Painting workshop


Last weekend I indulged in a painting workshop aimed at exploring space and colour. I’ve been wanting to un-tether myself from drawing things you can recognise because I love colour and abstract work but haven’t been able to make the leap.

Well, I made the leap...I can now paint stuff which is totally unrecognisable. And some a four-year-old could do. At last...

The trick? Hunt for paints before a workshop and discover the forgotten heaps and heaps donated to you by kids who have left home.

Also search for paint brushes and discover a good fistfull including some voluptuously wide ones you didn’t know were there, also donated by the aforementioned kids.

Find cheap canvases likewise as per above ditto.

Lay everything out on the workshop table and when your teacher suggests you do a self-portrait, i.e. a representation of you and what you like etc, grab the widest brush and whack colourful paints on like mad.

At your teacher’s suggestion, ladle runny gesso (white base paint) onto another canvas then “make marks” in it with black paint. Swirl it around like fingerpaints.

Make lots of paintings but not for the end result, make them for the experience of being un-tethered.

Lay your work out at the end of the weekend and watch as people try to find something poitive to say about it. You sympathise. Prolific. Colourful. That one is a successful painting (the black and white finger-painting painting).

They can’t know that just using a voluptuously wide paintbrush instead of one with about sixteen hairs, THAT has been the success.

Now to make enough space in the house to lay everything out here and go nuts with colour!

My only disappointment with the workshop...the teacher suggested drawing over old paintings and leaving a bit of them showing through here and there so it looks like layers of meaning. I was cut. You mean, people only make it LOOK like there are layers of meaning? I assumed the layers we find in artworks are real for the artist...even if each of us finds our own interpretation. Is this just a trick used by artists in this young culture without its own depths, or just used by artists who paint to make decorative works rather than to say something, or maybe just taught by this teacher??

Food for thought.