Believing I would have a class full of women, it actually turned out that the class was full of care givers.
My three-day oil painting workshop in Dahlonega, GA was a cause for concern because when I left home I wasn’t feeling well, and by the time my wife and I arrived at The Art Loft in Dahlonega 2 1/2 days later, I was feeling even worse. Being one that has a difficult time asking for help, I did in this case request prayer from my Facebook friends. I’m still not absolutely sure what was wrong with me. I had all the typical flu symptoms, plus something else was going on which I thought might be digestive. Later, I think it was more accurately diagnosed by one of my students as a sciatic nerve issue. Whatever the case, it was a difficult, painful situation.
“Living on earth can be a bummer, but it does include a free trip around the sun”.
Anita Elder hosted my three-day workshop at The Art Loft…a comfortably sized studio space attached to her lovely home…kind of in the woods on Elder Drive. Anita is a wonderful hostess to her instructors and workshop participants, providing a nice experience for all.
The theme of the workshop was “Deconstructing the Landscape”. It’s a fancy way of teaching what I always teach…but with a twist. Normally over three days, I will instruct students on the basics of creating a successful painting: concept, composition, drawing, value, color, and technique. Students will take the lessons taught and create a painting. In “Deconstructing the Landscape”, students bring an existing painting and apply the principles taught to reconstructing and improving their painting.
After the initial greeting and introductory remarks, I asked the students to draw and render in perspective a cube, cylinder, cone, and sphere while showing the construction lines. Finally, when completed, they were to put a border around their renderings.
The purpose was to reveal to me and to them their understanding and ability, or lack of, concerning the critically important basics of composition, drawing and value.
Each block of teaching was followed by a demo and then students were asked to apply lessons learned to their own work.
Although color is a lot of fun for most students, and they want to dive right in with a palette full of color, I withheld the discussion of color until the importance of value was understood. Value creates the mood, and all color falls somewhere on a gray scale of white to black. My demo began as a monochromatic painting, using only raw umber. Only on Day 2, after applying teaching from the day before, observing my monochromatic demo, and then creating their own, was an extensive lecture on color given…followed by my color demonstration.
One thing I ask of my students is that they do what I ask of them. Fortunately, I have always had enthusiastic classes, and this group was no exception. They were a great group, eager to learn and very receptive to lessons taught. I enjoyed each one of them and deeply appreciate their comments regarding the workshop.
Summary of Class Comments
“The workshop was so much more than I expected. Your concept, compositions and color theory brought me to the next level. Please come back.”
“The workshop was fantastic! Your material was so well thought out and organized. You presented it so clearly and illustrated the points with demonstrations. Great job!”
“The workshop was amazing. You not only have a gift for painting but a gift for teaching as well. You covered so much material in three days and I really feel like I grew as a person and artist. I am so excited about making art and learning more. Thank you for your guidance and insight.”
John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master
To view his art and bio, please click HERE