Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mountain Color Exercise

Oil on Canvas Board
8 x 10

Today I had another art lesson with my teacher. I asked if she could do a demo, and she did! I was so happy. That was what I wanted.

I discovered that my teacher paints intuitively, and she does not think out loud, so she is very quiet. I had to ask lots of questions. She started mixing colors, and I said, "Are you mixing colors for the mountains or the trees?" She said, "I don't know, I am just mixing some colors that I think might be good". She spent a lot of time mixing the colors. I think she enjoyed mixing the colors more than painting the picture. For me, that was a lesson right there, because I want to just mix the colors as fast as I can, and then start painting. But for her, it seemed to be mostly about all the pretty colors she was making, which is what a painting really is, isn’t it?

She wound up mixing some muted puddles of lavender, teal and olive greens. There were a few values of each, plus some random dry grass colors. Every color she mixed was muted. Her canvas was already toned and pre-sketched. She put down a lot of the lavender in the mountains, but also in the dry grass areas. Then she went back over the mountains with some of the other greens and blues. She kept her values together. For example, if she put a teal and a green on top of lavender, she made sure they were all the same values. On her pallet, all the colors looked muted and yucky, but on the canvas, they really played off of each other. They looked rich and sparkling.

When the demo was done, class was over. But I had brought food for the whole day, and my equipment. So she and the other student left, and I found a place to paint in the shade. It was so peaceful, with a breeze blowing, birds singing, and no one around. I was so happy to be alone and not stressed out from all my running around at work. I mixed up some colors that reminded me of the colors my teacher used. I had no idea what I was going to do with them. I sketched in the mountain and put on the dark, muted lavender. It didn't look right. I put some more on anyway, and decided not to worry, but just to take my time.

Anyway, my cell phone rang, and it was my boss. I had made a mistake on a document last week and they needed a new one Fed Exed out today. Drat! My nice peaceful day burst like a bubble. I almost scraped up my paint right away. Then I thought, "Well, I can still paint for one hour and still have time to get the document out. So I hurried it up. I started mixing faster, and put it on more boldly. It started to look good! I just kept at it, and didn't worry, I was just concentrating on finishing. I left out the big sycamore I was going to put in, and just focused on the mountain. I smeared in some dry grass, and it was done. It's not the greatest painting, but I accomplished what I wanted, which was to understand how my teacher does it.