Monday, September 10, 2012

An artistic discovery!

Mom the artiste!
I tend to leave my Mom back in California while I explore life in other states. She happily lives with my wonderful stepfather in SoCal but they have visited me in New Mexico, Arizona and Arkansas.  Mom visits us in Arkansas twice or three times a year.  

Last month (August), was the first time I was able to introduce Mom to a farmer's market that takes place at the Bentonville Square every Saturday since we moved to our new neighborhood last fall.  We bought organic vegetables and some colorful zinnias that I was simply dying to get home and paint!

Our house is undergoing a lot of small to medium construction right now so I was distracted and short on energy.  I began to set up a colorful approach to painting the zinnias with acrylics on Yupo because I couldn't find my watercolor palette.

Sadly and almost immediately, I lost my interest after I painted a couple flowers.  When I was a kid I've had opportunities to watch a couple artists paint on their canvas (my brother in law and my cousin's boyfriend who she married), they seemed to really enjoy it!  I enjoyed watching them when there were opportunities and I used to imagine them inviting me to participate and hand me the brush.  So with that thought, I turned to Mom who happened to be watching me paint and I nonchalantly handed her my brush and suggested she finished the painting for me. My instruction: "Just paint what you see, however you want to paint and don't worry about ruining it, just enjoy!  Call me if you need my help.  Keep your palette moist and your brush wet."  She was a good sport and grabbed a stool and sat down and painted!

Occasionally I'd look over when she needed encouragement.  I'd remind her to pay attention to the different shades of the same color.  Pay attention specifically to the lightest and darkest. PAINT WHAT YOU SEE!
Zinnias on yupo taped on board
Above image is her first painting!  I painted the 2 bottom left ones, she painted the rest!  She totally painted the purple flower from her imagination!

One of the construction people was admiring my art on the wall and spotted Mom's painting on the couch.  He came up to me and asked me how much I'd charge him for a painting of those happy flowers!  After a few questions back and forth I realized he really wanted a painting like MOM's!!!  He wanted it for his wife "Sunflowers!" he requested.  So I/we accepted the commission and I had Mom paint him a happy sunflower painting :) acrylics on canvas.

Painting background
Drawing with brush!
Finally painting!
Acrylics are forgiving which enabled Mom to concentrate on each stage.  She painted the background first using one color with white so she can touch it up easily if she needed to do so later.  Then I outlined the sunflower discs on the canvas for placement and she outlined the petals.  I hope she retains the confidence in painting with brush vs relying on pencils first because I think her strength is her confidence and drawing in pencils first might hamper that.  As she painted, I pointed out that she needed to choose one flower as the "star flower"!  It will be the brightest and sharpest.

Mom stayed up until MIDNIGHT painting!  This was a woman who always gave me hell for staying up late painting!!!!

Mom's Happy Sunflowers
The painting was ready to hang when the client picked it up and he was quite pleased!  That evening his wife was working late so he planned to cook dinner and present her the painting to hang in her office :)

Mom outline painting #3
Certainly a moment I wanted to remember always!  She was on the last week of her visit and seeing how creating art was holding her interest, I needed to make some definite imprints and nurture this as effectively as I could with little time left. 

We had daily lessons of lectures and exercises.  We talked about the color wheel and primary/secondary/tertiary/complementary colors.  She painted them in her sketchbook.  We lightly touched on perspective.  I wanted to emphasize a limited palette and showed her how she can paint most colors she'd ever need with primary color tubes + white.  Took it a step further and showed her the difference between hot and cool limited palettes.  All this while she tackled her last painting with my supervision. I made her stay close to me as we made her composition materialize.  Applying her lessons on limited palette, I only gave her 3 colors to start plus white.  She mainly needed help in being able to see twists and turns and helping shapes show volume.  I think these three paintings showed big steps in progress which tells me Mom is an artist! :D

Mom used the fee she got from "her client" and bought art supplies that were delivered to her in California and some she bought from Practical Magic Art Supplies which is a new art store in our neighborhood!
Alice's Sunflowers
Mom's set up in California