In Which I try To Be Artsy (Again)

 Throughout 2021 I've been trying to fit in that perfect work schedule and having time to paint.  I struggled with getting started again, and decided I needed to get more instruction.  I signed up for several art classes through the New Mexico Art League, including figure drawing, classical still life, and plein air.  

I also attempted to re-enroll at the local community college, which has a decent little art department. It was a pretty onerous experience, with 19-year-olds explaining ot me that I needed to talk to an academic coach to get re-enrolled, and me telling them (repeatedly) I have advanced degrees, please just let me take some art classes.  

Meanwhile: The Art League classes. 

Advanced landscape painting

I liked this class and felt at home here. I completed three paintings during the class. This first one I was not over the moon about. I feel like it's too Thomas Kinkade-ish. All that's missing is the glowing cabin.  

This one I'm happier with, but it was difficult. I experimented with a type of board I haven't used before, a Jack Richeson Premium Gesso Board.  It was pretty slick. I need more tooth.

I was happier with my third effort. 

Botanical Illustration

I loved this class.  It was loose drawings and watercolor. Watercolor is not exactly my medium, but I feel you need to step out of your comfort zone to stay in the habit of doing so, and I also feel that there are techniques in particular mediums that can be generalized to other areas.  

The teacher, Marjorie Leggitt, taught this by Zoom and had an interesting way of working with people individually in that manner I'd say she's done a fantastic job of mastering "art class by Zoom." I plan to take more of her classes.  


Classical Still Life

This was an usual class for me. I consider myself more of a neo-impressionist. Is that neologism, or an actual thing? Anyway, I add dabs of color until something looks right.

For classical still life, I'm still in the process if finalizing these two paintings. In this class I learned about how to use mediums, which nobody had ever really gone over before in detail. I also learned how to smooth areas of color and transitions.

The teacher is Sarah, and she's amazing.  One of the best teachers I've had. Patient, attentive, and willing to answer any and all questions in detail. Her method is one that has been in use for hundreds of years and requires patience and attention. I love the simplicity, however. I feel that this class may help me find more simplicity in my subject and compositions. 

Of note, I have enjoyed learning how to set up a still life box.  I use a small grey cloth organization bin, and a rechargeable light that allows either warm or cold or combination light and a clamp.

This one is still in process, and will probably need more work on the bottle, but I'm happy that people no longer think that's a big lemon back there.  I may also add in some more light from the light source and clarify the shadow. I did another one which I can't quite locate, because I just rearranged a bunch of my equipment. I will add to this post when I find it. 

I enjoyed painting this and may do more of it this winter.  I have a number of small bottles from cocktails I drank this past summer and think they would make interesting subjects. 

Figure Drawing

This a class held over Zoom, and I felt myself fidgeting quite a bit during the demos. Most of the work we did on our own, with the teacher commenting and critiquing at the beginning of class while I fidgeted. I prefer Marjorie Leggitt's method of having people work while she "circulated" the class speaking to people individually. She also used a good document camera when she worked.  

I'll probably take this class in person, using live models, since we worked from other people's work instead of live models (another feature I didn't like).

I'll do a separate post on my plein air class.  It deserves its own post.