About Me

I am a native of Arkansas, but currently living in Texas. This blog exhibits some of my paintings over the last several years. Since I was young, colors have captivated me, lines and contours drew me in, and light bewitched my senses. My high school art teacher introduced me to oil painting, a medium I cannot get away from because of its simultaneous intensity and serenity in the colors it creates. As my love for painting grows, so does my love and appreciation of the Original Artist, who creates every shape, line, light, color, and contrast new each day. God has given us creative abilities, and I love using them to express his beautiful creation. I hope you enjoy viewing my paintings as much as I enjoyed producing them.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Painting Workshop in India

This week I wanted to share some pictures from a painting workshop some friends and I hosted last month. About fifteen ladies from our neighborhood came and painted a landscape of aspen trees. Typically I paint with oils, but because this was the first workshop I've hosted, we decided it would be easier to use acrylics because they dry fast and are less of a hassle.

I chose a photograph for us to work from that could be simplified if needed, that had depth, and that contained other teaching elements like contrasting values and lines and colors. Aspens anyways are a personal favorite subject for me to paint.

Some of the ladies were experienced painters, and some hadn't painted in years. One lady told me the last time she painted was in high school fifty years ago and since then she has looked for some opportunity to pick up a paint brush again! Another artist was painting with me in the front, which was valuable because I wanted to encourage originality and personal style in each ones' painting. In India, art is not encouraged at a young age because it does not guarantee a future. When they are required to create something, it's always according to a certain pattern. I wanted to encourage the ladies to use free expression in their painting. I did not want them to feel confined to recreate exactly what was on my canvas. Many first time painters want specific instructions–mostly out of nervousness from the task–about exactly which colors I used, the lines I make, etc., so I had to find a balance in guiding them and forcing them to use their creative license.

Indian art seems to be more geometric and contemporary in style, with indigenous influences, which is not a style with which I am familiar. Maybe one day we'll reverse the roles and they can teach me the kind of expression that comes most naturally and speaks most deeply to them. My art tends to be impressionistic. I am young, so I explore different techniques and copy other paintings to help teach myself about different styles, but more than anything, color speaks to me. The style I've found that I can best express color is impressionism, so that is the style I teach in a workshop or when I paint with someone. This requires another balance: I do not want to force anyone to forsake their personal or preferred style just to copy mine, but at the same time I want to encourage other painters to expand their abilities by learning an unfamiliar technique if impressionism is new to them.
This is me during the beginning stages of the painting blocking in the colors and values.

 At the end of the workshop, we had fifteen very different, unique finished paintings. Everyone enjoyed it, and the beginners surprised themselves that they could actually create a painting with their own hands. This brought me great joy because God gave us expressive, individual, creative minds, and that day we discovered them, used them and stretched them. As an art lover living in a place where science and technology rules, giving people the opportunity to experiment in art was fulfilling and exciting.

Here are several more photos of the group, their paintings and their process to get to the finished piece.

I limited everyone to three relatively large brushes and one smaller one to prevent them from focusing on minute details with a small brush. It took me years to let go to capturing every single detail, but this was one way that helped me.

Everyone worked from a 12x16 canvas, which was big enough to give them room to work and small enough to complete within three hours

It's always important to study your subject before starting the painting. I look at composition, contrasts I can emphasize in color, value and edges, as well as the tint of my lighting for the painting.

It's a good thing Indians don't mind sitting on the ground; otherwise we would have had to rent chairs and tables for everyone.

The first step is to tone the canvas using a neutral color to cover the canvas so that no white shines through on the finished product.

Using the same color (burnt sienna) we sketched the composition or layout of the painting. Sometimes I give a 3 minute time limit on this step because I don't want them to be too detailed. It will be painted over anyways.