Another semester at school has come to a close, and another milestone has been reached. I have now graduated from Community College with my Associate of Arts in General Studies. I loved all my classes last semester–Health, Fitness, Spanish, and Painting–but Painting class was probably my favorite.
Here are the projects that I worked on throughout the semester.
Black & White Monochrome
This painting was my very first, so I’m glad that our teacher had us start with just shades of black and white. It was hard enough to begin even then. Our teacher had asked us to each bring along a small item that we could use for a reference. I brought one of my favorite candles. Along the top of the canvas, we were to paint a horizontal shading gradient. I wish now that I had not blurred the lines of my gradient. I liked it better when the lines between each shade were distinct. I really like how the candle turned out! However, I noticed after I had completed the painting that I had painted the tabletop in the background at the wrong angle (due to the fact that I painted the background after I had completed the candle). First lesson learned: Always paint things in the background FIRST!
Color Wheel Exercise
Pretty self-explanatory. We started with a basic color wheel at the top. Note: The reason my purple looks so dark is because I was using a strange type of blue (Phthalo Blue, I believe). There are different types of even the primary colors, and each one will react differently when mixed. At the bottom we had to do two different types of the vertical color gradients. Lines 1, 3, and 5 are shading gradients of the primary colors (light yellow to dark yellow, etc.), and lines 2, 4, and 6 are complimentary color gradients. Complimentary colors are the ones opposite each other on the color wheel (yellow & purple, red & green, and blue & orange). Mixing different complimentary colors equally results in different shades of brown (seen on the 4th gradient down on lines 2, 4, and 6). This was a very interesting study of how color works, and would have been fun except for the fact that it was so tedious!
Ah, my first real color project! Our professor set up a still life on a table by the window (which is seen in the upper left corner of my picture–slightly blue due to the heaps of Minnesota snow outside). The two bird-like objects in the foreground are lawn-ornament-type creatures, with pin-wheel wings that are supposed to spin in the wind. The object directly behind them should hopefully be recognizable as a fruit bowl (which is my favorite part of this painting). Behind and all around are the different random items in the still life setup–a clay pot, bottles, a black fur rug, a black plastic toy car, and candy bars. I really like how, for the most part, all the items are either black and white, or a soft shade of color. Then right in the middle are the vibrant colors of the fruit bowl. It kind of helps to offset the picture slightly, so the viewer doesn’t focus on just the birds or just the fruit bowl.
Another lady in my class was painting the still life right next to me, but at a different angle. However, her painting contained the bottom part of my lawn-ornament-birds, so this is how we displayed our two paintings in the hallway:
Why in creation is it called the Google Project?? Well, Google Maps has a feature called “Street Side View” in which you can go almost anywhere in the world and look at what’s alongside the road. Our assignment was to pick a place anywhere in the world and copy the picture and paint it just as it was, even it had distracting things like people or cars in it. Some of the students didn’t like having people or cars blocking out what they thought was the focal point of their picture, and so they would remove them when they were painting. However, having the people and other real-life objects in the picture was the whole point of this painting. We were supposed to be like those street side painters who would stand in the middle of a busy town and paint exactly what they saw, no matter how crowded or messy it was. Only, we got to do it from the comfort of our classroom with the technology of Google Maps. Below is an example from one of my favorite painters, Thomas Kinkade.
Here is the street side view that I found. This is from Edinburgh, Scotland, and the statue is the monument to the Duke of Wellington.
And here’s how my painting turned out! I love how the building turned out, but I was a little disappointed in the horse and rider statue. I kept redoing and redoing, but couldn’t get it to look quite like I was hoping. I also love the theme of blue that kept returning in this picture. Both men’s shirts were blue, the blue sky was reflected in the windows, the flag in the upper right corner was blue, and there were even some blue colored items inside one of the windows! So, I signed my name in blue as well!
Actually, it wasn’t just ambition that motivated this painting. Someone I know asked me to copy a painting by Paul Klee that they really liked, and offered to pay me for doing so. Otherwise I probably would not have done this painting, as this type of abstracted art is not my favorite. This was a fun painting to do, though, as it is extremely geometric (complicated by the fact that I was copying a square original onto a rectangular canvas!). The color layout is also very eye appealing, and it was fun to figure out how to create the “dirty” look of the original (a secret which I won’t reveal)! 🙂
Here’s the original:
And here’s mine (sorry, the photo of it is slightly blurry). Which do you like better, mine or Paul Klee’s? Oh, and for those of you who don’t like abstractions any more than I do, I think it’s supposed to be a balloon rising over a city. The title is Red Balloon, so that’s the best I can come up with!
This was a hard project to start. I’m a realist painter, and I really don’t like abstract art. I can paint almost anything if I have a picture or object for reference. So, I decided to do something simple and try to keep it clean and careful. I didn’t want to just slop a bunch or colors on my canvas and mix them around and call it good. Instead I stuck with basic shapes and colors, and did my work very carefully. If an abstract isn’t going to reference something tangible, I think it should at least depict an idea or message. I decided to do mine on sunshine and shadow. If life were all sunshine and happiness, we wouldn’t appreciate it as much as we do when we also experience times of shadow and sorrow. I also added the varying purple dots on the black lines to give the picture some more vibrancy and uniqueness. I loved how it turned out, but what did my teacher say? “Too careful. Needs to have something unexpected.” In other words, it needed to have some paint slopped on it and mixed around. Sigh…. The whole philosophy behind abstract art just isn’t my thing! (I did get a good grade, though).
This was a really fun project. I’ve always wanted to paint a fire. How much more fun to paint a 3-D fire! The whole concept behind the mixed media project is to make a painting with abnormal mediums. Anything goes in this genre, so long as it isn’t the typical paint on canvas. I decided to paint my 3-D fire on plexi-glass!
Pretty neat, huh?! It’s actually 3 layers of plexi-glass, hot-glued together with spacers. Since plexi-glass is see-through, you can hardly tell that there are multiple layers, but there are.
Here’s the front:
Here’s the middle: (And, by the way, I didn’t fully paint the log. I printed out a picture of a log off the computer, glued it on there, and added paint overtop.)
And here’s the back:
All put together!
Final Project on Handmade Canvass
I got to make my own canvas in this class! I wish I had gotten a picture of it–I mean, before I painted on it! 🙂 Ever since I started this class, I was hoping for an opportunity to paint a picture of Cheeper, the baby robin that we raised, in flight over our home. Well, the opportunity came in the form of our final project, in which our teacher said that we could paint anything we wanted, so long as it was on our handmade canvas. Here is what I came up with. I’m hoping to use it as a cover picture on my upcoming book titled Cheeper. And, yes, that is basically what a juvenile robin looks like.
This was my first time trying to depict foliage. It wasn’t until I was redoing the bushes on the left (for the umpteenth time) that I realized that my technique was wrong. Instead of varying the hue of green to create depth, I should have been varying the shade of green. So, while the bushes turned out fabulous, I was already done with the surrounding foliage, which does not look as realistic as it could. There were also a number of things in the yard that are out of proportion (our house is definitely not that small, and our mailbox should also be larger, while the tree by the garden is way to big!). Still, this is my above-all favorite from painting class! I will cherish it as long as we’re on this earth as a memory of the little robin we raised, and of my childhood home.
So, what do you think? Which were your favorites?