For the last 10 weeks, I’ve been taking a painting course titled, “Beyond the Obvious” and instructed by Mike Bailey, NWS that is designed to push an artist’s boundaries from their comfort zone to a new way of looking at their work. The artists in the class are challenged to paint a minimum of two, large paintings per week. Large being a full sheet of 22″ by 30″ watercolor paper. I rarely paint that large and when I do it takes me weeks and sometimes years to complete a painting of that size.
In addition to the size constraint, the artists were also given a subject constraint. We were asked to create a single still life and once the first still life is painted, the artist may not change the still life. I chose a pair of cowboy boots I owned as my subject.
Click on the link to see the paintings I created: http://jkretschmer.com/art-gallery/#jp-carousel-502
What I learned from this course is to stop focusing on the subject that I’m painting and to spend more time on the overall design and composition of the entire artwork. I also learned that I need to spend more time looking at my own work as an outsider and look for these important elements in each piece: Line, Size, Shape, Direction, Color, Value and Texture and how they relate to each other in creating interest.
I also need to step back and look at my paintings while I’m working and to identify Unity, Harmony, Dominance, Conflict/Contrast, Repetition, Gradation, Variation, and Balance. A painting with at least one or two of these will be far more successful in keeping a viewer interested than one where these principles can not be discovered in an artwork.
I’m looking forward to seeing what creative works come from me after this endeavor. I’m no longer fearful of a large sheet of blank paper and I’m ready to create more.