Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pastel Inside for a Change

I know this isn’t plein air, but it is art and you might be interested why I have not painted outside so much lately. Number one reason was the weather and the fact that I am wimpier than when I was younger. 
My pastels in their travel Heilman case
Number two is that I held a pastel workshop here in my studio to introduce many different papers, pastels and ways of working to people who had pastels but no working knowledge of how to even start a piece. Some had started but left the work in confusion, knowing there was an easier way to do this, but what the heck was it? Having it here meant that I had to clean and organize my studio so that was week one. Then week two was spent in setting up tables, chairs, and covering tables. I also had to get a drawing done for them so that they could concentrate on the pastel part, not the drafting part, and getting photos enlarged so that whatever they did not finish in the studio could be worked on in their own work space and I still had to set up my own pastels.

A workshop attendee who swears she isn't
a 2 dimensional artist. I am not listening to her anymore.
She fibs.
 That meant tearing down the oil setup for my studio and breaking out the pastels. So I have been busy. One of the beneficial by-products of all this activity is the finding of various and sundry items that I had wondered about since our move from California.  I liken this situation to the single sock syndrome. Such as, here is the pencil sharpener, where the heck is its base? Well I found many missing items that had been oh so carefully put in a safe place, which in my case equals the kiss of long loss and death. I can actually find anything I need in that studio now.

A student enjoying her very first workshop, and her
very first pastel piece.
The students were amazing. We didn’t dwell on inexperience in the medium, we just all jumped right in, experimenting with different papers, underpaintings and pastels. If we moved along quickly, it was by design. That gave them less time to dwell on how unsettling it was to be out of their comfort zones. They were all a bit uncomfortable and that was good. It provided a common ground for people who had not known each other before. And it was invigorating for all of us. I love teaching as it solidifies many concepts when I have to give voice to them for others to understand. And I love questions that are well considered and insightful, and there were plenty of those.

Student block in for Teddies Left Behind piece.
And did they produce! Wonderful pieces, from semi abstract to tightly realistic pieces, everybody had successes and room and direction in which to grow. I’d say that this weekend was an unqualified success. It certainly enriched my experience and I was very pleased when I could see the lights go on above their heads when a concept clicked. I do like those light bulbs.

The piece directly to the left is the very beginnings of a talented student's piece with antique teddies, sailboat and red truck. It was intriguing to see  almost 20 teddies take form and all of them unique in color and attitude and expression.

Favorite Quote:
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled, for it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching.        (Gregg Stone)

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