Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Back to Basics

Following my recent painting course at Malham Tarn FSC I realised that I needed more regular painting classes, to get 'back to basics' in the words of recent article by Robert Genn, looking at drawing, composition, colour control and other technical skills. In particular I want to become more proficient in using acrylic paints.
Most evening classes cater mainly for beginners ( which I'm not) but luckily there was a space on one of the workshop evenings run at Kew Studio, an artists co-operative. I'm getting to grips with still life for the first time since painting masses of them in oils for A Level art ( many years ago). It's proving an enjoyable challenge! Started off with doing several drawings in pencil and in my case watercolour to get a feel for composition
I then moved onto colour studies, using acrylic like oil paint on canvas papers. This was fun! I liked the vigorous nature of the brush strokes and the swoops of colour. I already found some of the limitations in my Liquitex acrylic paints - that some are transparent rather than opaque. This doesn't matter when using them like watercolours but it does when using them like oils! I'll need to construct some colour charts with my paints to get a feel for their properties.

I've been taking photos at different stages to identify what needs more attention and also to capture areas I'm pleased with. The trouble with having to work all over the picture is that you sometimes have to paint over areas that you like and of course they're never as good again. For instance I liked the folds in the fabric in the early stages above but lost the plot afterwards!
The tuition has been just what I want - mainly leaving me to get on but with helpful suggestions ( eg removing the sugar bowl from the painting) and when to leave alone ( I'm a terrible fiddler). We've had some interesting discussions about art and exhibitions eg Peter Doig at the Tate earlier in the year.

For the first attempt at still life in years I'm reasonably pleased ( especially with the fruit in both paintings even if the pear was switched for a lemon this week - can you tell?!) More attention is definately needed in drawing ( teapot handles in particular) and in painting folds in fabric. You'd think as a textile artist I should know better! Next week we're concentrating (at my request) on a restricted palette.


Julie said...

Your watercolour sketch is lovely and fresh and the acrylic sketches are really lively. I like the idea of working straight into watercolour without pencil.

Helen Suzanne said...

oo very impressive.

Mai-Britt said...

Oh, I agree with Julie, can't wait for the next post. I have only used watercolour and acrylic as watercolour, oil scares me.