Thursday, April 1, 2010

Last Class of "Outside the Box" Series

For the last four weeks, I taught a class called "Outside the Box," an extension of an eight-week Figures and Faces series I taught at the local Senior Center.  During the first eight weeks, we learned a few fundamentals of drawing and painting figures in pretty traditional ways.  The students wanted more at the end of the series, so I said we could do another four week course that would have a "what the hell" quality to the lessons, so the students could feel looser and freer with their work. 

The first three weeks, we did some charcoal and wash characters that were free and loose, then some guoache theatrical ladies, then the fantasy, or the person they wished they were, and finally, the fourth week, clowns and circus characters.  As I had few clown references, I chose some from an old Walter Foster/Leon Franks how-to clown painting book from about 1970. I also showed the class a couple of circus people from Shirley Trevena's wonderful "Taking Risks With Watercolours" book.

I must say that I have never enjoyed teaching a class so much!  The students laughed and had the "what the hell" attitude, so they didn't fret and get wrapped around the axle about making a perfect painting.  For each of the pieces, there is a freshness and spontaneity that had been eluded when they were trying so hard to make their figures and faces just right. 

Enjoy the show!  We did!

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