I love my class! Such a great bunch, and they make it easy for me to teach, what with their positive energy and willingness to listen to what I have to say. You'd be surprised how often people pay to go to a class or a workshop, and not want to hear what the instructor is saying! Not my group. They are enthusiastic as well as diligent. Lucky me.
I've been having some very satisfactory results with my demos. I'm seeing that it is a lot more effective for me to jump in midway after everyone's been working for an hour or two, and either work on a student's painting – if he or she is happy to let me – or start a new canvas on a student's easel. More effective than my preparing a demo on a specific issue and trying to deliver it at the beginning of the class. I think the reason is that after an hour or two of painting, everyone's chops are greased and they're in painting mode. I can plainly see what issues need to be addressed, and if people are having trouble, they're ready to see the solution(s). And those who'd rather keep on working on their own painting can do so, and just listen to my rambling without stopping their work to watch me.
Today, the lighting was such that students on one side of the room had more or less a backlit view. So I did my demo on handling backlit situations, which can be tricky. I borrowed Debbie's set up and did a small painting to show how to deal with backlighting, picking a focal point in the what little lit area we had, and orchestrating colors and values around it to make it happen. Immediately following that, I offered an alternate solution, picking a different focal point in the shadow side, and restructuring the image (values, colors, edges, amount of detail, but not the drawing) to end up with a painting with an entirely different mood, but identical visual elements.
I didn't think about failing at my demo this time, because I wasn't working on anyone else's canvas but my own, and if I ruined it, it didn't matter. It was a fun demo from my perspective. It went over very well with the students too. "It's like magic, but when you explain it, it makes so much sense!" said one student. That made me happy~
The image I'm attaching is this week's homework; self portrait (again), this time using a cool dark color, a warm dark color, and white. Up to now we focused on values only. Now we have relative temperatures in the mix. The idea is to mix the two colors (plus white) to achieve temperature shifts, and get into thinking about color in relative terms.
I used Ultramarine, Transparent Oxide Red, and White. Isn't it amazing with just these colors you can get pretty convincing skin tones? It's like all the other colors on the palette are bonuses and extra spices, or something. OK not true, but it's still fascinating to me how much you can get across with so little.