Yesterday (November 29) marked the last children's class in this session, and this coming Monday and Wednesday will be the last adult sessions for the season. To close the season I thought it would be fun to create a textured painting - inspired by paintings I research on Pinterest by Je Hlobik (Art of Texture Gallery). Je's paintings are oil on canvas, a little out of our league here at Cedar Lane. I substituted spackle (BeautiTone Featherwieght with good results. And, I was right – it was fun!
For the last 2 weeks, students (and myself!) have enjoyed exploring the versatility and magic of using charcoal as the underpainting builder. In my preamble to creating the piece, I asked students to relax, not only their minds but the way they hold the charcoal. Tipping the charcoal/conté up like a pencil can make us too fussy in our approach, too imposing. I encouraged students to hold the charcoal parallel to the canvas - yes - you lose a little control but gain some very lovely marks in your piece. This was especially important in the trees paintings, and the results were lovely. After creating the initial drawing, the canvas was sprayed with workable fixative to preserve the drawing. More charcoal was added, unsprayed, to add tone. Then gesso was sparingly applied to lighten areas of the painting - mostly scumbled, or applied deftly with a lift to the hand at the end of each stroke to better integrate the application with the underpainting. Students were asked to consider the rhythm of their piece, using darks and lights to move the eye. Finally, the paintings were glazed with one unifying colour, more white applied to bring forward specific light areas, and then a snow effect was sprayed on.
In week 2, we used images of barns to create a lovely rustic scene, using the same process. The only difference was that we did take more time and care drawing the structures in conté/charcoal first, but tried to take the looser approach for the trees and other marks. The results were pretty stunning, as you can see.
A beautiful snowy day inspired today's Monday class process. I had recently seen online the work of artist Martine Cyr, who shows her work at the wonderful Gordon Harrison Gallery in Ottawa. You can view more of her work here.
If I am not working on a series, I like to be in the moment, and today's snowfall and mild temperatures provided lots of inspiration. The process we used was lovely - using charcoal, mostly on its side, to energetically draw woodsy lines on canvas. Then I sprayed (outside) the canvases with workable fixative. Using titanium white, we pushed at the image, blurring and adding a sense of snow. This process was repeated until each had a forest they could truly call their own. We lightly tinted our canvas - mostly with gel plus Hooker's green, finishing off with some snow 'spray'. I added a few red berries to my piece, too.
I would definitely like to explore this process further. I love the freedom of drawing with charcoal and conte. This will be my suggested project this week.
We've explored November skies, and the results were stunning. Both adults and kids used the same technique, applying a this layer of gesso before whisking in their sky colours (from light to dark). We used some photographic references, but, as you can see, tried to really make each painting our own. These paintings were accomplished in 2 hours!
We know it is coming... The cold November skies carry a chill, almost spooky in the gloom. These chilling words from Gordon Lightfoot set the tone:
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early
Poet John Freeman's take is less a premonition, and more an admiration:
November Skies will be our class inspiration this week. Below are 2 paintings (artist unknown for the first one) and a photo depicting November Skies. Classes Monday from 1-3:30 pm, Wednesday from 7-9:30. $20 all inclusive.
I spend a lot of time at Dollarama in Kemptville, my #1 art supplies store (besides Wallacks). I found a little container of brightly painted wooden pieces, which became the inspiration for this week's children's project. Playing with texture (gloss gel medium, sand, texturing tools), we first divided the piece of illustration board using 1/4" tape to make shapes. Once the gel had been dried, we used Golden liquid acrylics to applu paint in either a watered down or a full strength version. The watered down version flowed around the textures in an interesting way. To bring out some texture in the full colour areas, we used white paint in a scumbling fashion.
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