Sunday, September 19, 2010

Painting Outside! Topsmead, Sept 17, ‘10

Version 1 -- Topsmead 091710

 I was up at 6:30 the morning of the 17th, watching the weather and debating with myself whether or not to head for Topsmead or call/email everyone to head to the Community Center for my class later in the morning.  The internet weather report said that the day was to be gradually clearing but with scattered showers in the morning.  At 8am, rain started to fall.   At 8:10, it was over and 15 minutes later the sky seemed to be clearing a bit.  Scattered showers over?  I hoped so and decided that Topsmead it was.  If it got bad, we could always shelter on the porch.

We all met in the parking lot and headed up toward the house.  As we entered the gate & beheld all the architectural and landscape wonders, we soon decided that we didn’t need to go much further for inspiration, so settled down in the lawn next to the front driveway across from this corner of the house.  

I hope my students had as good a morning of painting as I did.  One thing I love about being in a class is the conversational interchange between all the participants.  And how different our paintings are from one to the next.  To me, reading a painting is like reading what a person thought and wrote down – in their own distinctive and unique handwriting.  The paintings done by each person this morning, to me, were exciting, full of promise and memories – even one lady who expressed that she didn’t think she did so well.   I think that all these ladies have much promise and much to offer.

We started out a little cold, but as the morning went on, we were gradually warmed.

Had I been painting for 3 hours on my own, I likely would have somewhat finished this painting because I loved the fading, yellowing Wisteria, the sun on the smooth yellow surface of the house, the dark square of window with the cascading impatiens in the window box and the little bit of walled garden, distant pots of impatiens and the (by now) bright sky overhead.  I also enjoyed critiquing each student’s work and watching each painting grow,  so didn’t focus much on my own.  Version #1 is how it looked when I got home that day.

Version 2, Topsmead 091710
Version #2, is how it appears after a little bit of work while watching a movie last night.  I left-off where I did because the painting was full of memories and I felt it didn’t really need to go any further or to say much more.  And I wanted to go to sleep after a busy Saturday....  And to my students, what I did was to add a few layers of meaning (deeper tone, heightened color) using a smaller brush and paint mixed to a consistency so that it was easy to work, but slightly thicker than the thin and washy layers I applied as the base, working over -- applying paint -- on or over marks already established on the surface.  I didn't touch the sky at all, it's the way it was from the start.

One of the things I love about this painting is a sense of continuity.  This painting is the flip-side of a scene from the opposite side of the building I did with an earlier class 3 months ago, when the Wisteria was starting to sprout leaves and the beginnings of flowers.

Another thing I love, is that when I look at this painting now and later, is that it will bring back memories of a peaceful time in a place of tranquility with all the ladies in this class.

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