Hi ho lovlies.
I had mixed feelings to take Tamara Laporte’s latest live class: Ever After Module 2. I’ve never been particularly interested in fairy tales, at least the Disney version – where women are weak and need rescuing by a man. But I couldn’t resist between the teachers and the deep dive into style development.
It’s a 3 month class, with guest artists and using fairy tales as the inspiration, as you might guess from the class title. Tam offered 2 options: Module 1 is the lessons. Module 2 is more in-depth with artist interviews and explorations of how to take what you learn and develop your own style.
After finishing the 2nd lesson, Beauty & the Beast, my work load increased and resulted in exacerbating an injury to my right thumb. A co-worker quit and her work was added to mine, followed by an announcement a couple weeks ago, that the company I work for has put a hold on hiring while they examine all the open positions. The injury has put quite a damper on my art-making, as I’m predominantly right-handed. I can do some art-making left-handed, but not detailed work.
It’s disappointing, to say the least, but I have managed to, slowly for me, work through the first 3 lessons: The Little Mermaid with Tam, Beauty and the Beast with Andrea Gomoll, and Snow White with Anna Hamman. Three very different art styles. All three pieces follow the composition and much of the art style of the teachers. My own style is in flux right now, but I feel comfortable enough with mixed media art-making to stray somewhat from the instructor when I feel compelled to do so. For these three lessons, I don’t follow the teacher’s techniques to the letter but I do try some new things.
All of the class work is done in my Red Monkey art class journal. It’s 9×12 Leuchterm journal. Using this journal is a reminder to me that I need to be careful about scanning and selling prints because many of the pages are based on the teacher compositions. When I get ideas from the class, I make a new painting on different paper or on canvas. Just to keep things kosher, you know.
First up, The Little Mermaid with Tam. I think by now you know how much I love Tam and her lessons. In this painting, Tam wanted to empower the Little Mermaid by surrounding her with her friend, the octopus. The seahorse represents love, cuz you know, the male seahorses carry the baby seahorses and the stars represent her sisters. One of Tam’s techniques that I still play with is using graphite for shading – I used it in this piece and have to admit that it’s growing on me.
Beauty and the Beast, with Andrea Gomoll. I was surprised to learn that her piece was done with layers and layers of watercolors. The colors are so vibrant in her piece. I don’t own a set of proper watercolors, so I used Neocolors for my version. I strayed a little, but not much. I like Andrea’s style, but it is too stylized for me, so I replicated her composition with the supplies I had on hand.
Snow White with Anna Hamman. I was not familiar with Anna’s work when I watched this lesson. I have to admit that I was quite intimidated by this one. She worked almost exclusively in acrylics, with a pencil drawing to start. She mixed her own black from the primary colors. I didn’t like my first version very much. I used Neocolor 2s with my Montana marker in Shock White to set the Neocolor. The Montana paint dries to a gloss finish that I didn’t like. I felt it made my girl look very plastic.
I made a second that I do like, even though I didn’t “finish” it with the trees. I felt like I got what I wanted out of the lesson. While working on the first version, this time using black Neocolor 2 with gesso (I use Liquitex). I like the result much more. I may finish the page someday, but I kind of like her the way she is. A clue that my style is changing – as you know, I’ve been a card-carrying page filler. There’s just something striking about her against the mostly empty background.
Part of the reason I stopped working on the 2nd version was I had an idea for a larger painting. Anna’s Snow White was painted on a large (probably 15″x22″) watercolor paper. I took out a piece of 15×22 Canson 140 lb watercolor paper. I flipped through the latest copy of Porter, my current fave fashion magazine and found a photo of a gal with her hands on her head, looking directly into the camera. I sketched her in my own style and replaced the fooferah complicated boho-style outfit the model is wearing with a tee shirt, mixed my own black using Blick Studio acrylics – a sample of their primary colors that I won the last time I was there and started working. As I was working along, the song “Know Your Rights” by The Clash popped into my head, so I wrote that on her tee shirt.
Up to now, my art has been decidedly escapist. Mermaids, unicorns, doodly flowers, young girly girls and women. I’ve had a craving lately to work toward art that provokes a response, makes a statement, creates discussion. I think Miss Right continues along the path I headed down with Zeus’ Women.
Bubbling under the surface is the upcoming Presidential election. To be honest, I dislike both candidates. Third party candidates get next to no press in favor of sensationalist sound bites of candidate name-calling. I feel held hostage by the US political machine. One comes across as a 1930s facist tyrant and the other shrilly shouts at the media. It’s a choice between the lesser of two evils, when, in fact, the people don’t elect the President. The Electoral College may or may not take the popular vote into consideration. I’d like to see the US adopt the campaign strategy of Canada: you get 36 days prior to the election to make your point. That’s unlikely to happen because politics is big business, corporations are people, blah, blah, blah. And that’s why my art leans escapist. The Real World is just so….icky.
Yet, Miss Rights appeared. She is still a work in progress. I haven’t done a lot of strictly acrylic paining, so I didn’t know how much of my black I need to mix. I mixed a small batch and had to mix additional batches, each one different. Then I tried using black out of the tube, on her face. which is when I stopped. I could see the how interesting it was to mix my own color – it creates an interesting depth you don’t get with black and white out of the tube. Also, my hand was getting sore from the painting.
Perhaps I have something to say about the world other than unicorns, mermaids and Mori Girls.
No one is more surprised than I.
Go forth, stretch your wings and speak your truth, my lovelies. I’m cheering for you.