So, I'm taking a continuing education class at the Columbus College of Art Design (CCAD). Me and 15 other brave souls will be meeting weekly throughout June and July to unravel the mysteries of oil painting. According to the syllabus, we'll complete two painting during the course of our term. No promises were made regarding the quality of the completed paintings. Seriously though, I'm really excited about this.
That might sound strange considering I've already got a Bachelor's degree in painting and drawing. The truth is I've never felt particularly confident about my ability to paint. Perhaps more to the point, I never felt like I really learned how to paint. Oh, I had some great instructors. I learned a lot about art and expression and theory. Those are all important things, but when it came right down learning how to paint - in the classical sense - well, we weren't really taught like that at my alma mater.
This being my first continuing education class, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'm happy to report that CCAD has this business down to a science. Selecting classes, registering for classes and paying for classes is a breeze online. Parking is easy, and we were even issued access cards to get into our building. At first I was concerned because I didn't get any kind of supply list ahead of time. It turns out that's because supplies are included! Everything we needed was is in the studio and laid out for us when we arrived.
For the first session we had a brief lecture on the basics of color theory, light, modeling, and depth. Then the instructor gave a short demo. After that he had us tint our canvas with an acrylic wash and begin working on compositional sketches. Once we roughed out an idea of the composition, we used gamsol and raw umber to create our imprimatura (that's the fancy word for the underpainting). This is how my painting looked at the end of class.
The idea behind this way of painting is that once you get the values down (that's light and dark) then you can start building with color. I was happy with my progress, but I'm a little worried about having to paint the plaster bust. Faces are hard to paint, even plaster ones!
Perhaps most importantly, I'm really excited about our instructor. His name is Brent Payne. I've seen his work around and I appreciate his sense of color. He obviously knows his stuff and is clearly good with the students. He spent time with each of us and offered lots of practical tips.
Below is a painting of garlic he did. It reminds me a little of Manet's asparagus paintings and a little of Morandi's still lifes. I expect he'll have a lot to offer the students.
I think I might learn to paint after all!