Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Painting Class

So, many times since I've started this blog I've talked about my painting class.  They actually, both the blog and the class, started at about the same time, I think.  I had been taking painting classes at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle since late 2000, or maybe early 2001 - and then had taken a break to have a baby in 2004.  By then I was completely in love with painting.  I still am.  Put a big canvas in front of me, some music on the stereo, and I can completely lose track of time, forget my coffee, forget lunch, forget everything.  It's not until I stop that I realize I'm thirsty, hungry, and my back and feet are aching!

After being a stay at home mom with only one car in the household for 2 years, I was going stir crazy.  I was on the computer one night perusing craigslist and for the first time noticed the "community" section. I saw that they had an "artists" section and decided to check it out.  Inside it was a bunch of posts, much like the "for sale" section that I was used to, but these were all art related posts.  "Art opening tonight at..." and "Looking for artists to start a salon night..." That type of thing.  One caught my eye, it was someone looking for oil painting students for a class in her studio.  On a whim - without even consulting the DH - I responded that I was interested.

What a stroke of luck that was!  The painter was Gini Lawson, and I have never had a better painting teacher.  She's a born teacher on top of being a truly brilliant artist.  She has an extremely discerning eye and is articulate enough to be able to explain what she sees with intelligence and humor.  That's her in the blue shirt, on the couch, in the first pic.  All these photos were taken in her studio during classtimes.  Behind the book is Rachel, and sitting on the coffee table is LuAnne.  The painting in the background is, obviously, one of Gini's.

This is a painting that I'm working on.  The little girl is my grandmother in front of her house.  That house is still there, about 45 miles from where I live now.  I'm painting it from a photograph that I printed from an old negative when I was in college.  Naturally, it's in black and white.  Translating that to color has been somewhat difficult, but I"m starting to get the hang of it.  If you're thinking to yourself, "Why does her grandmother have a goatee?"  It's because she does have a painted one!  Gini was showing me where I needed to contour and scale down her features.  I've been putting off working on that part because I'm going to have to repaint the entire face.  Sigh...

This photo was taken before the one above, I hadn't filled in the house yet.  All the paintings you see are Gini's.  If you could see them close up you would not believe how adept she is with light!  Wow!  Check out her blog and look at the blonds, it's amazing.  The little work set-up is Dan's.

The painting in the foreground, with the red-orange background, is mine from a past class.  I had left it there to dry and never got a chance to pick it up.  It's the best work I've ever done, but it is far from completed.  We worked from a model that time.  Below is a pic I took of it at home.  The weird halo effect is there because I had to reduce the size of the ginormous head I had given her!  A regular mistake of mine.  It could be good, but I don't know if I'll ever finish it.  I didn't take a picture of the model at the time.  I really should have.  Everything I do now would be making stuff up.  With this I kind of feel like being true to real life.

This is my friend Rachel.  Rachel, Dan and I have been in Gini's Saturday classes together since the beginning.    Rachel is as cute as can be, she sometimes wears sandals with heels to paint in.  Oh, to be that young again!  If you are on facebook, here is her finished painting.

The paintings along the back wall there are from Gini's Thursday class, she runs it Atelier style in that you can start or stop at any time and pay for whatever number of class hours you want.  (I hope I'm describing it correctly.)

This next picture is of Dan.  It's funny, the three of us have been in more than a couple classes together and we all have such different styles.  (The painting behind him is one of Gini's, I didn't get a picture of his for some reason.)  I know at a glance whose is whose.  
This is Gini passing out some sort of cool solvent or something and giving her excellent advice to Dan. (a small note: Luanne was gone the day I took the pictures of everyone working on their paintings, so there's only the one picture of her.  Sorry, LuAnne!))

This is Gini's work corner.  Look at all those brushes!  Ooh!  I'd feel rich with that many brushes, wouldn't you??? (there may be a better view of the brushes in the pic above)  This is the beginning of the painting she's talking about on her blog.  Look at that line-up of paint tubes on the second shelf - I'm in art heaven just looking at that corner.  (Can you tell that I have no studio?  Cramming myself into the corner of the dining room on a little, portable, gift wrapping table just doesn't compare to this spacious, light-filled room.)

I looooooooove taking painting classes from Gini.  It's so nice to be somewhere where all you have to do is focus on art.  We talk about art.  We look at pictures of other artists' work.  We make art.  There's no phone, no kids, no laundry, no demands on your time at all - except from your canvas.  It can be hard, and I by no means feel confident in what I do.  But when I leave there I feel rejuvenated - and more myself in every way.

*Please note, all works are wholly owned and copyrighted by the stated artists.  No reproducing, copying, or sharing of the images in any other format without the express permission of the artist is allowed.


ArtSnark said...

How cool is that! Sounds like a wonderful & inspiring escape from the world.

Really like the reclining halo lady. I think you should go for it & finish!! The halo looks cool,gives her a modern-day madonna look (not the singer).

Jo Archer said...

So glad you are enjoying your class. You are lucky to have such a talented tutor. Your painting is looking great too. (Even Grandma goatee!) : )

slommler said...

What a wonderful tour of Gini's studio. And her paintings are marvelous! Your paintings are wonderful too. I love the lady in the red dress!! Thanks for sharing your fabulous art soiree!!

PCarriker said...

Lovely work and what a great place to paint! It looks so cool, maybe I need to move back...