What a challenge this course is! I finished the previous module on Still Life feeling that I’d made real progress in the handling of washes, colour associations, tone and composition only to be thrown into the new module, PAINTING OUTSIDE, where everything appeared to take me back to the beginning. I realised that the Still Life genre had been a preparation for seeing and analysing all of the above elements but then trying to apply this to the outside image was like going from the micro to the macro.
I spent weeks trying to get to grips with this new challenge. Seeing the different tones and the effect of light was one thing but trying to express this with the paint was quite another. The greatest challenge as always was the control of the paint. It wasn’t until half way through and many failed attempts that I began to get some control.
It came with the exercise on Building a Picture. I began as always with the pencil to find my way into the image and it was a part of the garden which I know very well. The effect of the light was very clear and the composition of the trees and shrubs around the studio produced a lovely composition. As I sat outside looking at the scene, all of the tonal values fell into place and I didn’t have to struggle to find them. I found myself experimenting with mark making and different ways of applying the paint, all of which gave a wonderful loose image. The previous weeks of struggle and frustration just fell away! I learnt in that moment, that we don’t always know how much we are learning and, that so much can be gained through the failures and the frustrations.