The Drawing Board #7
A Visual Week: Painting class with Mom, CV4W workshop, resurrecting old art
This has been a very visual week.
1. I started taking a painting class with my mom.
Actually, it’s more like a meet-up for retired folk to bond over painting a few hours each week. But it’s the right vibe for me right now. Getting out of my home for a few hours, sitting in a big room flooded with natural light, listening to classical music while painting is as relaxing as it sounds. And our classmates are genuinely sweet.
Our teacher often tells me to be “more free.”
I default to painting as realistic as possible, but I want to learn how to paint like an impressionist. Some of my favorite artists are impressionists. Historic artists include Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and Monet, and artists I’m inspired by today are Sari Shryack and Silver Francis.
With the vibrant colors and expressive brushstrokes, the paintings come to life. When you zoom in, each brush stroke looks abstract. But zoomed out you clearly see what’s captured in the painting.
I want to be “more free,” like the impressionists, but I’m having a hard time letting go of my comfort zone: perfectionism. Tediously obsessing over every little detail, using the tiniest brush I have to accurately depict every corner of the object I’m painting, is where I thrive. It’s how I taught myself how to achieve realism.
I must get this trait from my mom. She’s been working on this painting for weeks! Maybe months? She’s perfecting the door. Every week she keeps saying something isn’t right. But I think it’s perfect. Each brush stroke is an individual expression, but when combined, clearly represent a door.
I’ve been trying to achieve a similar aesthetic in my own painting. There’s so much I see wrong compared to the original picture. To me, it’s not leaning towards realistic, nor impressionism. But our teacher told me the painting is done, that it’s time I move onto the next one. But is it done?
It doesn’t feel done. I want to improve my craft as a painter. I want to paint masterpieces like Van Gogh. But maybe I just need to learn to let go. I need to look at my painting with fresh eyes, like I look at my mom’s. Or maybe I should just have my mom be my fresh set of eyes.
Maybe I should listen to our teacher and be prolific, because that might be the best way to achieve mastery in a lifetime. What are your thoughts on this? When do you decide when your work is done?
2. I co-hosted a workshop for the Creating Visuals for Writing group.
It was a last minute frenzy. I spent the entire 36 hours before the presentation obsessing (not surprising) over all the little details in each slide. I made sure every image was perfectly centered, that the sequence of content made sense, and that each slide wasn’t visually overwhelming.
The presentation went well and felt so natural. I didn’t even look at my notes that I painstakingly perfected up to 5 minutes before my cue. It felt so freeing to present my slide deck, talk about composition and art, and encourage participation from the group.said I was so alive.
The group learned 3 fundamental principles that historic artists used to create visual flow in their paintings, that the group can apply to their own drawings:
My favorite moments in this presentation were when these slides came to life. I asked the group to sketch visual flow (their eye movement) over the paintings using Zoom’s Annotate feature. Everyone annotated immediately, no one stumbled. It was chaotic, yet uniform. I was so happy at how fast everyone learned these techniques and how they create visual flow.
Preparing visuals and speaking about them is something I haven’t done in a long time… like… since working as an architect. Creating visual presentations is second nature for me. I used to create clear visuals for clients, to explain how parts of their new building go together. But it felt really good to get such positive feedback from my new creator community.
After the presentation, I got to analyze and give feedback to my friends’ Sandra anddrawings (thank you guys for volunteering 🥰). Helping my friends felt SO good, and felt even more natural than the presentation.
Thank you Sandra & Jess for your kind words:
CV4W Hostasked if I thought about creating a course. I hadn't considered a course, but maybe some day...? What do you think? Would you benefit from a course where I teach design fundamentals of visual arts?
2/21/2023 UPDATE: The presentation is recorded and posted on youtube below, enjoy!
3. I resurrected an old drawing I found hidden in a sketchbook.
Do what feels right.
Create what feels right.
Fall in love with that feeling.
And let it lead you.
Thanks for reading, see you next time!
Happy Creating, Elizabeth