Monday, May 23, 2011

painting with a twist

on friday evening, i attended a class at our local painting with a twist.  despite my curiosity, i was really wary of doing this for a long time, but after two unacquainted friends both raved to me about how cool it was, i finally broke down and signed up.  i felt sure that i would fall flat on my face having never painted anything but walls.

the idea is that you walk in the door, with or without any artistic ability/background (i am most definitely in the "without" camp on that one), sit down at a blank canvas with paint, brushes, and water cup, follow the directions given by the instructor, and walk out with your painting 3 hours later.

sounds ridiculous, right?  i certainly thought so.  i'm an engineer, and we don't do art, which is why i struggle so much to find other creative outlets.  as evidenced by the handful of blog posts i've made thus far, i really am all over the place as far as projects go.

the "twist" part of painting with a twist means that students are welcome to bring in any food and drink - yes, this includes booze - they'd like to partake of during the class.  i elected to bring in a fruit salad, cheese, crackers, and a bottle of merlot.

they usually have 1 to 2 classes per day, and each class walks students through how to paint a different painting.  the class i chose to sign up for was chanel.  i did not realize it at the time, since as i said i am totally ignorant when it comes to all things art, but my friend later told me i chose a semi-difficult painting to cut my teeth on due to all the blending.  oops.

so on friday night i walked into class with my bottle of wine, fruit, and cheese and set up camp.  turns out this was a very small class of only 5 students.  perfect.  lots of individual attention, which i fully expect i will need.  3 veterans who have taken previous classes, 2 rookies.

i'm not sure what i expected, but it was amazing.  the instructor was fantastic.  she reassured us all from the get go that acrylic paint is wonderful because you can mess up as much as you want and it can always be fixed, so don't stress yourself out by trying to be perfect.  i did my best to follow that advice, and after two glasses of merlot it wasn't all that difficult to do!

here is my blank canvas.  i took this picture as evidence that i really started with nothing.
we spent the first hour of class following step by step directions on how to sketch the base of the painting.  this was broken down for us into a series of lines and shapes from one corner of the canvas to the other.  i had no idea so much of the class would be dedicated to sketching.  i suspect this part would be really difficult for any person(s) with O.C.D.  next, we started outlining miss chanel's silhouette in black paint.  here is a picture of my sketch with the first bit of painted outline.
the next step was to slap blue and white paint all over the background, which was super fun.  then we kind of hopped around a bit.  we did some work on the scarf, which is actually white layered with blue and black and then layered with white again.  finishing the scarf was my favorite part, as i really loved how mine turned out.

the face and the hat both scared the heck out of me.  we really did freehand all those circles and lines in the hat.  i was horrible at doing the shadowing on the face.  i did a lot of floundering before i got something that looked alright.  there was a lot of mixing paint with water and adding more paint and blending and craziness.  i was using too much paint and everything came out really dark, but the instructor showed me how to fix it up, and it turned out looking like a face, so hooray!

i started to fall behind a bit when i was struggling with the shadowing, and i got so wrapped up in what i was doing that i didn't get to take any more "in progress" pictures.

here is my finished masterpiece.  the last step was to sign in the corner.
i'm pretty darn satisfied with it.  i would have sworn my friends were taking crazy pills, but it really was a lot of fun, and you really do not need any artistic talent whatsoever

i'm happy to have another creative outlet at my disposal.

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