Experimental Art Night at Art & Ideas Gallery with Shaqe Kalaj
Wow -- what a blast! Can you imagine ME drawing, and shading and then --
* gasp * -- painting, and with color?!?!
At tonight's Experimental Art Night the theme was micro drawing. I had no clue but I really love the relief printmaking class I am currently taking at Art & Ideas, and I enjoy taking classes and meeting other local artists and trying stuff...so yeah -- I was "in"!
Shaqe gave all of us a sheet of archival card stock. Then she gave us all the same enlarged detail of a photograph...enlarged enough so that you couldn't tell what it was. She had us give our impressions of what we saw, what it might be, the textures, the shapes, etc.
Then we made a frame on the paper and started to draw the basic shapes of what we saw...then we began focusing mainly on the changes in the shading and the light vs dark, the positive/negative areas, etc.
Look -- I initially thought I had copied the picture pretty well...but I only had 4 triangle-shapes at the bottom instead of 5...LOL.
I picked up mostly on the way the light area to the bottom left of the detail looked to me like a bird coming out from behind branches and a rock or something.
I tried really hard to keep a light hand and make a difference in the shades and just stop trying to figure out what the big picture was. That was very difficult for me. After a while I started to let go of thinking and just colored...then my hand started getting graphite-y and I found I could smear the colors...LOL...so I did.
I forgot to mention there were five of us plus Shaqe.
Next we looked at all of our drawings and discussed everyone's individual and different take on the task. Everyone was so successful but so unique!
Then Shaqe had us put the drawing aside and give back the detail/reference picture. She told us we were going to paint a new version from our drawing...again, focusing on the shapes and shading...but using COLOR and PAINT...yikes!
There were so many choices and colors -- I was a little panicky. I knew there was nothing for it, but to just do it. I tried to make the paint act as watercolor-y as I could. I wet the paper, I put just a dot of color on and tried to do a wash...hoping the paint would shade itself. How was I supposed to choose colors that would go together? How was I supposed to give colors to something I'd only seen as grays?
After I fought with the paint for a bit and realized it was going to win, not me, I gave in and just started playing more with the color I was most drawn to. I decided I would start with what sort of worked for me in the drawing -- we couldn't draw lines first...we just had to paint directly onto the paper. So I did the same thing as with the drawing...tried to let go of my iron grip ideas and just try and paint the bird.
The more I let go, the better it got. I found I could keep going back and layering on color(s). There are about 4 layers of green(s) on the dark parts and a really light green is the light part. While I was working on it, I was really disappointed with the lines and eye -- but after I was done I decided it was a part of the bird, not a literal copy of the lines from the drawing...so I began to like it.
I couldn't get the yellow-y color to go dark enough and there were lots of colors within that yellow-y container of paint...including a peachy streak...so I took that as a hint and started layering on a peachy color from another container. I was so hung up on the shading needing to be the same color -- like two or three colors of yellow -- then the peach color kinda sorta worked and I was kinda sorta amazed at the result.
Then we all did a show and tell and Shaqe held our drawing & painting so we could see it from a distance. It was so cool -- everyone's was SO different...and SO different from their drawing, yet you could easily match up everyone's drawing to their painting.
This class was SO fun! And I really enjoyed meeting the other artists.
You can take these Experimental Art Night classes separately or buy a "pass" and get a discount on 6 classes that you need to use up within 5 months. I am definitely getting a pass!
Art & Ideas Gallery is located right between Northville and Plymouth. If you are ANYwhere near here, and you want to have some fun with art, you really need to come and take this class!
P.S. -- the all-ages student show is still going on in the gallery -- come by and see the great work by artists aged 5-65...including one of my relief printmaking class prints! Check the website for details.