A Week In My Art Studio || 7–13 April 2019

A reporter once asked me: “What makes your working week special?”. Well, two things really: lots of time behind the easel and seeing you happy and content when you are working behind yours!

I think I do experience some of those special moments every week but sometimes I can also sense feelings of frustration and even disappointment. As a teacher I find it quite difficult but the truth is it probably makes me a better teacher, because it is forcing me to think about how I can convey the message better. How I can make you see, understand and create better paintings. The expectations, whether too high, unrealistic or simply different, are, I believe, the cause of the problem. If we could just leave the expectations at home and enjoy the present moment, trusting our feelings, hands and eyes, we would have more fulfilling painting experiences. It is easy to be happy when all is going well and very hard to feel the same when the painting is not evolving the way we would like it to.

To manage these feelings, I would like you to remember this – “If you feel frustrated or unhappy it only means that the painting is not finished. You did not fail, take a break and work on it a bit longer.

Thursday was my first day of teaching in the Art Club, as well as the last day of the “Landscape with Palette Knife” four week course, followed by Friday and Saturday classes. Lets have a look at a few finished works from the students;

Two very successful palette knife paintings by Chris and Daniela, based on last weeks demonstrations. Both are in oils but acrylic would also be very suitable for this loose colourful expressionistic work.

Here we have a mixture of brush and palette knife oils by Mimi and Leigh. Mimi used palette knife in the foreground, so the texture and colour make the fire a strong focal point. In Leigh’s seascape work, palette knife is used in 95% of the painting and brush is only used to bring the softness and subtle movement to the water and to the wet reflections in the sand.

This creative work by Emilia reminds us how important the visual impact of the idea is. Ideas are all around us, we just need to look and be ready to capture them and that is what Emilia has done.

Well let’s be honest, the best way is to take your own photos if you can. Your own visual and other experiences cannot be acquired by using someone else’s images. The emotional attachment to the places, people or other subjects is irreplaceable. Your best art will often come from a reference that you captured.

Have your camera/ phone in your bag/car/pocket all the time. The sky changes every day, trees have beautiful and interesting shapes and textures and so do rocks, flowers and foliage. Our pets and any other animals don’t mind if you take pictures. Cities and landscapes are there to be captured. Make different folders on your computer and keep the images separated for future use.

(More about where to get your ideas in the next blog!)

Fantastic results from the landscape palette knife course. We almost got lost in the rocks but then simplified the lower part of the image and brought the attention back to the main area. Same image – 4 different interpretations. Well done!

A few more images to celebrate your creativity and it is time to say goodbye. I am taking a short break from teaching and the studio will reopen again on 1st of May with a life drawing session.

Jana Vodesil-Baruffi