ability to understand how to work with watercolours. This artist is in that select club. To begin, she traced around the spoon (taking a short-cut - learning painting skills), refined the sketch, and then painted it - spoon on right. Next she did the same first three steps, but added darker tones and a shadow - centre spoon. For her final image on the left, she used the spoon as reference and drew it freehand (see the curved handle?- so tough to draw).

Notice the highlights on that centre spoon? She had to keep her paper dry and paint around them.

Our final artist had packed up for the day when I got my camera out. She is working on the most difficult project of all: a double portrait showing four hands. She has the tenacity to figure it out.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else

is the greatest accomplishment.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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