Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Today, I talked about composition with my beginners.  They are photographers and have good eyes for composition but I talked about what freedom painters have that photographers don't have to move and change and delete things from a photo (unless they are really good at PhotoShop and all those things and want to spend that amount of time in front of a computer screen).  I took a photo Sweetie had taken during a trip down to Cumberland Falls.  A simple photograph.  Nothing spectacular about it.

But it gave me a chance to talk about how artists lead the eye into a painting; how we can rearrange things, pushing some things back, bringing some things forward.  I didn't know I knew all this stuff and continually amaze myself!  (I guess I really did learn from all those teachers I had, from books and videos and real life teachers like Sandy Maudlin, Janet Rogers, Nick Simmons, Myrna Wacknov, and Carol Carter; and even the very intense online landscape classes I took from Johannes Vluithus who know teaches via WetCanvas). 

So this is the photo.

And this is the painting started today (on 9" x 12" Arches 140# rough watercolor paper).

I gave them a colored photo and a black and white version of the photo, then had them trace the shapes/elements in the landscape, making changes (like leaning that little tree on the left side into the painting not out of it), and noticing how the overarching trees frame the center of interest = that white patch on the water.  And I got to demo wet-in-wet painting and talk about atmosphere as well as dry brush painting and how to add colors to each successive pass still using dry brush (and how rough watercolor paper is great for this technique and good for landscapes in general).

I hope they are learning every day they meet with me; and I hope they are also having fun each time.  I think I learn something each time and I do enjoy it.

We won't finish this painting until next meeting, but I hope they may paint something on their own (perhaps more tree practice or a little landscape out their back door) between times. 


Gaylynn said...

Wow Rhonda! Thanks for your blog post today. I learned a few things myself :-) It is amazing when you begin talking to your students how much we have absorbed over the years. But, best of all that you were able to share it.

Vicki Greene said...

It sounds like teaching is allowing you to pull all of that knowledge you have gained over the years together into a very useful "package". Good for you!

Jeanette said...

Its good to share information with others who are starting their path on art. I know when I teach a workshop, its always a learning experience for me too in many ways.

CrimsonLeaves said...

This is looking amazing, Rhonda.

Teresa Palomar Lois said...

Teaching makes you think about it and put all that stuff in order, doesn't it? Ain't kind of fun putting into words all that knowledge you use subconsciously?

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, much, Gaylynn, Vicki, Jeanette. I guess we do know more than we think and we just use it subconsciously most of the time.

Thanks, Sherry and Teresa :) It does make one think to articulate what you know - to bring it all into words someone else will understand. I hope I'm doing that, a little at a time.

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Sounds like a great workshop! Lucky students :)

http://carolking.wordpress.com said...

I've missed so much, I have to catch up. I see you're teaching a class. Good for you. I know my teachers always say they learn so much when they teach. Your students get the benefits of all your knowledge and you get the benefits of having to organize and articulate your thoughts.

Would love to take your class.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Pam. It's a bi-weekly class that will go on until they get tired of me :)

Carol, I'd love to have you join us! So sad that so many artists live too far away to visit :( But that's the fun of the internet, though - bringing all artists together and helping us make friends we may still never meet face-to-face.