Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Class, Homework, Beer
Today was my second class. Last week I gave out homework, which was to do a self portrait with one dark color + white. The student could use any color, as long as it was dark. Basically, it's a monochromatic painting exercise and the purpose is to focus only on value. You can't rely on hue, saturation, nor temperature to make your statement, so you have to be really sensitive to value shifts. The parameters included a single, direct light source (as opposed to multiple or diffused light).
Everyone did great! I don't think anyone liked doing it – self portraits are often really difficult because we see too much of what we don't want to see in ourselves – not to mention technical challenges of painting a head that you think you know so well. But everyone was a trooper and gave real, honest effort, and I think it was really instructional.
Of course I too, had to do the homework, if only to be accountable. So the above painting is a portrait of yours truly. I used Transparent Oxide Red for my dark color. I usually have more... tired looking lower eye lids, because I usually am more tired– but I got a really good night's sleep before this portrait and I was in rare form.
The painting, however, is just average. I like to see a more stroke-y treatment, but I fussed too much and it got overworked. In order to make the "overwork" look intentional, I made it much smoother than it needed to be. Still, the values are there and that's something.
Anyway, in today's class I did a little demo/lecture on form shadow and cast shadow edges. Or so I intended. But again, I ended up trying to cram too much information in too little a time! It's so hard for me to just talk about one idea because in painting, every technical concept is related to every other. You can't talk about shadow edges and not go into exceptions to the rule, which leads to some other discussion on light effects on form or color! So I kept rambling on about this tangent or another, talking about diffraction and Sargent's five qualities of light, and high-key and low-key painting and relative value scale and so on and so forth. And really, all I wanted to talk about today was shadow edges. I feel bad taking up people's painting time - after all, we only have three hours–but I also want to give people their money's worth.
I think I just need to be more efficient in my delivery. Maybe prepare a slide lecture instead of actual demos. At least for stuff like shadow edges, I can make the point without actually painting a sphere, which takes extra minutes. Then again, how long would it take me to prepare slides for a lecture? Hours, for sure.
I think as weeks go by, things will settle to more of a routine and I can talk about specific issues as they come up. Wasn't this how it went the first time I started teaching at my old studio? I guess it was. I'm just doing it all over again.
I'll tell you one thing that doesn't need improvement. And that's the taste of cold beer after three hours of hard work. Especially when you're with a bunch of good friends!
Posted by Terry at 10:04 PM