Thursday, March 13, 2008

Walked Into the Workshop and Out of My Comfort Zone

I firmly believe that workshops should be a time of experimentation and learning, a time to leave behind the familiar for a few days (or hours) and explore the new. If you are going to stick to your same old - same old during a workshop, you might as well save your money and stay home.

And while all of the above sounds great, it didn't stop the unwelcome guests, Fear and Uncertainty, from crashing last weekend's workshop with James Toogood when he recommended that everyone spend at least one day creating a painting of the live model we had in class.

WHAT!?! Me work from the model? But I don't really have any experience painting people. Heck, I barely have any experience drawing people!

Since I didn't want Fear and Uncertainty to follow me home and keep me awake that night, I decided to "get it over with" and paint a portrait of Dave, our Saturday model. Thankfully, Jim is an excellent instructor. He guided us through the entire process -- giving suggestions if drawings needed correction; telling us his formula (paint mix) for the initial wash of skin color, which would become out lightest lights; pointing out where he saw color in the model's skin and, perhaps more importantly, what colors he saw; and teaching us about adding rich darks. From start to finish he made Fear and Uncertainty sit down, be quiet and behave.

Below is my version of Dave's portrait. I am pleased with the outcome of my first ever watercolor portrait. I achieved a good likeness and was bold, for me, with my color application. (The models eyes really were drooping much of the time - modeling can be tiring and boring work - plus I was too far away to see his eyeballs.)

watercolor on paper
approx. 15" x 20"

Dad also painted Dave, but I didn't have my camera with me so I don't have an image of his painting.

More next time about Day 2 of the workshop.


Jennifer Rose said...

Good for you conquering your fear!! Your portrait turned out at him having a cat nap while modeling.
Its always nice when you have a teacher like Jim, more than willing to help people.

bluelilac said...

Hi Stacy
You are a brave one and now you tackled it and you made a fine beginning for your collection of many future portraits. I remember the drawing you did of your dad. It was so fine.
And I know how hard it is to do something that is going to be exposed to a class for their feedback. Very intimidating indeed.
But look at this!
You did it girl.
Now on to more drawings from a model.

Way to go!

I can't wait to see what the rest of the class was like for you.


Quilt Knit said...

Wonderful! Post! Another inspiration for me. Looking forward to Day 2. Excellent portrait work.

Stacy said...

Thanks Jennifer! I've always wanted my teachers to be happy with me, so that helped me conquer this fear. lol

Thanks Blue! The class was great! And I couldn't help myself, I ended up working from the model day 2 too! Who would have guessed?

Thanks Sherrie! It seems funny that I might inspire others when I have so many of my own issues! ;)

Anonymous said...

A great first watercolour Stacy! I am really looking forward to see you going down this road, I'm sure you are going to enjoy it.

Stacy said...

Thanks Ronell! A small correction - it is my first watercolor portrait, not my first watercolor. I know you knew that, but just in case someone else gets confused. :)

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Wow Stacey - great portrait! I'd never have guessed that this was your first watercolour portrait from life.

Stacy said...

Thanks Katherine! It was really fun so I'm sure it won't be my last.

Robyn said...

Amazing and wonderful result, Stacy, to achieve this with your first watercolour portrait from life. You should be delighted. I would be.

Stacy said...

Thank you Robyn! I'm always pleased when a watercolor goes the way I want it to, because so often watercolor seems to have a mind of its own! :D