Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On teaching....

I've really been neglecting my blog, working diligently in my studio. One thing that I've not mentioned on this blog is my classes. For nearly two years I've been teaching pastel painting at the Senior Center in Bangor. This class has become the highlight of my week, with 10+ of the most vibrant, energetic and creative "seniors" I've ever known. They defy the age that gains them membership to the Center. The class has evolved into more than pastel painting (that just happens to be the medium we use). It is about color, composition, mood, light, and creative growth. And the growth part is the most exciting as each individual is finding his and her voice in this incredibly supportive group.

In the last class of the winter session, we did a class project. Each person was given a printed segment of a larger photo to paint. The segments were divided in such a way that it was nearly impossible to identify what the subject was. It was a fundamental drawing exercise in the art of seeing. So often when we draw a subject that we know, we editorialize and draw it the way we know it to be rather than exactly what we are seeing. This focus was to draw/paint exactly what each person saw on his printed segment: exact colors, shapes and lines. At the end of the session, I fitted the segments together like a puzzle to show the completed painting.

Here is the illustration of the reference photo, and the resulting composite. We were all giddy with delight when we saw how perfectly everything fit together!
With no frame of reference but what was in front of them, they rendered what they saw to near perfection!

This pastel class will be exhibiting work at the Hammond Street Senior Center  in Bangor during the month of May. A wine and cheese reception will be held on Thursday May 13 from 2-4. The class project featured above will be on display during that time.