Friday, July 19, 2013
I am no Dreama!
This week, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop with Dreama Tolle Perry in her hometown, Paris, Kentucky. As an acrylic artist, I had to muster up some courage to attend an oil painting workshop, but muster I did. Dreama has a unique style of teaching her method of using the paints, in that she will go through one stage of the painting as a demo and then the participants go back to their own easels to do just that part. Then...more demo, bringing the painting closer to resolution...and, you guessed it, students back to their easels to do the same thing. Well, I can't exactly say I did what Dreama did, but I did the above, to the best of my ability. It was quite amazing to see how different all our paintings were, even though we all witnessed the same demo and worked from the same reference photo. We artists truly do all have our own "handwriting," as Dreama talked about.
My favorite part of the workshop was the musical easels. Dreama gave us each a reference photo to work from--I think there were four different photos. We were to start our paintings and move on to the next easel when Dreama gave the word., taking our brushes with us, and using the paint the last artist had put out in order to work on the painting THEY had started. We had very little time at our own easels--I would guess just a few minutes. And so it went. We moved from easel to easel, just a few minutes at each stop. Before the workshop, knowing that Dreama does this exercise, I had imagined I might have to apologize to people for messing up their paintings, since I don't know oils. But, what actually happened for me is that I would arrive at a painting and could see exactly what I thought it needed next. So, I was able to approach each easel with the mindset "how may I serve?" How may I serve this painting? I can't tell you how great it was to just see something and act on my idea. I felt quite supported, knowing I was surrounded by a group of very good artists who could always come in behind me and fix up if I had messed up.
Dreama gave us a three brushstroke allowance when we got back to our own easels to make any changes or additions, then we were to bring our paintings to a spot on the floor for the group photo shot. Here's the funny part for me...I took Patti Mollica's workshop in April, and she had us paint a complete painting in 20 brushstrokes, teaching us how to really load our brushes and really move that brush around to get maximum coverage and interesting brushstrokes. So, when I decided the entire background in the upper part of my painting needed to be darker, I was able to make that happen in ONE stroke. BY that point, most of the other artists already had some paintings up for the photo shoot, and there was grumbling that some of us were cheating. However, I knew I had NOT cheated. Dreama defined brushstroke the same way Patti Mollica did. Touch the brush to the board and when it lifts up, that brushstroke is done. So, I absolutely didn't cheat!
Being around Dreama Tolle Perry for a few days was hugely inspiring. She has a way of uplifting her students and emphasizes the importance of enjoying/loving the process of painting. It was a pleasure to meet her and the other students, as well.
Other students kept asking me if I would be using oils in the future. I am not sure. I think I will probably play with them, but I was really happy yesterday to be back with my good friends, my acrylics! One thing I did learn, though, is that I want to paint larger. The larger board helped me feel more comfortable and free.