The theme of the painting convention I attended last week was “Dreaming in Color.” It was amazing. The Northwest Toleliners chapter of the Society of Decorative Painters puts this on every two years in Seattle. On alternating years the Raindrop Chapter has theirs in Portland. They had a butterfly and dreamcatcher thing going on. Each of us received a hand-painted butterfly pin to wear during the convention. They were so beautiful.
Here’s a look at the classes I took and what I learned (Warning – this is long… but has pretty pictures!):
Paint & Pencil Giraffe with Erika Joanne Frei
This was my first time working with colored pencils. We painted the base, then did all of the shading with prismacolor pencils. It was different, but once I got the hang of it, I was hooked! I’m not great at floating colors for shading. This gives me an awesome alternative. I will definitely be trying it with other projects I do. Erika was a great teacher. Just the right amount of chatter while we worked to give us more information, but not uselessly ramble on (like I tend to do…) and get annoying. She walked around to us to make sure we all caught on to what was happening, and assuage our fears that it would never work. The first few layers took a lot of faith to think it would ever turn out well.
Spicebush Swallowtail with Karen Hubbard
Here’s an example of floating. All of the flowers and leaves on the lilac bush are with a floating technique. Karen’s technique, which is quite popular, is not the way I learned. And I’ve discovered I’m no better at it than the way I learned! I do like the way this turned out for the most part. I think I may go back and work a little colored pencil into the lilacs and get them the way I really want. But I love the butterflies.
October Pickins with Mary Owens
This and the giraffe are my favorites. Mary’s class was also a totally new technique for me. This is done with oil roughing. It was my first time working with oils, and I was expecting a smelly, globby mess. Not at all! Mary uses a projector to put the pattern on the surface. It’s the same one cake decorators use. We used a technical pen to put the outline on, then used the same ink from the pen and a fan brush to do the ferns. Spray that to dry it, and you’re ready to start with the oils. We used really only a little oil paint, and only four colors total! It was fun to mix my own colors and see how mixing the same four colors can give you such a variety. No two paintings were really even close. We started with a liner brush and then used blender brushes to move the paint on our surface and give us the shading we wanted.
I asked my mom, who has a projector and has taken Mary’s classes before, why on earth she hadn’t told me about this sooner. I loved it! I bought the brushes I need (my mom has the oil set) so we can do more. We bought a super cute snowman pattern to put on the back of this (the board in the frame is reversible!) for winter. I would take classes over and over from Mary.
Santa Ornaments with Maxine Thomas
This was my Friday night class. I liked Maxine as a teacher. This wasn’t really a new technique for me, but it is the way I paint most and I couldn’t resist Santa on these little tin ornaments. This class was hard only because I missed part of it having an asthma attack in the hallway. I surprised everyone (mostly myself) by coming back in and actually finishing my pieces. Maxine showed us some of the techniques she uses on all of her Santas. I really liked that – we finished these, but we can use the techniques learned to make different Santa images. And I do love me some Santa decoration around Christmas time!
Wasp Passage with JoAnn Karpf
This one was also a completely new way of painting for me. We used these Artist Colors to paint. I’ve never done the whole “now grab some of this color, and some of this color, and then leave your brush dirty and grab some of this color, and really just slap it around your canvas until you’re happy” painting. Until about halfway through the class I was not really liking it. Then suddenly something clicked and I started really having fun with it. I was convinced I was going to go home and throw this one away, but I actually like the way it turned out. Not sure it’s really the style I would paint in a lot, but I would definitely do it again. I was also a little unsure of JoAnn as a teacher at first – but that’s probably my fault. My mom and I walked into class right as it was starting, so we were kind of rushing to get set up and not fall behind. Once I calmed down and settled in, I discovered I really enjoyed her teaching style. She gave us all some general direction, and then really spent the rest of the time walking around to us individually giving us pointers and really working on improving our technique.
Lots of good times. I have one more project to do from the class I missed Saturday morning. But let’s be honest, I will probably not get to it until after the holidays. I’m looking forward to seeing what classes will be offered next year in Oregon. We’ll just see how long I can make it work going to a painting convention that is held over my daughter’s birthday every year…
Stay tuned this weekend for some big exciting news!