Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's All In The Details

As I prepare for my classes in Las Vegas it's become very apparent to me that painting is all in the details.  Not only in just the painting itself but the steps that go before, and after.

I realized this as I considered this week my next painting. I woke up with the one I wanted in my mind and even how I wanted to paint it.

After teaching my friend to paint one of my classes it was time to get ready. I hadn't asked for a sponsorship of the paints I would need, maybe a brush sponsor let alone made the kits that I would need to make for each student. Then to see if I used and mentioned suppliers in my video, do you get money for that as well? I did get the sponsorships but also increasing butterflies as the classes loom closer day by day.

After finding the missing notes for the acrylic class, I realized I took really lousy notes.  Both of the finished cactus paintings had better notes. But I wasn't teaching them. Luckily for once I took photos of the steps so at a glance I could see what I'd done. It's more than I used this color or that, it how I used them too! I must admit, when I am painting, instructions are the last thing on my mind.  That became SO apparent when I taught the oil painting.  I was so busy instructing and painting myself I completely forgot to take the step by step photos. Luckily I did write better notes.  Oh, I have so much to learn.

Painting for me, at least, is an elaborate puzzle. It's about shaping and forming, coloring and finishing. It's not often a logical process and I frequently find that what I did in one area must be altered because of what was done in another. Maybe as you move through a painting you become more confident with your subject and realize the beginning wasn't so great because it was, well, the beginning!

Then to consider teaching this painting you have to forget the missteps and write as if there never were any. I think unconsciously I realized this as I repainted my TWO LILIES. I could say paint this but leave these areas open. Now put this color in and blend it here. And so on.  I can guarantee you it wasn't that way the first time around. There were plenty of missteps, wiping out color and struggling to get the shading right. That said, the second version is not identical to the first either.

I've always marveled at how a class full of people painting the same picture really don't. Each one is different and in some cases you could say they are painting another subject. As a teacher, is that good or bad? If they don't paint exactly what you painted have you failed? I don't know but suspect I'll soon find out.

As for the after. Normally its waiting to varnish and possibly frame your painting. As a teacher I need to put the template, written instructions and any photos together in a bag. Then prepare the canvases with the traced template so they can create the vision I had. Like I said, to be a successful teacher artist, it's all in the details.

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