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How Sweet It Is!

August 6, 2012

I’d have to say, that one of my favourite things to do is to show someone  that their body is in fact, filled with creative bones.  Give me a person, anyone, and I can draw a painting from those bones.  This painting may not be refined, balanced and compositionally up to snuff but it always shows promise 🙂  Take yesterday for instance.  I had the great pleasure of showing 12 ladies and 1 child that they too could paint.  There were actually 14 ‘painters’ in my studio but one has painted many times in the past so she doesn’t actually count.  What I mean is she counts but can’t be included in the discussion because of her past experience.

I have done a project like this once before.  The way it works is that I fill my studio with potential painters that are looking to paint pictures that are upon completion, auctioned off for charity.  Yesterday, four 20″ x 30″ canvases were donated and I supplied the acrylic paints and brushes….I was able to use up a lot of old paint in the process which was a  bonus.  I had primed the canvases the night before.  I decided that the best way to get people in painting groups was to paint the ground on each canvas in different colours, for I knew that people would naturally gravitate to certain colours….IT WORKED!!  (Note to self:  next time you need to form groups use colour to facilitate the process 🙂

All the painters happened to be female….all arrived by 9:30 am and we began having fun straight away.  My first miracle was that groups were formed by my new favourite colour method and except for one group, the members were very compatible.  I should mention here that the colours I used to paint the ground were very diluted rose red, cobalt blue, cad orange and transparent earth orange.  No question but that people know their favourite colours.

We were painting flowers.  For the most part flowers are a great place to begin your painting career.  It is not that flowers are easy to paint, for to paint them well takes a lot of skill, but they are forgiving and allow for the elimination of the ‘painting within the lines’ syndrome that most people picked up from their school years.

I did a short demonstration about the process of painting with acrylics all the while yapping and yapping about primary colours, complimentary colours, value, composition, the use of water as a medium, brush technique….meanwhile trying to convince them of the fun they were about to have.  Remember, only one of these ladies had painted before…and she happens to be pretty, darn, good.  They chose the flower type that they were going to paint.  I had flowers from my garden and photos for them to work from.  An interesting note:  most people chose the photos….for some reason it takes people a while to trust nature 😦   The next thing I did was show them how, in the ground, lay images….almost outlines of what it is they are about to paint!  I learned this technique from handmade watercolour paper which reveals that tiny bit of magic quite readily.  I gave them each a wateracolour crayon and to my shear joy, watched as they ‘found’ their flowers.

The deal is that the newbies paint the painting to a certain point then I kind of tie it together for the auction.  This takes a lot of pressure off of them….people tend to concentrate on the fun when they don’t have to take the consequence.  What they don’t know is that I try to develop a little depth in the painting but don’t do much else.  I really have a hard time entering the creative space of someone else …especially a beginner… is their discovery that counts.

The difficult part in the process is that three or four different people are painting on the same painting.  Think about it….three different visions, three different styles,  three different beings.  It makes me smile and adds to the challenge.  It is soooo very sweet watching people find their painting voices!

I am attaching the finished pieces.  You must admit, for first time painters, they are incredible!!

Sorry about how these are inserted.  I guess I should count myself lucky that I even figured out how to insert them…..I am trying to get use to using my iMac and not my PC….ho hum….

Just remember ….these are first timers!!!


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