I wanted to show you a series of paintings that I did through a class taken in the summer with the fabulous painter Nancy Frost Begin. She challenged us to be willing to simplify our subject and change elements such as color, value, etc. to INVENT rather than just REPORT in our painting. I started with the photograph that inspired this painting I did of echeverria several years ago and I simplified the subject first.
The first question: Was I willing to change the color?
Was I willing to change the shape?
Was I willing to change the scale? To zoom in? or out…
Was I willing to change the value?
Was I willing to change the form?
Was I willing to change the space? i.e. reverse what we think about the background and foreground
What a difference they all are aren’t they? coming from the same point of inspiration. It was a mind blowing and mind expanding exercise that I’m sure I will do again! I loved it!
Nancy Frost Begin, NMWS will be the guest demo artist for the Rio Bravo Watercolorists on November 20, Wednesday at 10:30 at the International Museum of Art, 1211 Montana, El Paso. She will be discussing What Are You Willing to Change?
I’ve been laying low online, but in real life I’ve been working on studies and homework from group lessons with Nancy Frost Begin. She’s from Las Cruces — here’s a bit about her and her varied work. I have gotten so much out of the two classes we’ve had with her.
Here’s homework that I just finished where we had to paint a small painting in our regular style, and then repaint it two ways: once in darks/shades, and the other in palest hues/tints. I took my birthday bouquet as the starting point.
And here they are in black and white through the magic of software.
I found the dark one the most difficult to paint. I knew that yellow would be the lightest dark on the value scale, but I thought I was getting the rest pretty dark, but as you can see above, they are a bunch of lights in the painting.
All in all, it was an excellent exercise all around in the pigment/water ratio, mixing darks, while just having fun! oh yes and my birthday was chill and relaxing…just what I needed!
And we have a great teacher, Laurel Weathersbee, whose enthusiasm and encouragement to “just have fun” and “enjoy the process” sings to me. These are two pieces done quickly, 1/4 sheets, focusing on mingling colors on the paper.
The second one was planned to be rocks but perhaps there are buildings in there? What do you see??
Here’s another painting from the workshop I was fortunate to take last week from Ruidoso artist Patsy Blasdell. Again, this was from a photo I’ve taken in the northeast of El Paso and I’ve been fascinated by the image, and the challenge of it, but never got up the courage to actually try it. At the workshop I decided that I would challenge myself to try those kind of paintings, and I’m happy I did!
This was done in the last day of Patsy Blasdell’s workshop put on by the NMWS Southern Chapter. The apples are made from a variety of oranges, reds and red purples with spots of turquoise in them in fact. Fun fun! Colors are used throughout the piece to give it harmony. This is a half sheet, one of only several I’ve done in that size.
I learned the most this day by watching how she paints, and hearing her thought process as she proceeds. Because the paper is wet thoroughly both front and back, and put on a glossy surface, it stays wet for an hour or two, less when it’s really dry in the room. I was focused on how she blends on the paper and thoughtfully places a stroke, evaluates, it thinks about the patterns of lights and darks she wants, and then places more strokes, mingling the colors on the paper. She works top to bottom with the board and paper almost on a vertical on an easel. I used that position to make the drips along the bottom portion of this half sheet.
There is so much more to say about what I learned in this workshop, but frankly, I have to get painting again today! so more later…thanks for stopping by!
No, my excuse for being away from my blog was NOT that I was “at the beach”….if only that were true! This was from a class exercise this past week done from a photo provided by the teacher. It was fun to do, playing with my favorite colors of blue and orange. In this case those colors in particular were cerulean chromium and quin burnt scarlet and quin burnt orange.
This has been a busy busy month for me with extra pressures coming from all sides: gathering together my figures and setting up an inventory for tax season in my first year of selling art; having some kind of flu that knocked me out for much longer than usual, or I expected, and parenting stuff…oh yes, and painting and framing for two shows.
But I’m back, and on April 19th I’ll be doing a presentation on my 30 in 30 painting challenge experiences for the local Rio Bravo Watercolor group so I’m going to rev up and do a “mini” challenge: 15 days of the 30 in 30 so that I have new work to show. So stay tuned for that.
This was a fun piece done in a class where we wadded up the paper while dry to get texture, even tears, in the surface. We then wet it and worked wet in wet. I like how the wrinkles helped add interest to the mountains. Other elements that work well are the papa, mama, baby bear size and details of the flowers and lost and found edges.
Here’s another piece that I’ve finished and I’m really happy with it! The thorns are made by scratching on the paper surface to add more texture to the negative pained thorns and segment edges of the cactus itself.
So what did I learn from doing this? First that negative painting to preserve lights is not that difficult. Negative painting is when you create an image by painting what is around it I did that on the branch, and also to create a stamen and pistils in the center of the main bloom. I remembered to describe the elements in varying amounts of specificity. In other words, not all of the blooms are equally detailed or in focus which gives the viewer something to imagine and fill in the blanks. I also went ahead and put in the background at the same time as the focal flowers and foliage which helped have some edges soft, some edges sharp (that’s known as lost and found edges). Plus I learned that all this was FUN to do!
These pieces are half sheet size papers created at a class. We used the polyester fiber that is sold at Halloween time to stretch and becomes spider web like for decorating. We pulled it in various ways and pinned it to wet paper and added colors here and there and let it dry. Aren’t they cool?? They can be used as a background, or negative painted on (darkening certain areas to create another design), cutting or tearing for collage. The possibilities are vast and exciting to think about, including using the technique in a conscious way to create a design before putting down paint.
What do you see in the paintings? I see angel wings in the pink. I love the colors of the blue