― Henry David Thoreau
|Pat Percy Art||
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years, and exhaust it. How sweet to think of! my extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.”
― Henry David Thoreau
First time out of the closet and into a frame. The woman in the window I saw exactly like this from my window. Some years later in the middle night the building burned down in a five-alarm fire, which I dreamed was happening before I woke up. In my dream the fire was happening in the daytime, probably because of the painting, but in reality it was very dark, and the scene was an inferno. (You can see I was enamored of Edward Hopper's work at the time.) P.
Here was a jumble of pumpkins and gourds, walnuts, Brazil nuts and a pine cone:
The idea was to select two or three items, do a fast value sketch and color sketch, then create a composition thinking of papa bear, mama bear, and baby bear sizes; squinting to see the values and eliminating detail.
Notice that the red shape is "ONE FLOWER WITH SEVERAL CENTERS." If you have a few large forms underlying your composition you will be able to elaborate with any amount of detail without destroying your original simple, strong design.
Ed Whitney said, "Decide the essence of a thing - then explain it with the fewest possible strokes."
Ernest Hemingway said, "You can leave out what you know, but you can't leave out what you don't know."
[Many instructors say, "Simplify, simplify!" -which is good advice, but my experience has been that, starting out, at least, I had to put EVERYTHING in including the KITCHEN SINK to learn, only gradually, WHAT could be left out. The KITCHEN SINK might, of course, turn out to be the best thing in the composition.]
This idea, seen from another angle, was told to me by a friend who used to laugh himself silly telling me, "An old lady, when asked what she meant, said: 'How do I know what I MEAN until I've SAID it?'"
Students worked on a floral still life with great results. Next we tried a landscape. See our finished pieces below.
Heartfelt condolences to Pat after the loss of her mother, Betty. She will be missed by all of the students. Many of us have a paper flower hand made with love to remember her by.
PAT: Fast demo by Pat of suggested color scheme for this image at Sheila's request.
Reminder: a simple grid of your reference photo will save you a great deal of time with your composition. You can always mask off a part of the image and make the grid only for that.
Also, if you work in other mediums, try fast sketches using those, too. You may find that a subject works better for you in water-soluble oils, acrylics, pastels, or oil pastels, as well as watercolor. Any effort you make in any of these mediums will add to your knowledge of the subject.
We did preliminary value and color sketches of winter snow scenes. Homework will be to make a more finished work of the image(s) we chose. Pat did a short demonstration of a value and a color sketch using this photo reference:
The idea of this diagram is to divide the surface of the paper into four or five main shapes, values, and colors. These were a great deal of fun to do. We didn't worry about "anatomical" accuracy, the idea was to grasp the essence of a scene quickly, then go home and try a more finished version if we feel inclined to take it further.
Pat Percy showed students how to interpret a photo, to find the main shapes and create a watercolor using a value study and color study first. Then we worked on wet in wet paper to create original winter scenes.
This is the page where I plan to share my insights and experiences with creativity