A journey to world stuff-making domination

Archive for June 2012

Penland: Day 6

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It was bound to happen, but today the self doubt started creeping in. I was painting away on my collage piece and it just kept going in the wrong direction. After a nice long chat with Michael I realized that the painting was flawed from the get-go, as my proportions were all off (where’s my forehead??). So I took a dark color and re-defined some of the dimensions of my face, and Sunday I’ll work on putting in some more accurate skin tone, and highlights so my face doesn’t look so flat.

Below is the painting in question, on the left earlier in the day, on the right as I left it. Below that are some of the paintings myself, my classmates and instructors have been working on.


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June 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Posted in Painting

Penland: Day 5

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Today we worked on adding collage into our paintings. I’ve been in the habit of adding things to my acrylic paintings, and this is basically the same idea, though you add the collage bits first with acrylic medium, then paint over them with oil (but not in reverse… In the words of Michael, “Don’t do that”).

Here is the start of a new painting with collage. The background is a letterpress calendar that Beverly bought for the class to use. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I like how some of the numbers show through my face.

After lunch, Beverly gave a demonstration using a projector to project the image onto the canvas. This is particularly helpful in creating an effective composition when using collage in the background.

I also continued work on my non-dominant hand portrait (see below). It’s, well, not awesome. BUT, what it IS is  practice. I read somewhere that after doing something for 10,000 hours, one is an expert. After this workshop I’ll have an additional 80 odd hours to add to the tally. Below my painting is Beverly’s demo painting from today (with close up). I really admire her approach to painting. Breaking down the image to light and dark, using few bold brush strokes to realize the image. Clearly, she’s put in her 10,000 hours.

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June 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Posted in Painting

Penland: Day 4

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Today I worked on the two paintings I began yesterday. Below is the first painting, early in the day on the left, later in the day on the the right. It’s moving in the right direction, but I’m finding oil a little frustrating to paint with. I’m accustomed to painting with acrylics, which dry immediately and allow me to work quickly. Oil is teaching me patience and hopefully at the end of these two weeks I’ll at least have some small understanding of how it works.

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June 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Posted in Painting

Penland: Day 3

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Today… Today we painted. The day started with a demonstration by Michael showing how he approaches mixing color and laying down the paint on canvas, then after lunch Beverly demonstrated her techniques. Their approach to both how they organize and mix color, and how they paint is very different and incredibly inspiring. It just reinforces that there are no rules in art.

We are painting with seven colors. Two yellows, two reds, two blues, and white. Michael organizes his paints into warm and cool categories, while Beverly organizes by light and dark. Michael mixes all of the colors on the color wheel prior to starting, Beverly mixes her colors on the fly. Both end up with rich, vibrant colors with completely different methodology.

I started the day following Michael’s lead, mixing all of my colors in advance, but by the end of the day, I was steering more in Beverly’s direction. I think in the end I’ll land somewhere in the middle.

I started two paintings. Neither are finished since the oil needs to dry a tad before I go in with layers (can’t break out the blow drier like I do with acrylics!). The first is, well, the first (see below for a view of some progress). I had to put it aside to dry so I can go back tomorrow and fix some things (my lips and neck for starters). The second painting I’m painting with my non-dominant (left) hand, and so-far it’s turning out better than the first.

From left: Painting 1, painting 1 developing, Beverly giving non-dominant hand demo

Above image is a panorama of my classmate’s work. The top row, forth from left is Michael’s painting. In the bottom row, second from right you can see the beginnings of my non-dominant hand portrait.

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June 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Posted in Painting

Penland: Day 2

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Today was my first full day at Penland and I think I’m going to like it here. First of all, the food is quite good.  Secondly, they provide two yoga classes a day. And last but not least, my instructors are awesome! The class I’m taking is being taught by Beverly McIver and Michael Dixon, both of whom are figurative painter (who work as college professors, as many a painter is wont to do).

Today we began with the basics, starting with proportion, ending with color theory. Michael went over the basic structure and proportions of the face (did you know your eyes are actually right in the middle of your face vertically between your chin and the top of your head? I swear, it’s true!), then had us work on a self portrait in pencil. I think mine does look like me, though my eyes are two different sizes. Not bad for an hour and a half though.

After lunch, Beverly gave us a rundown of mixing skin tones, then Michael had us all paint a color wheel. Tomorrow we start to paint!

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June 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Posted in Painting

Penland School of Crafts: Day 1

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Today I arrived at  Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina where I’m taking a two-week contemporary portrait painting class.

I love taking classes and learning new things. Over the years I’ve taken dozens of classes in painting, printmaking, bookmaking, metals, and more. But since college I’ve never been able to immerse myself in art without dealing with the every day distractions that life throws at my way.

Penland is a true haven of art and craft. Up in the mountains 15 miles away from the nearest town, the only distractions are, well, none. Everything is taken care of, so all I have to do is show up. They provide three meals  and two yoga classes per day, and 24 hour access to the painting studio. I also found a delightful walk through the woods. What more can a girl ask for?

Clockwise from top left: The door to the painting studio, the view from the Craft House, the studio before students arrive, a path through the woods.

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June 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Posted in Painting

NSB Studio Workbench

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Today I built an enormous workbench for my new office/art studio. And when I say “I built” what I mean is I helped my brother Greg build… What I actually did was hold then end of this, stand on that, and ratchet those things while Greg did all of the work. I sent him a sketch of what I was thinking prior to our rendezvous at the hardware store, and the finished product looks just like the sketch (or what it looked like in my mind’s eye anyway). I can’t wait for all of my stuff to arrive so I can put the table to use.

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June 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Posted in misc.