Last Acrylic Abstraction class Wednesday evening at Glebe Collegiate Institute. My students never cease to amaze me with their talent and enthusiasm. This class was no different. All have been producing excellent pieces and feeling much more comfortable experimenting with ideas, and that's what it's all about. My philosophy is that it's great to experiment and if it turns out well, frame it and sell it... if it turns out not so well, throw it back into the pile for painting something else on. Quite often a failed piece is only failed until you apply another technique on top of the failed one, creating a layered effect and redeeming the original failed piece.
Actually, I think that might make a great one-day workshop... bring your failed pieces and let's make them part of a successful work of art! What do you think? If you like the idea let me know. If enough people like it I'll make it happen. It would be a lot of fun, don't you think?
Thursday was the last class in the spring session of Acrylics and Oils and also my evening Beginners Painting Class. It's always fun to hear what students have planned for their summer, but it's also sad that some will be moving away. Goodbyes are said, phone numbers exchanged and new friendships are formed.
In between my classes today I stopped in at the vernissage of an art exhibition put on by a number of my former students: Darlene Provost, Anny Huber and Josée Larocque (also joined by Joanne Beaubien, Norm Goddard and Robert Gudgeon). The exhibition is at Urban Ottawa Art, 115 Beechwood Avenue in New Edinburgh and worth going to see. There is a "Meet and Greet" on Sunday, June 12 from 2 to 4 PM.
Today's Painting Tip: Hard and soft edges.
When I was into my ultra-realism work I faithfully reproduced photos on canvas. Lots of hard edges, as cameras are want to produce. Since then, thanks to learning more about advanced composition, and I don't mean the composition using mathematical formulas and geometry, I came to understand how changing edges can really improve a painting.
Here's a little exercise that can help you understand. Focus your eyes on your actual subject matter and then pay attention to what you see in your peripheral vision. If you keep focussed on your subject you will notice that what is in the periphery is less defined with softer edges. By recreating that in a painting it helps to draw the viewer to your subject matter... what you are showing the viewer, what story you are telling.
Softer edges can be broken lines, rather than hard lines; they can be blending of colours; they can be the cooler, grayer colours and diminished definition of aerial perspective. They can be a soft shadow rather than a hard shadow created by a strong light source. In the end, it's all about varying hard and soft, strong and weak, bright and subdued... a variance of visual delights for the viewer of your work. It will keep your viewer interested in your work for longer, perhaps even to the point of making a purchase.
While I have been working on a second maple leaf painting, it is not yet ready for publication, however, I did promise a maple leaf painting and I have one to show you.