Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Little Time to Paint

Well, I haven't been here in a long while, but I thought I'd stop in and drop a few words on the page. As per usual, real life seems to keep me from doing things I really enjoy, like writing screenplays and short stories, riding my motorcycle and playing golf. But strangely enough, over the last couple of months I was able to get in some painting classes with Covington, La. based artist, Gretchen Armbruster. What a blast! 

During my first classes in January, I was able to create a nice colorful marsh landscape. It's based on a painting I saw in a magazine. At 16 x 20, it's much smaller in scale than the original. I thought it turned out fairly good for my first ever oil painting. Actually, this is my first ever painting of any kind! I've drawn all my life and have some decent ability, but mixing colors has always scared the hell out of me, so I avoided it. Gretchen did a wonderful job settling my nerves and keeping my confidence level up. I'm not a big fan or orange, but it sure seemed at times this painting was all orange all the time. 

My experience with Gretchen was so enjoyable, I signed up for a second class in May. I chose to copy a lovely piece by local New Orleans artist Billy Solitario called Rain Over Horn Island. At first glance this seemed like a straight forward cloud painting. I figured I would throw a bunch of blues and whites on the canvas and it would be a rather quick painting. Wrong! This painting was filled with color, movement and a mix of soft and hard edges that made for a difficult piece. (for me, not Mr. Solitario!) I struggled to capture the depth of the massive cloud. Again, I was working on a 16 x 20 canvas and a smaller scale than the original which is 36 x 36 and that may have had something to do with, talent or lack of talent was the real issue, but I pushed through and finished the painting. I was pleased, but see areas I know I could improve upon. I liked it so much I decided to give it to my mother for a late Mothers Day gift.

Now that I have a couple of paintings under my belt, my plan is to paint more. I really like oil's so I think I will concentrate my efforts on learning the medium as best I can. Landscapes interest me, and I'll continue to explore those for awhile. Hopefully real life will give me some time to work on this fun hobby.

To see Gretchen's wonderful artwork and learn how to take classes from her, visit her web site here:

To check out the amazing artwork of Billy Solitario visit his website to be inspired!