Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Black, White and Blue

Well, tonight was another painting class. We got to use black, white and one tone. I chose blue. We could mix the three any way we wanted. The teacher set up a still life and wanted us to paint it. Yeah right.

But first, she showed us some slides of some famous paintings. I couldn't tell you now who painted them, but she did talk about the fauvists and the surrealists. I asked if they ever teamed up against each other in a game of flag football, or three-on-three basketball.

She didn't get it. When I asked if it was more like rival gangs, she got it, but didn't think it was funny.

After the slides, she talked a little about color theory and the triads. I figured out that she wasn't talking about the street gangs in Tokyo (but maybe their called the Tong?) and one person (Cathy) was asking a lot of really basic questions. When she was finally done explaining it all, Cathy asked, "should we care about this?" It was a classic question. She was naming some of the colors in some of the triads, and she got to ochre and umber. Then it was my turn for a classic question. "What color is ochre"? Evidently is sort of like yellow.

Back to the still life...

The scene was set with two black boxes, a brown bowling pin, a small blue and white pitcher and a marbled bust of George Washington on one, and a "castle" made of cardboard on the other. There were two green wine bottles in front. It was all sitting on some of the ugliest striped fabric you've ever seen. It was good that we were only allowed to use one tone because had we had to more accurately reflect the colors, it would have been grounds for tuition reimbursement.

She said we should first draw the picture on our gessoed paper. Here's the thing. I can't really draw. And I didn't have a pencil. I still managed to do relatively good quick abstract sketch of the scene, which, if you were looking at the table and then glanced quickly at my sheet, you might be able to see a remote, passing resemblance. Like the boxes, the bowling pin and the bottles. I claimed presidential blindness and excluded George Washington from my painting.

Painting was a whole different story. I learned several things tonight.
1. If you need to fill in a lot of space with one color, you should mix enough at the beginning so you have enough for the whole space.
2. Black, white and blue mixed together looks different than white, blue, and black mixed together (see above)
3. It takes a lot of white to lighten up a mush of black and bruise (a color I like to call bruise).
4. I really glad I'm using acrylics and not oils.
5. If you focus on one thing and draw it really big on the page, you don't have to deal with the rest of the stuff on the table. It's sort of like being in high school and triple spacing papers with 2" margins on all sides.
6. Retarder doesn't just make the paint stay wet longer, it makes you paint more slowly.

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