You Want ME to Do WHAT???

I signed up for three one-day workshops on colors; the first one was today, taught by Rose Shepherd, a popular Nelson painter/teacher. (And Ben's workmate Scott's Mum; I'm really getting used to these small-town degrees-of-separation.) I don't know what I was expecting, but I never expected to paint pictures, let alone in public, but we had to, and I did, for the first time in over 35 years. Thank goodness for the weekly figure drawing class, at least I didn't dither too long.

In the morning, we made a color wheel, confirmed what complementary and analogous colors were, made different values of the primary hues, painted a tiny piece of monochrome painting, (mine was a tiny pumpkin, but I wanted to make it purple), and recreated a tiny section of a painting from a book.

Rose brought about 50 art books. All my classmates were painters (some professional, meaning, they make a living from painting!!) and they all grabbed their favorites. I picked Egon Schiele, one of the forlorn leftovers on the floor. You know I like pretty things and happy art, so I don't need to tell you he's one of my long time "YUCK!!" lister, but I was absolutely taken by his colors for the first time. So I worked with two of his paintings.

I chose "Mother and Child" (1914) for my first, small recreation. I found the browns and the yellows too distracting, (and the expression of the mother disconcerting,) so I covered the whole page with a tiny window showing a narrow section. We only had 45 minutes for this task, and I was just getting started when everybody left for lunch. I saw so many colors in the child's red dress I could have gazed at it all day.

In the afternoon, we had the choice of painting still life, or working off of a book, and I chose a second Schiele, "Portrait of the Artist's Wife, Seated", 1918. Because I can't draw shapes, and I didn't want to waste time on worrying about shapes, I flipped it sideways and worked in this orientation. The more I looked, the more colors I found underneath the surface colors, so I felt I was working backwards, piling up colors I thought I saw below. In the end I ran out of time, and slapped on the lovely purples I had prepared first, but it will take me at least another day to finish this one. And that original painting must weight a ton.

Who would have thought I would ever show my paint concoction to any other living being!! But neither effort is finished, so I don't mind. Isn't that strange; am I becoming shameless in my old age? And I learned a few things, too: I now know how to make brown paint from primary colors+black+white; a particular green I like is not yellow+blue, but yellow+black!! And I learned that a lot of people find mixing purples difficult; not just me. Phew.


  1. What a wonderful experience! I had not thought about it but yes, I too find it difficult to get good purples. Or at least purples that I like. Strange--it shouldn't be that hard! Anybody have any explanations?

  2. Yes, I thought it was because I was fussy about purples, but Rose said a lot of people feel it's not an easy one to get right, and though she most often gets only primary colors, ready-made purples are something she splurges on. Also, if you paint, she recommended trying to use dark purple instead of black in places for more nuance.


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