Remembering What I Forgot
Recently I took an abstract realism workshop with a master painter. I had never done abstraction and but wanted to incorporate another style into my own paintings. For the first time in my long schooling career, which spans decades, I found that I was not doing the exact homework assignments. It felt somewhat naughty, I guess a throwback to childhood.
So much of what he was teaching reawakened in me the knowledge and experience I’d learned over 40 years ago in art school. It reminded me of the many lessons in color, value and saturation. Lessons in composition and layout. All the many lessons in technique. Conversations I’d had with myself but hadn’t heard out loud in too many decades.
When the workshop began, I’d been in the middle of an oil painting in my studio. Instead of doing the homework assignments, I began, at first unknowingly, to apply them to the painting already on my easel. I changed the composition of the piece. I altered my color selections to focus on the clarity of modern colors. I added attention to value plus the placement of cool pigments and warm pigments.
My painting began to take different turns, it zigged and zagged as new ideas and focus resurfaced in my brain. These switches in reference really stretched out the time it took to complete the painting. I began to think of Picasso’s transitional piece, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and how it took him forever to complete it and how clearly you can see the major transitions he made. My painting wasn’t even close to his level of redirection, but for me personally, it was as dramatic.
Usually, there is so much to learn and to relearn that it can’t be absorbed in the 8-week duration of these workshops. But this online program is available for access, practice and review for a year. It will take longer than that to truly grasp the many nuances of his teaching. Daily studio time will ultimately allow the lessons to flow in and around me until I am so accustomed to the process that I can roam freely and more widely on my own as I’ve done for years but now with a twist.
Interesting read.. loved hearing about how your painting revealed what you are learning…