A New Mentor
After moving from the northern GTA area, to the rural Ottawa area, we had a lot of adjusting to do. We had fewer neighbours, a gravel road and so much nature. At night it gets so dark with so many stars, something you miss growing up in the city.
Finally the pull of the canvas compelled me to finish Gandalf. I nervously started on my own, unsure if I remembered everything that I had learned. It took me some time adding and tweaking colours, until I felt like if I added anymore I would ruin it.
I went on to try painting something else, and decided on a picture I was shown of a dwarf. I sketched it on, then struggled trying to figure out which colours to put on first. So during the drying of layers, I decided to start another painting, this time of a Lynx. On a role, I also started portraits of my kids. I ended up with so many paintings on the go, it was a bit crazy.
I finally finished the dwarf, just before a new store opened in our local town. They offered lessons and group sessions run by local artists. I perused the line up and looked at some of the work they had submitted. I decided that I needed to join something, a 1 night a week for 10 week session, with a portrait artist sounded great! Hopefully I would learn new techniques and help keep me motivated.
Jack Neilson’s approach was so different from Clint. His approach was to capture the image like a still life. So I put my other projects away and decided to try his approach. I decided to be a bit radical painting in Impasto style, using just a painting knife, even attempting abstract painting (definitely not my strong suit). Jack had us always mixing colours, and this is when I really memorized different colours. I started really understanding the colour wheel, with tints and tones.
The first project was a still life of wine bottles. After that we could pick a picture of our choice. So we had to do a quick sketch, then start blocking in the colours. Jack worked so quickly, basically going over his canvas fully at least 3 times, but then that should be it.
This was my biggest lesson that I keep trying to accomplish. Since my media of choice has always been oil, I tried driers added to the oil, even different media like acrylic and gouache. I did attempt watercolours, but found them a bit difficult to achieve what I wanted. I even tried “plein airs”, which I haven’t been able to complete outside yet. I just love the details and 3 times just doesn’t seem like enough go overs for me, well not yet but I keep trying!