Sunday, October 10, 2010
Last Thursday I did a little demo in front of a room full of people. Basically, I painted a landscape from memory, from thumbnail to finish in two hours - which is about how long I usually take if I were sketching en plein air. The actual painting time was probably a lot shorter because I was talking the whole time, explaining what I was doing and why.
I have enough experience now painting in front of people that I don't get nervous but I think I still went too fast. I paint too fast and talk too fast. But then if I slow down, I can't get the painting to a stage where it looks decent. (my paintings look pretty much a mess until the last 10%).
I think doing live demos and talking at the same time, is a very difficult thing. Some artists do it really well, while others hardly talk during their demos. An experienced painter can get a lot out of another's demo without any verbal explanation, but for everyone else, I feel like I need to give a running commentary, if only to make me feel like I'm doing my job. I'm not a multi-tasker so (walking and chewing gum at the same time is the extent of my multi-tasking). painting and talking is quite a challenge for me. I've gotten better over the years, but still I can feel my gears rapidly switching from painting to explaining and back again, obviously using different parts of my brain, and not running concurrently. It's a weird feeling.
To be sure, I have learned to enjoy it. I've always had a tremendous fear of speaking in public, but if it's a painting demo, I don't seem to have a problem. Probably because the assumed relationship is that the people are there because they want to hear and see what I have to offer, and that they see some value in the information. At least, I have to convince myself that is the case, or I'll get way too nervous to function properly. Not fun.
Here's the painting I did in front of 35 people. This was, as I said, painted from memory. I had set up a small camera and projected the palette onto the wall so everyone can see what I was doing on the palette as well as on the canvas. I didn't have high-end equipment so the colors on the projection were off, but at least they could see which colors went into each mixture. I always like seeing stuff like that when watching other people paint, so I thought it might be fun to do it here, too.
The demo panel is 11 x 14, oil on linen (claessens #66) mounted on 1/4 inch MDF board.
Posted by Terry Miura at 7:31 PM