GRA - 6th class painting

We always start the afternoon with discussing the work from the previous class. I am always nervous. I am excited too, and eager to show what I've been working on.
I painted two of my high heels. The space in between forms an interesting illusion. It's the first time in this class that I feel I made a good painting. And the teacher seems to agree.

In the class we get our last assignment from this teacher, Next week we'll move on to Sculpture. In an earlier class we had to pick a painting we liked and describe why. I choose 'Song of the lark' by Jules Breton, that I saw last Spring in the Art Institute in Chicago.

I love her pose, after a long day's work, listening for a bird that one can hardly see in the painting. The fainting light. The light in the background, and not on the main character in this painting. She's not quite done, it's almost time to go home, but she takes a moment to pause... Such serenity.

My last assignment is to paint light in the background. I have chosen to take a little doll and place her in front of the window. First I sketch her in charcoal. There's not enough time to finish the painting so I also take a picture to help finishing it at home where it is still on my easel waiting for completion.


MK24 - 4th class and 5th class

Today we make a still life. The teacher has arranged a collection of objects for us to choose from. The lesson starts as usual. To make a couple of sketches in charcoal from different perspectives. I am having a hard time finding a place in the circle of easels. We're a group of 15 and when one arrives late - like I usually do - there's not a whole lot of room left. But after a while I find my groove and manage to make some satisfying sketches.
This is what the work in progress looks like:

I enjoy doing this more than I thought in advance. The teacher gives helpful advice. She says: work on the overall painting, step back regularly and don't lose yourself in details. She thinks the dark background is a cool choice.
In the next lesson we finish the painting. I have overworked the white pot and I am quite dissappointed. I think I liked it better when it was not finished. The teacher remarks that this is a common problem of artists; when is it done? when should you stop?


GRA - guest class painting

This will be the best class in painting I get at the Academy. Today Stephanie Krätz is teaching us how to express a cursing word in a huge painting. I choose the word 'klootzak' which means 'ball sack' in Dutch.
It's a strange assignment for me. It's not supposed to be pretty, actually it should be ugly, because it has to express something ugly. I don't like it at first. What a waste of my paint! But I am going at it anyway in a sort of careless way. Whatever. I use my biggest brush and make wild strokes. So not like me. Stephanie walks by once in while and gives me a lot of attention and encouragement. And guess what happens then? The painting is coming alive and I am getting lots of positive feedback, not only from the teacher, but also from the other students. We're having a lot of fun together.
At the end of the day Stephanie says I have learned a lot, and that it's moving in the right direction. She says I have painted the subject with much sensitivity. Considering the subject, I guess that's cause for much hilarity.My colleagues at Sugar Factory love it, and that's where it's currently on display.


GRA - 5th class painting

What happens to the painting of your lady in 10 years from now? And bring clothes for your lady to class next week, are the assignments for this week's class at the Academy.

As I wrote in my previous post, I practiced a lot in the past week. I am very satisfied with the faces I have painted. Also, it was fun, not unimportant.
I made two sketches in Conté of the portrait in the future and one collage of the painting in the paper. And just for fun, I cut up old t-shirts form Ila and sowed the portrait like a little quilt (there is is again!).

The teacher is somewhat positive this time. She likes the improvement I have made on the faces in the previous paintings. The rest of my work she qualifies as 'staying to much in your comfort zone.' I guess nobody here is interested in that.

That afternoon we work with the clothes we brought for our lady. The theme is the space in between. What does one need to paint in order to show the object, and does one deal with the space in between the objects. Is that what you paint, or is it the object itself?
We work in teams and make sketches in charcoal. For the first time I feel like I am getting some real praise from this teacher. I can draw, she says. I feel pathetic for mentioning my struggle with her here all the time, but it has become such an issue for me, I obviously need to get it out of my system and work my way through it.


GRA - 4th class painting

The teacher gives us a black and white photocopy of a woman (turns out she's a prostitute, but this has nothing to do with the assignment). We are to paint this in non-realistic colors. We are working in the class, so the teacher can comment as we go. And boy, do I not like that! As usual I am struggling with the paint. I so lack the right techniques to mix colors and apply them to the paper. And this is not the place where I am going to learn how to master the material...
The teacher is rude. "What are doing, she asks in a confronting way. "That's not the way to do it." I ask her to say something positive, because I desperately need some encouragement. I go home feeling so sad, so inadequate.
The good thing is I get mad. I will master this. So at home I paint and I paint. I try out all sorts of things. I spend every free moment with my paintings.


GRA - 3rd class painting

Today we discuss last week's homework, and work we made during class.
With brown paper we made an interior. We took pictures from different angles.
At home we were supposed to paint these in color. Not the color we know the paper has but the color we actually see.I cheated a little with this one because I had a hard time seeing color. Light and dark is not such a problem, but seeing colors is a whole different skill.
In the first painting, I tried to stay true to the natural colors. Very quickly I got frustrated because I couldn't get the colors I wanted. Or I didn't mix enough on the plate, ran out of it and never managed to get the same color I needed again. Then spreading it on the paper. What a drama. The paint is never on the tip of the brush, but more at the base of the hairs. How do I do this? The paint doesn't cover the paper the way I want. It's transparent when I want it to be thick, and vice versa. Also a problem, changing something when the paint is still wet. Or making a straight line. I am such a klutz.I know I can do better than this. What does the teacher say when she sees the above? "I can see your struggle. You should paint more with your intuition." But how do you do that? And how can I transform the need to recreate what my mind wants into something more... intuitive? There are no answers, no guidelines. I feel lost and alone.
I go back to something I like and that feels comfortable. The collage.But the teacher says it's just more of the same. She doesn't like it, and she doesn't seem to appreciate the effort either. Why is that so important to me anyway?