My third class in ‘Produce Paintings’ and ‘Produce Drawings’ (these being subjects that are part of ‘Certificate III in Visual Arts’) proved to be productive classes for me this week. I listened carefully to what our teachers had to say and applied that instruction to my painting and drawing creative efforts. While oil painting still proves to be a difficult creative skill to manage, I did feel I had made one step forward towards better understanding this particular paint type and its application process. Drawing, as I have indicated in my blogs for class 1 and class 2, provides me with a less frustrating experience. Please click on the links below to view classes one and two blogs.
NB: To view details about Class 1 – please click here
NB: to view details about class 2 – please click HERE
‘PRODUCE PAINTING’ CLASS
Our ‘Produce Painting’ class commenced with our teacher, VIN RYAN, checking in with each of the students individually. For this class, I decided to look at painting lemons based on the drawing I had completed at home in my ‘Produce Drawings’ Visual Diary, using that drawing to help me remember about light and shade, and about warm and cool. I also brought along a real lemon to use as a focus for my painting effort. This week I also brought with me a ‘Produce Paintings’ Visual Diary to assist me in creating notes of reference from each class I undertake. My first task was to set up my colour palette for painting the lemon. Once I had achieved this, I double-checked with my teacher to see what he thought and I was glad I did! Vin showed me how you arrange a colour palette. The colours that have not been mixed with other colours should be at the top (as per my photo below). The colours that have been mixed should be based along the bottom half of the palette. This helps to keep the oil painting artist organised. My top row consisted of the following colours:
- AS Art Spectrum Artists’ Oil Colour ‘Spectrum Yellow’
- Winsor & Newton Oil Colour ‘Zinc White’
- AS Art Spectrum Artists’ Oil Colour ‘Spectrum Blue’
- AS art Spectrum Artists’ Oil Colour ‘Spectrum Red’
My initial palette hadn’t included Spectrum Blue and Spectrum Red. Our teacher, Vin, explained that without the Blue and the Red, I wouldn’t be able to achieve the light and dark, the hues needed to create the lemon colour variations. Vin said without these colours, everything would start to look greenish! Once I was happy with my colour palette, it was time to commence painting. Using the paint brush as a pencil, I commenced applying the paint to the canvas paper, which proved, once again, a major challenge but exciting as well. I could feel that I was making some small progress towards understanding how oil paint applies onto the canvas paper and about the use of different hues of oil paint colour, to help achieve light and shade within the painting itself. My lemons are ok – I prefer the top left hand corner lemon to the other – and the leaf on the top right hand corner, not at all! I had used a small palette knife to spread oil paint on the leaf and ruined it, for sure. Vin stated that it was best to resist using a palette knife on paintings and if I do, just very sparingly. I can now appreciate why!
‘PRODUCE DRAWING’ CLASS
Our ‘Produce Drawing’ class commenced after our lunch break. This gave me a chance to recharge after the ‘Produce Painting’ class. The teacher, Toby Dutton, gave us a demonstration on what we were going to tackle during this particular ‘Produce Drawing’ class. Then each of us was instructed to collect a sheet of brown paper. We then pulled out, from our personal stores of drawing materials, our box of Conte Crayons – fine pastels sticks. Toby stated that these crayons had been used by masters such as Picasso, Degas and Delacroix for over a century. The crayons are apparently used for sketching and their edging helps provide a method of being able to cut into the sketching work with precision required for detailed line work and also used to block in larger areas of the work with coloured background (The Art Scene 2016). Once we had these materials together and our drawings-stand set up, we were then invited to select a photocopy of an image from the teacher’s selection. We were to create from the picture, a portrait drawing as per the following instructions:
- On the brown paper
- Draw portrait, including head and shoulders at least, using photocopy image
- Using Conte Crayons
- Start with orange Conte Crayon – and lightly sketch in the overall portrait – shaping the face first and then basic detailing with just the one colour. Look for shadows and use the side of the Conte Crayon to achieve. NB: I didn’t have the colour orange, so I just worked with two colours being white and brown.
- Using the white Conte Crayon – sketch in the ‘light’ seen within the portrait image.
- Using the brown Conte Crayon – sketch in the ‘dark’ seen with the portrait image.
- NB: Allow the brown paper to do a lot of the work.
Being my first time ever to draw with Conte Crayons I was a little apprehensive, but once I got started it became an enjoyable experience. I was pleased with my portrait and the teacher Toby had some good comments to make about it, so that made me happy as well. In order to ‘fix’ the Conte Crayons, I will need to spray my drawing when I get home with a fixative, to help protect my drawing – another learning process!
‘PRODUCE DRAWINGS’ VISUAL DIARY
At home, over a number of days between this drawing class and the next, I did a couple of drawings in my ‘Produce Drawings’ Visual Diary.
Once more, I am feeling very fortunate in being able to participate in these painting and drawing classes. Being able to soak up the ambiance of Degraves Street itself during my class break very much adds to the overall pleasure of the day’s creative outcomes. Art for therapy at its best for sure….
CAE is located in one of Melbourne’s iconic cafe/outdoor dining locations – DEGRAVES STREET as photographed above. Degraves Street’s bluestone-cobbled lane way, its postcard Parisian atmosphere of outdoor dining under umbrellas, and its quaint retail shops, certainly makes attending CAE’s art course each week just that much more of an enjoyable experience!
© Karen Robinson – August 2016
Whilst you are here – please check out my home page! Post-traumatic Growth – My Art Therapy Journey – A window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytelling…by Karen Robinson