Sep 7, 2016

Feedback and important lesson points

Here's a quick summary of some key points from the class I taught.

What I wanted to get across:
A good composition and a good pattern of light and dark is the foundation of a good painting! Details are just the highlights at the end! Don't rush into laying down color on the canvas - you need to first spend a couple of minutes thinking about the composition and value pattern - it's worth it!
You don't need to be an expert in perspective to get the key points right. Determine your horizon level and some of the vanishing points, remember where all the lines are heading, and it will make your viewing point more convincing and correct.

Audrey S.
This workshop was excellent!  I learned some things I could immediately put into use.  It was obvious that Ruth cared that her students learned what she was teaching.   Her style of instructing was such that I felt comfortable, relaxed and confident that I’d be taking home some good information.  I’m thankful for the experience.  Ruth is a pleasure! 
Your classes have been excellent.  I really enjoyed them and feel like I got a lot out of them.  I was wondering if you had time next week for a private lesson.  Your description of other classes is exactly what I’ve experienced  (I really hope that I taught more than just "paint like me, and then you have ONE nice painting", but then when you start your next painting, you will be lost.).  Yours was more helpful than all the others I’ve had put together.I really appreciate it and I look forward to seeing you sometime soon.

Georgia J.
Can not believe that I thought for years that flat brushes weren't for me and that a notan wasn't that important. thank you  Also I really enjoyed your enthusiasm and patience. Doing a demo was very helpful!! Best to you in your art career!

Bethany B.
Your class was fun!  Something I learned was how to apply oil paint in an impressionistic way for interesting skies and water!  Thank you Ruth! 

Joanna M.
I really enjoyed your class at the Artists' Workshop.  Obviously I learned quite a lot about 
getting the perspective correct and about really making sure the composition works.  I now see that there are many great photos that simply will not make a good painting - so, I liked your question "Why do you want to paint this?".
 For me, however, the biggest learning point was really understanding  that you need to do the quick sketch and then the notan so that the dark/light values are in place.  I always tend to just jump into the painting without taking the time to think it out.  I am already seeing a difference in the composition as I am completing my painting I started of the little cottage.  Yes, I really like my greens now that I am mixing and not using just sap green and thalo green from the tube! I don't know that you could change much about the class.  If it is longer than 4 sessions you might have to not specifically do composition and perspective but rather just do students individually painting with your assistance.  You might also possibly do a plein air class that is 2 or 3 days.  I personally liked the 4 session class with the specific topic. Thanks so much for your time and comments during the class.  I will see you at the Paint Out in October!

Audrey R.
I was hoping at some time I could get together with you on a 1:1 for a few hours.  I would like to talk to you more about composition.  Is this possible? You explain things in such a way that resonates with me.  Thanks.

Thanks to all my students, it was fun!

Composition and Perspective Class August 2016

I just finished teaching my first short-term class at the Artist Workshop in New Smyrna Beach. It was focused on Composition and Perspective, something that I believe everybody has or still struggles with.
Hallo! Ich habe gerade meinen ersten 4-woechigen Kurs im Artist Workshop in New Smyrna Beach vollendet. Ich unterrichtete die Prinzipien von Komposition/Layout und Perspektive, womit ziemlich viele Kuenstler Probleme haben.

In the first class I talked quite a bit about the principles of perspective and did some quick small sketches illustrating those on several reference photos of mine and the students. I also introduced the notan sketches as a small and quick way of deciding on a composition and seeing right off the bat if anything needs to be moved. Patterns in simple black and white are quick to do and tell so much. In addition, it gives you a map of what parts to keep dark because they are in the shadows, and what parts need to be light overall because they are in the sunlight. 
There were 11 students attending!
In der ersten Woche sprach ich viel ueber Perspektive und skizzierte einige schnelle Uebungen von Photos. Ich fuehrte dann auch die Notan Skizzen ein, was eine schnelle, kleine Uebung ist, um eine gute Komposition zu erringen. Mit diesem einfachen schwarz und weissen "Muster" sieht man gleich, was falsch ist oder was man herumschieben muss. Dazu gibt diese einfache Skizze einen Hinweis auf was man im Schatten und was man im Licht halten muss.
Ich hatte 11 Schueler(innen)!

The second week I started a demo from one of my photos. I explained how to transfer the notan sketch with thinned paint onto a colored ground. There were NO details, but it gave a lot of impact already - by the virtue of having stark lights and darks.
In der 2. Woche fing ich an, ein Demogemaelde zu malen. Ich erklaerte, wie ich die Notan Skizze mit verduennter Oelfarbe auf den getonten Grund malte. Es gab KEINE Details, aber so eine einfache Zeichnung macht einen grossen Eindruck, vor allem von weit weg. Und das ist, weil es auf die einfachsten Elemente und einfaches Schwarz/Weiss Muster gekuerzt ist!

Perspective sketch

Notan drawing with sharpie

Transferring notan onto painting panel toned in yellow

In the second and the third class everybody started their own painting from their chosen reference photo, and I guided them individually at their work stations, and also did quick impromptu demos/lessons on items that popped up and everybody learned a bit more from that.
I demonstrated how to do the initial drawing, laying in the mass of shadows, and then adding the colors. In addition I talked about and showed on each photo/artwork how to work the perspective, made a quick diagram to help the students, and discussed in detail if we could improve the composition by leaving items out or moving them. I did a notan (black and white quick value sketch), and a perspective diagram on everyone's photo to get them started individually and to talk through as many pieces as possible.
In der 2. und 3. Klasse fing dann jeder sein eigenes Bild an von ihren Photos, und ich half jeder einzelnen an ihrer Staffelei, und malte auch schnelle Demos im Stehgreif, was jeden interessierte und was so als Frage aufkam.
Ich demonstrierte, wie man die anfaengliche Zeichnung anfertigt, die Schattenmassen einlegt, und dann mit Farbe ueberarbeitet. Zusaetzlich skizzierte ich schnell fuer jede Schuelerin die Perspektive fuer ihr eigenes Bild, mit Diagrammen, und diskutierte mit jeder, wie man das Bild besser machen koennte, indem man einige Elemente verschiebt oder ganz auslaesst.

In the beginning of the last class the students watched me add more detail and smaller flecks of color/paint throughout to get the boat painting to a closer finish (which I did at home, see final painting below). All the students had at least one painting finished or did the last brushstrokes in this last hour. We then gave a quick overview and critique on each painting and discussed what we learned.
Am Anfang der letzten Woche schauten mir die meisten zu, wie ich Details und mehr Farbe auf mein Gemaelde setzte, um es fast fertig zu machen (was ich daheim dann total fertigbachte, siehe unten). Nachdem alle Schueler dann ihr eigenes Gemaelde beenden konnten, schauten wir alle an und gaben Kritiken und Diskussionen an diesen konkreten Exemplaren, was wir gelernt hatten.

Restful Solitude  oil on panel  20"x16"