Sunday, March 28, 2010
I have long been a fan of the art of watercolor. Watercolor paintings have such a soft, dreamy look. The colors bleed into each other creating less defined edges that allow your imagination to see what is inside the painting and not just what is imprinted on the paper. Not a student of the fine arts, I wanted to learn how to work with colors and blending techniques without having to concentrate on fine details. Not to say that watercolor paintings do not have detail, but I was thinking of painting in a more abstract way.
Although an admirer, I had never tried my hand at this type of painting and when a series of art classes became available at the Phelps Arts Center I decided it was time to give it a try. “The Phelps Arts Center is housed in an 1850’s Gothic structure and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a significant example of early English Parish Architecture.” More recently, the building was occupied by the Phelps Community Memorial Library. Now, I ask you, how can you not be inspired to create in a building with that history?
There were three of us in the class which was held in the rear of the building. As visitors would come to view the exhibit in the Arts Center, they would wander back to the classroom and watch us paint as if we were part of the admission price. Now I know how animals at the zoo must feel! Of course one of the students was very good. He had been painting for years and really just stopped by for some tips. Visitors watched him in awe and amazement while they seemed to look at me with pity. You know a quick glance and look away as if they hadn’t looked at all!
The instructor taught me how to wash a paper with color, forming the base of the picture. It was so much fun mixing the colors and watching them blend together on the paper. Apparently most people are a little intimidated by this technique but I jumped right in. No reason to pretend I knew what I was doing or that I should be intimated by my lack of knowledge. My impatience proved to be a problem as I did not let the paper dry before I moved on to the next step. As a result, my landscapes got a little muddy. Lesson learned. I will need to be more patient and cautious as I move forward. It will be fun to paint these pictures again to see how I can make improvements to them.
While I haven’t painted anything “suitable for framing”, I have enjoyed my classes. I am proud of myself for achieving my goal of attending art classes and stretching myself to become more aware of the colors that surround me and how they all work together. So maybe I haven’t painted a masterpiece (yet), but you have to walk before you can run, right?