We’ve had a beautiful long weekend here in Melbourne, thanks to a little horse race known as the Melbourne Cup. It’s been such a luxury to have those extra two days away from work, and it feels like it’s been a week since I’ve thought about work! I’m not really looking forward to hearing my alarm tomorrow morning but I’m glad that I only need to get through three days in the office this week. I’m going to have to try pretty hard to not undo all this relaxation.
I had a few plans for this extra-long weekend, and the most important one was to get started on a painting to give to my Mum & Dad for Christmas. The two little apples above are what I came up with, and even though I’m only 95% sure that it’s finished I’m really happy with how they’ve come out. I’m looking forward to seeing how it will look framed and finding out where it will hang in my parents’ house.
Maybe they’ll just stick it on their fridge like they did back in the day!
I haven’t mentioned yet that I’ve started a new term of art classes at Melbourne Studio of Art and we’re almost up to week three. This term the class is being split between two teachers – Michael Gray for painting, and for drawing a teacher who is new to me, Ju-Yuen Chew.
I can already tell that Ju-Yuen is going to kick my butt where technique is concerned, and get me out of the tiny little comfort zone that I’ve developed in my first 8 weeks of classes. I learned so much in my first lesson with her, including how reliant I am on tonal work to make an object look believable. It’s really, really hard for me to just draw an outline, and this is something that I’m going to have to work on. Whether I like it or not!
In our last lesson we focused on negative space (ie. drawing the space between objects, rather than the objects themselves). It’s an exercise that forces you to really look at what’s in front of you rather than just trust what you already know about the shape of a cube, a sphere, a bottle etc. It’s an excellent problem-solving technique if you can’t figure out what’s “wrong” with the object you’re drawing.
Sometimes I forget that I’ve only been doing this for a short time. I know that I have come an extremely long way in only 10 weeks of lessons, and it’s something that I wish I had started when I was younger. I guess I always assumed that drawing was something that “other people” were good at, and now I know that it really is something that anybody can learn how to do. When I look at the work that my classmates present at the end of each lesson I realise that we are all basically kicking butt at this thing, and that’s really encouraging.
I realised the other day that I haven’t shared my very first drawing here, from the first class of last term. It’s pretty funny to look at, but it represents the absolute limit of my knowledge and ability just a couple of months ago. I dug it out today and photographed it so that I could remember how far I’ve come.
In contrast, this is my drawing from Week 1 of my second term of classes.
We didn’t have a class this week because of the long weekend, so I’m glad I managed to fit in some painting on my own at home. Next week is another drawing class, and then the week after that we’re back with Michael for painting.
Painting used to be something that I was terrified of, but not any more!
Oh! One more thing. This month I will be posting every day for NaBloPoMo – National Blog Posting Month. The name is silly (especially since it’s INternational these days!) but it’s a great motivator to bring you something new every day. I’d really love to hear from you in the comments this month, just to reassure me that I’m not talking to myself!