Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lesson 11~ finding one's signature art style

The morning started with Ms Shia sharing with us a Taiwanese art book featuring different styles drawn by western and chinese artists .

We of course ooohed and aaahed but when told that this week's exercise is to get us to draw a complete painting based on any styles we like from the book because Ms Shia wanted to gauge our styles in order to better tailor future weeks' classes….we were initially stumped, I mean…how could I draw anywhere near those masterpieces?

I know I sat there looking at my paper and brushes without a clue where to go for inspiration~

As always the first step is always the hardest.

Andrea was the quickest with her brushes splashing bold colors rapidly….I think she is very deft with graphics. But her boldness actually helped the whole group to also get out of our inertia ;)

Soon Chris started on the trees outside the windows….I think she is very into floral and fauna.
Jess worked on her beloved landscape, I think she also likes fauna and flora ;)

I prefer realism ….

I like to start my washes very wet on both sides and to work horizontally , first using very light colors , and then to gradually build up the colors.

But this morning, I seem to have a blockage….I did not know what else to do after completing my rather bland looking background of beach, sea and setting sun.

Ms Shia gently teased that she was waiting for my painting to tell a story and said she was wondering whether I will be painting mermaids .

I was struck by her comment that sometimes putting an unexpected element least associated with the background can make a painting become more exciting.

Over the weekend, that got me cracking my mind.

I had failed to draw Max in graphite some weeks ago and he is forever on the top of my list of must must draw !

So I decided to attempt a bold larger than life image of Max standing infront on the beach .
A quick outline already made me see that Max presence definitely makes my bland beach painting above immediately more interesting .
It was more original than my half hearted intention to add a small silhouette of man walking his dog or fisherman mending his nets….
Ahhhh, I'm beginning to get the hang of better understanding what it means by composition , I think….the core is to draw something that evokes passion and can make us labor with LOVE~.

I didnt like this mug shot which showed Max with more white hair , I want to paint Max in his golden prime days as a handsome stud.

But painting Max's fur turns out to be an exercise larger than what I bargained for and
I almost gave up several times….

Luckily the wet washes meant I had to get up and walk away to let one layer dry before I could continue blending and further rendering.

That helps me to focus…..because 4 hours into working on Max chest….I'm still not done yet…..and I definitely do not want to give up yet again.
I'm gonna put the painting away and get back to it after a couple of days~

Over the weekend, I somehow found inspiration to finish Max's complex layering of fur, referencing many old photos to get the best golden shades that I wanted to portray. In the end, I copied Max mate, Roxy's beautiful furs instead.

I think I manage to do some justice to Max…do you agree that he looks like a proud German Shepherd of royal heritage here?

Hahaha, oh well…in my mind this is how I like to remember him anyway.

Max left us to grieve for him one year ago, he is today still dearly missed and remembered fondly. I am thankful to have enjoyed his transient companionship, love and loyalty for 11 blessed years 1998-2009.

This is my first watercolor painting that I even want to mount , frame and put up in the house.

To Max , with love always.

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