of a Level Two student
by Wendy Wagner
Yes, my last post took you through my Tuesday, however, we are in a new semester, with a brand new Tuesday. So tag along while I explain my Still Life day with instructor Robin Frey.
The class begins in the cast room, where each student has his or her own booth. We spend the morning on a black/white value study while the afternoon is spent doing a color version of the same objects.
9:00 am: We start setting up our still life. I was surprised at the amount of time it takes to get a cohesive setup. What may seem like the perfect object(s) at home may look totally different under the warm lights.
We peruse the shelves for two to three objects that work well together. Robin offers suggestions on composition and helps those undecided as to which direction to go. It is a team effort, but ultimately the student has to respond to the arrangement, as she/he is the one who has to look at it for four weeks.
10:15 am: Finally get to start on the value study.
Noon: Time for lunch. The beauty of working with objects is that we can take a shorter lunch break and return to the cast room to work.
Although these photos aren't from the first day, they are an example of
the value vs. color paintings on which we are working. Also note that
some people were still working on their paintings when the photos were
taken, and to get a decent view of the painting, the set-up is a little
washed out. You get the idea.
12:25 pm: I start painting the color version a little early, as class doesn't officially start until 12:45. It is interesting how the introduction of color can throw off your perception of value. In my setup, I have a shiny magenta fabric. Is the color of the fabric in the light a higher value just because it is more chromatic? That is up to me to decide as I compare that color to the others surrounding it.
In speaking with other students, I have learned that some prefer working in value, while others prefer the color.
3:15 pm: Class ends a bit early today for a special event: we were invited to visit founder Nelson Shanks in his studio. Today is reserved for students in my level, and of course I am taking advantage of such an opportunity.
Nelson graciously allows us to come into his private studio to see his current project. How cool is that? Very.
As a student, to see him in the process of working on a current painting is truly inspiring. He has finished work sitting around for us to inspect, and will answer any questions we may have about his work, process or palette. A teacher accompanies us and explains how what we are learning relates to Nelson's methods.
Not many people can have learning experiences like these, and it inspires me as an artist and a student.
6:00 pm: Back to the cast room. We are stoked after visiting Nelson's studio, and seeing his progress up close, so a few of us decided to continue working with fresh eyes.
8pm: Time to leave. Tomorrow will come soon enough.
Until next time...