It feel good to be back in “school” again. Signed up for a 15 week programme at the Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts (VAFA) and enjoying every minute of it. Chandraguptha Thenuwara is a great teacher, simple, easy to understand explanations and gives access to great depth of knowledge freely. The effort below is from my first class where I was making an attempt at capturing a still life setting. An understanding of perspective, foreshortening is amongst the things that I’d hoped I’d pick up on my own over the last two years but I guess this is the easier way! Plus a class will ensure that I measure instead of just eyeballing the distances, angles and sizes cause that’s one place where I’m messing up! : )
The Life Drawing sessions at Sapumal continue and i hope these Sunday drawings will see some progress based on the inputs I’m getting in the Saturday class.
At the beginning I avoided drawing and painting Still Lifes. They were boring and dull. Paintings of flowers, apples and egg plants just didn’t excite me at all. I was impatient and couldn’t wait to get started on Portraits. But then to my surprise as time went by I found many pieces that I did enjoy. It was the colours, the composition, the brush strokes, play of light that appealed to me. I also knew that working on them would improve my painting and felt that I must try them out again.
I signed up for Peter Homitzky’s class Painting from Life, Still Life and Landscapes hoping to experiment and learn. When I walked into class that first day I saw the set up for the still life was an egg-plant and a few onions. Eggplants? Onions? I promptly ignored my plan to try out new things and made a beeline for a spot at the pose on the other side of the class where there was a tall Russian posing.
In the middle of the week that followed I noticed that a large part of the class had moved to the still life section. And rightly so as there was an absolutely gorgeous set up with electric blue bottles. But by the time realisation dawned there were no spots available.
For weeks 3 and 4, I made sure that I asked for a spot at the Still Life setup. I was not disappointed. Peter’s setups were outstanding and I loved working on them. I’m sure that the onion/eggplant one was not by him! The piece below is the second one and it remained incomplete as mid way there was an accident which broke the pitcher and the bowl into several pieces : )
While that did happen I’m just using it as an excuse here : ) Peter made sure that the Still Lifes were not marked so that each day the setup was a bit different from the previous day. He wanted us learn to be comfortable working despite the changes. The truth is that I missed a couple of classes that week and was hoping to finish using ref photos that I’d taken : ) I’ve left the painting behind so I guess I’ll just have to start another one!
Great fun was had making these and I enjoyed the freedom that came with letting go of the expectation that everything would stay exactly the same in the setup day after day. This even helped me in my morning class. I also learnt to add elements to my painting which were not there in the setup. Peter is a great teacher and I do hope to go back for another class with him when next I’m at the League.
I’m thrilled to be studying with Kuhu once more. Her exhibition was a big hit. And while she’s preparing for the next one in March she is giving us a few lessons gratis. The plan is to learn to capture form and the use of colours using Still Life and a model.
A plaster of paris bust of a woman was set up on the table on a red cloth with a black backdrop. On day 1, I added colours in quantities I would never have imagined to an object that is white. I was aware of reflected colours and did notice some pinks here and there. On my own I would’ve added a few strokes of pink to these areas towards the end. We used a lot of red, blue, yellow and black. We also learnt to use a viewfinder to compose.
I was pleasantly surprised to see it coming together today. It needs a few more layers to make the it look like it’s been made of plaster of paris instead of concrete. For a while it was looking human and so I’m excited that at the end of day 2 it is beginning to resemble the bust! I hope you think it looks like one too.