Give Yourself a Gift and Learn to Paint
I discovered early in my life that, for me, drawing and painting can take you to a place that few activities can. When I am painting, all of my thoughts are devoted to the creative process and the use of the medium. I immerse myself in the celebration of creativity. If I am painting a portrait, I am thinking about the person and focusing on their mood. My energies are devoted to capturing their likeness and spirit. When I work on my underwater paintings or paintings of flowers or animals, I lose myself in their colors and patterns and I dance to my inner music.
The art we hang says something about us. Who we are. Where we would like to be. What we like to be around. Our goals and moods are expressed. It is something we share with every visitor that comes to our home. What truer window to our own soul than art that comes directly from us. Painting gives us the gift of pure enjoyment and the added bonus of something tangible to share with others.
When I am teaching, my students tell me that the time flies by so quickly. Many say it is their favorite time of the week.
I used to teach oil painting to adults in my studio. Now I teach painting at the Community Center in the City of Palm Beach Gardens. Classes are ongoing and are broken up into approximately six week sessions. Many of the students work on their own projects and I work with them by helping them with proportion, creativity, composition, value, color relationships and painting techniques. Some of them choose to work from photographs and some from their imagination.
In the past I have also provided a still life for those who wish to work from life. Working from a still life is a very helpful exercise for developing a sense of proportion, light and color. A strong source of light illuminates the objects and
makes the colors appear very vibrant.
Flowers, fruits, kitchen items and drapery are some of the object we have used for our subject matter. We begin the project by sketching out the layout and deciding how to place it on the canvas. This is called the "composition". Once the composition is sketched on the canvas, a "grisii" or underpainting is done. One color, usually burnt sienna, is used to create a monochromatic painting. In the next class color is mixed and applied.
The artists learn to see the true colors of the objects in the light they view them in. When working on a still life, I encourage my students to paint a faithful rendition. Later, after they have mastered the fundamentals, they are better equipped to explore themes. Learning to paint is learning how to see. It is amazing that although the artists are working from the same objects and have gained a sensitivity to color and light, every artist interprets what they see differently and every painting is unique and beautiful.
I began teaching oil painting to adults in my home studio about ten years ago. When I made the decision to teach, I was not sure that I would have much to say or share. But as soon as I started, I began hearing the words of my past teachers springing from my mouth with ease. I discovered that I had much to give and that I really enjoy giving. But my discovery did not stop there. I also found that my students were not the only ones learning. Each student brings their own experience and creative voice to class. I learn from them perhaps even more than they learn from me. It has been a pleasure and an honor to have been called a teacher by the wonderful people that I have met over the years.
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