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Thursday, 3 May 2012


I want to be a real artist even though I'm not sure what that means. I'm retired now so it can't be defined by earning a living, although selling something would be esteem building, wallet fattening and would help to empty the now cluttered painting space upstairs.
I've tried everything. I've done drawing classes, pen and ink, watercolour, further watercolour, mixed media and art photography. All these classes were great fun and very rewarding and I was usually pleased with the output. But none of them became my "must-do" everyday and I flitted on as I am wont to do with all hobbies and pastimes. DJ calls me a butterfly. I must admit I like things to happen quickly and don't do "slow".

The christmas before last I got a set of water-soluble oil paints so that I could add another butterfly flitter to my week.
Then lots of things happened so I put them away.This year I got them out to try them and loved them.
The first one I did was Cockfield Fell Chickens, which as you can see was a straight copy of a photo I had taken. It was a bit like painting by numbers as I copied the shapes and colours as accurately as I could. It looks fine from a few feet away.

Then I did something similar with Waves At Staithes although I had more fun with the colours. My palette is strongly blue, purple and sienna.
 At that stage I relied on artist's magazines for advice and step by step guides and some worked quite well ( I think) like this sheep one on the right and others looked badly copied like the scenes above and the terrible tourist style Ozzie landscape on the left. Tigger will get finished soon.

So I decided it was time for more lessons. I signed up at the Darlington Arts Centre for an eight week Further Acrylic and Oil course. The tutor knows me well and added me to the daytime group. I'm the only one with oils because it is quite difficult to move the canvases around. Acrylics dry so much faster and can be worked on quite well in a two hour session. Oils take about two weeks!
He gave us all a small picture to inspire us and started on his own canvas showing ways of doing sky and mixing colours to get the effects. I used a small canvas that would lie at the bottom of a basket to get carried safely home. Others were working on giant canvases with painting knives and I was immediately envious of the size and scope and have vowed to do bigger stuff at home. 
The lesson was great, the tutor is very encouraging and helpful, the company was great and I loved seeing how varied the interpretations were. Looking forward to much more. I feel that this last picture is getting away from "copying" and more like my own work.

Cheers Gillian

1 comment:

carol said...

I think you have just cause to be proud of all of them. Just what makes a 'real' artist is a subject for long debate but IMO it's someone who makes me look at ordinary things in an extraordinary way. I'm not a fan of conceptual art though!