Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Art School

Monday is commonly known as Black Monday because it is the last week before payday mixed up with post Christmas blues. I am nothing if not resourceful and have learnt that to limp through these cold, dark, wet, cold miserable months you need something to look forward too. Like a child starting a new school I checked my list 5 times and then set of for art school.
There was good, there was bad, nothing is perfect, but I can tell you that for 2 1/2 hours my mind emptied of all but exercising the demons of my past hideous experiences with oil paint.
I have only used oils once at college, it was not pretty. However I hate acrylic and the desire to paint has increased the older I get. recent efforts have ended up with me fumbling like a teenager at a school disco, so decided I needed to get some lessons.
Was it good? Yes it was great, imagine a large white studio easel palette all ready for action, the down side was the tutor appears unable to construct a coherent sentence and he brought in for us to paint a box of bloody Swan Vesta matches! Hell that took some thought. If I am teaching tone I give the students plain white objects and at least attempt to control the light source ( yes I am an arrogant bitch) Despite this I diligently set forth and set myself up a still life to paint.
Crime number two, he told us to outline with a sign writers brush over 2 inches long, as someone who struggles to cope with a normal brush I quietly eschewed that option.
We are a merry band of 16, mostly students with myself and another golden oldie.
I pushed and pulled the paint and finally managed to resolve some areas. I was mortified to realise that my perspective was 'out' and then at the end even more mortified to see I had centralised the composition, oh the shame, after all I say to the students. All said though an amazing experience.
I learnt a lot about painting, the tutor was far more comfortable teaching one to one, but regards teaching I would never survive as a college tutor, how do I know this? Well at the end quite frankly I would a begged the question as to;
  • WHY having been told to paint the outline did someone draw it?
  • WHY were half the compositions floating in space?
  • WHY when given an A4 sheet of paper students drew the matchboxes smaller than the original in some cases?
  • WHY were so many students so obsessed with drawing the stupid swan when the class was about tonal planes?
  • WHY did two students choose to paint the whole thing one shade of grey?
  • WHY did so many students use the paint as if it were watercolour?
You see I could not have kept my big mouth closed, I would have railed against these crimes, the tutor on the other hand looked only for the good, but my year 9 students would have eaten him as a light snack and spat his bones out in less than it takes to open their sketch books!
Next week we get to use yellow ochre...whopee.


materfamilias said...

Funny, isn't it, the way our teaching influences our learning and vice versa. I'm curious to know what the range of age, experience, and even gender is in that class. And looking forward to seeing some of your painting eventually.

Tricia Garrett said...

I have said it before but... this is my favourite blog. Thank you!

indigo16 said...

materfamilias, they are all bar myself and one other under 25, gender 50/50 I would say. Most have some experience as they are using it as a way to get to art school. I thought I would be one of many oldies but maybe the central London location puts them off.
Tricia, thank you too, another installment next week!