My May was taken up with classes. I took a studio practice/critique class from Hamlett Dobbins at Flicker Street Studio for five weeks, and taught Painterly Sketching there for two weeks, then in June taught a workshop, Sketching Outside In.
I signed up for Hamlett's class because I felt like my studio practice needed a jump start or a reboot or something. After taking a break from oil paint and focusing on watercolor and ink last year, I'm ready to work with oils again but didn't want to fall into the same rut with it. And I needed to figure out how to focus on a new artwork story - what narrative will I be following to create new paintings?
So I took this class hoping for some real answers about how to figure out what to do and how to do it.
But of course no one can tell me that but myself.
But Hamlett showed us work by other artists and talked about how they work and why, and the other students in the class talked about why and how they were making their work (Mary K VanGieson's crocheted saw, below), and it got me set on some heavy thinking about what I want to work on and why I want to work on it.
Fortunately I did find answers for both of those and I completed some tasks to help me start to work on some new paintings, such as rearranging my studio so that my easel has its own spot, cleaning off my table, and making sure my paints are within easy reach. I also established "studio colors" - the colors that I have become accustomed to working with in watercolor. I shored up my oil paint supply and my gouache supply so that I don't have to change my paint-mixing routines when I'm working in a different medium. I made a chart of the studio colors with oil paints - each color mixed with each other color (below). I decided to break my own rule about mixing all of my colors from warm and cool reds, yellows, and blues.
So I was all set to go, then I had my own class to teach - Sketching Outside In - missing a couple more studio nights. But that’s okay, because I was able to do several sketches for demos. It was also a very small class, which gave me time to do some sketching while the class sketched.
These are demos that I sketched in pen at the Botanic Gardens, and painted with watercolor in class.
And these are sketches I made in class, when we went outside to sketch, then came inside to add color and to sketch food. It is a very practical approach for sketching in the Memphis summer heat!