Beginning Painting

“Painting is self-discovery. Every artist paints what he is.”

Jackson Pollock

Pollock was right; life influences art in significant ways. The literal sense of this quote is also true, though, in art classes where you’re assigned to create a self portrait.

Beginning Painting (AD200) is one of those classes, which I happen to be taking this semester. Our instructor, Victoria Stetler, has taught us much about the different aspects of painting, including color theory, form and individual style. A good example of these concepts in action is the master study assignment in which we replicate portions of work by three artists, one that paints in a similar style and two that don’t.

Personally, I found it rather difficult to create a likeness (to my standards) for the two painters that have different styles than myself. The two were Renaissance artists, Titian and Leonardo Da Vinci, and the smoothness and precision was tiring (Check out my previous blog post that features my Leonardo replication). Thomas Eakins, on the other hand, I was excited to replicate and I found the composition a lot easier, with a wide variety of value and color change (below).

This class has increased my understanding not only of my own style and preferences, but also other styles, which I believe has in turn allowed me to grow as a painter. Therefore, I was excited to see how Stetler has become not only the artist she is today, but also successful instructor.

Stetler was a non-traditional student for most of her education, and did not originally intend on teaching, she says that came later. The passion she has for art is apparent in her excitement for her students to learn and master different areas of fine arts, some of which she shared in a brief interview with me (below).*

Besides self portraits and the master studies, our class is also completing a layered painting of a theme of our choice. Stetler showed us her layered painting in an earlier class to better explain the assignment. Her piece was focused on the role of women in combination with clothing, sewing and housework. The final piece depicts overlapping layers of stenciled female figures, outlines of and old fashioned ironing board, scissors and linear samples of directions from sewing books. The center of the piece is a detailed depiction of a piece of cloth hanging on a clothes line, which she painted from a still life. This artistic combination of different elements creates a unique theme and prominent message to its viewers.

(Video to be embedded as soon as approved)

The atmosphere of our class is rather relaxed, and since we’re allowed to listen to music many of us have headphones in while we paint – hence the silence in much of the next video.

(Video to be embedded as soon as approved)

* The videos are private until I get Stetler’s approval



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