Monday, January 28, 2019

Using my Wolf Kahn lesson as inspiration for painting with adults

In my book club, a different person picks a book each month and hosts the group for food, beverages, and discussion.  When we read The Art Forger this past month (which I told you about in my previous blog post, HERE), the host thought the book didn't have a lot of 'meat' for discussion.  Her artist daughter suggested she host the book club as a paint-and-sip.  I'm the only artist in our group of 10 women, so she contacted me, wondering if I thought we could 'forge' the Degas painting that was central to the book.  I said no.
I've never presented at a paint-and-sip, but I've attended one, grudgingly, and I really despised the concept of a group of people all painting matching schlocky paintings.  And I looked closely at Degas paintings, and his layers of subtle color glazes, and I knew that these non-artist ladies would never feel successful trying to imitate his colors, or trying to draw a nude, or a ballerina, or a horse.
So I suggested another approach, and the host agreed, purchased paints and canvases with my guidance, and provided paper plates, rags, and a place to paint.  I provided easels, paintbrushes, and my presumed expertise.  And of course there was wine.
I showed the ladies the paintings of Wolf Kahn, that I had recently used for inspiration for a lesson with my DragonWing Arts students that I posted about HERE.  I explained that we would be loosely using his paintings for our inspiration, to create (or 'forge') our own 'missing masterpieces'.
I explained that they'd begin with big brushes, creating layers of colors for sky, background, middle ground, and foreground.  Each layer would be created by brushing together two or more colors, plus white if desired.  We quickly reviewed the color wheel and I recommended mixing analogous colors but not complementary colors, unless they wanted to create browns and grays.  The color choices were totally up to them.  I explained my Wipe Wash Wipe method for keeping their brushes clean, and they went right to work. 
Their color choices and brush strokes were sometimes bold, sometimes gentle; some color mixes and textures were intentional, and others were a complete surprise.
We took a break for some dessert, and let the paint dry a bit, and then returned to paint some trees as desired.  I gave the choice of painting trees with brushes, or using strips of corrugated cardboard with paint on the edges to stamp textured trees, and demonstrated both. We talked about size of the trees to create perspective - smaller for further away, larger for close, and then I totally left it up to them.  And they each approached their trees in a totally unique way.  Nobody tried to copy!!!
Some chose to be very symmetrical, others were not.  Again, the decision was their own.  Do trees grow in rocks on the beach?  Not usually, but why not, for the purpose of the painting below?
The painting below was a view of a local golf course.  The trees are not there, but were added in and I think really make the painting pop!
The ladies were so incredibly successful!  And not only that, they also had a fabulous time, are proud of their paintings (which are each unique), and want to paint again!  Success!

*Just realized, I'm missing photos of a couple of finished paintings.   Oops...  It was not intentional.  :(

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