Saturday, 24 January 2015

Painting Workshop - Prue Flint

It's been a good long while since I picked up a brush and so when there was an opportunity to spend a day chucking some paint around, I thought, 'Why the hell not?' I was sent a shopping list and off I went to find some stuff I'd not heard of, well maybe somewhere in the dark recesses of the grey matter, but I sure had not ever used it. I got the Gouache - still not game to say it out loud cos I sound like someone who lives near the duelling banjo people, in the 3 prescribed colours and a beautiful thick piece of rag paper, found my charcoals and brushed and sketch block and I was ready for the off.

I did forget the art block, so I arrived like the naughty kid at school, under prepared and more than a little nervous. The other women all seemed to know what they were doing, I  knew so little that I could not even begin to fake it. In all fairness the workshop was advertised as a Masterclass, so some arrogance was in play as I parted with the cash to secure my spot.

We had a life model and we started with 4 20 minute sketches. This was to limber up... all very well if you are up to date with your practice, but for me it was like some old arthritic loon who might have stumbled into an expert guru yoga experience. It was all legs and arms and smudges and lines and pleasure at the respite during the pose changes.

Finally the embarrassment of the sketching morphed into the slapping about of paint. Now this I know, or at least I thought I did. The push for today was to produce a tonal picture of a nude in a defined context. So there was all sorts of stuff in a set designed to resemble a sexy boudoir. There were cushions and palm trees and lamps and carpets and queen anne chairs and a little chaise chair.

I imagined an abridged version of the room with more modern stuff and much less of it and got cracking. The colours were all pretty muted and I could certainly see the purpose of blocking in tonal areas. I said to Steve it was excellent to be reminded of stuff that I used to know long ago.

The paint was a bit of a pain in the bum. It dried very quickly so it was difficult to cover a big area, but it was easy to paint over mistakes, and these were many and it somehow is good to draw onto as well. Because it dries so quickly, you can paint over and over without it going all sort muddy.

I found being limited to only 3 colours and the blends that are possible rather dull and longed to stab in some yellow or green or clear red, but I did as I was old. And the outcome is ok.

It is not finished. I am yet to do a face, and Prue kept saying that we needed to, 'earn the right to put in the detail.' by blocking in the rest first. But I have never thought that the detail was a bonus. I reckon the devil is in the detail. The pain in the arse is in the detail. The talent is in the detail and that is why my stuff has always lacked the detail.

Some of the work the other women did was pretty good. Some of it was like mine - must try harder, but we all seemed to enjoy the day and I rather imagine that Prue has enjoyed herself on her little Queensland Holiday which she co-ordinated with this class.

I will give some thought to finishing the piece off, maybe with the addition of some brights, but I rather doubt it will ever warrant an expensive frame.