11x14 inch watercolor on Yupo (sold)
I just finished three days of painting in a studio workshop. My friend Mary Ann Inman runs a series of art workshops called the School of Eclectic Art, and she happily accommodates artists in many media, and many skill levels. Because of her individual attention and positive attitude, she has many repeat customers. Lately her workshops have been held at the Fitchburg Senior Center, a lovely facility that also houses the city hall. While I have been retired from teaching for three years, I've not thought of myself as a "senior" and felt a wee bit strange driving there this week, where lots of folks were sitting reading newspapers or playing cards, nursing coffee or catching a reduced price lunch, or bowling on a Wii station. Upstairs there was a square dance session going on. I know, it's my issue, and I need to deal with it.
Our painting group was eclectic indeed, and certainly not my idea of seniors. Most were retired, though not all. Most were women, but a couple men painted too. Most worked in traditional watercolor, though some were working in mixed media or collage. I decided to paint on Yupo, a smooth synthetic paper that lifts very easily. I had two projects in mind, both suggested by online challenges. The more complicated one is a Florence street scene, and it needs more attention before I share. I'm fascinated by Google Streetview, and that is where the Italian scene originated. I also worked on a project for the Watercolor Passion challenge. This one is "stuffed animals," and instead of thinking stuffed toys I went with actual stuffed animals, taxidermy. Earlier this month a set of Mexican stuffed frogs playing instruments showed up at my local consignment shop, and I determined that they would be my subject.
I had an idea that I could lay in a loose and textured background, something a little drippy to go with the three amphibians, then I would lift out the frog shapes. As I painted them I occasionally misted them with clear water to make splotches. I had a great time, and I was pleased with the result, though I have no idea what to do with these critters now that I've submitted them to the challenge site.
Fellow workshop painter Cheryl Breunig completed several landscapes.
So now, after three days of work I have one and three quarters paintings done. Three days out of the house working just on art. Three lunches away from home, filled with interesting talk with people who also put lots of energy into making art. Three days of getting feedback on my work, and being inspired by other people's vision and skill.
I hope I can keep the momentum going.