Southwest Landscapes Re-Cap

The beauty of a southwest landscape by embracing a sense of place and observing the colors of earth and sky, this was our world for 6 weeks.  A group of students from various backgrounds gathered together and shared the experience of making art in the historic art school we call BEMIS.  A few had painted before, others had not, but with some tools, instruction, and confidence each one set out on a painting journey.

The underpainting was a layer of orange which you can see pictured here.  The range of color in the underpaintings was like a rainbow full of a variety of hues. Such is the beauty of mixing color, any variation in combinations produces something different.  The underpainting produced a glow which worked well with the subject matter and also eliminates the stark white blank canvas.

Students used a variety of photographs and pictures of paintings for inspiration.   By developing soft edges, hard edges, texture, color, perspective, line, and shape the paintings began to reflect each individual’s style.  As an instructor, this is my favorite aspect of the process; encouraging the pursuit of style.  Each artist has an intuition with regard to brush strokes, imagery, color preference, and design.  Mastering skills is secondary to trusting the intuitive process… in my opinion.  Somewhere along our journey, this intuition can shut down because of a critical voice, giving it wings again takes courage, persistence, and experience.  I love encouraging this process in my classes.

Each student completed one painting during the duration of the class.  I also incorporate art journal exercises such as thumbnail sketches, an abstract charcoal line drawing, color wheel, simple landscape paintings and a collage landscape on a trifold black paper using my personal stash of gelatin printed papers and altered National Geographic papers.  Here are my samples of these exercises.

The charcoal line drawing with gesso and tint was inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe and southwest imagery.

And the tri-fold collage landscape exercise, front and back with a little Van Gogh inspired sky!

I suggested words to be added on the back side, maybe a quote, song lyrics, any thought or idea that came to mind…

C L E V E R …a little play on words…(Bemis is the school name)  so Jack came up with this..

get it?   beam us…up scotty   FUNNY!!! 

The best ingredient in any class is the people and this group was full of creativity, and a willingness to learn about acrylic painting.  When the session is over, there is a great sense of accomplishment, just look at their paintings!! And also a sigh…hard to see it come to an end.

That’s a wrap.. Southwest Landscapes..wonderful!   Kudos to all, you did an amazing job.  Until we meet again, keep creating, keep in touch, and enjoy what is NEXT.


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