The question, "have you ever painted before" is commonly answered, "No", "Not since elementary school". or "HA! I can't paint, my wife/sister/friend made me do this". If you are in the Mason City and Clear Lake areas and are looking for things to do you can start with Arty Party at the Clear Lake Arts Center. This sounded fun and hey, it was an open bar with beer and wine while you paint, so even if you couldn't paint you were destined to have a little fun trying! I signed Dr. Winchester and I up for the class! We were both excited because this was a first time for both of us.
Once we arrived, we both noticed the landscape we were going to be painting was displayed at the front of the room and immediately became nervous and a little intimidated. There was no way either of were going to be able to pull this off, then we remembered we could drink beer. So, on the way to the bar we went!
Our teacher gave us a few pointers about painting on canvas and the rule of thirds for art, which as a photographer that made sense to me. As we started putting paint on the canvas both of us were still at this point really nervous but really excited. We had already decided that our paintings were going to be nothing short of horrid.
We were taught to start at the top and work our way down for the background and the tree in the painting was last. So we began to put down our sky! Blending was the technique used here. We used blue and white to make our sky/clouds.
Up next, the treeline in the background. Whoa, I was not good at this but Dr. Winchester was very good at this. I wanted to blend with long strokes but quickly learned that was not correct and doc showed me how to use shorter and more rough brush strokes. At this point, he was just slapping paint on the canvas. Grass wasn't as complex as the treeline. So that went fast and well, minus doc's "John Deere Green" lawn. The group as a whole at this point were laughing and having a great time as the pressure seems to be easing.
Rocks! This was the hardest portion of the painting. Rocks shouldn't be this complex but geeze louise, they were tough. Everyone had painted various forms of rocks and we also were taught how to create the color brown. We were taught how to create shadows and highlights on the rocks by using black, white and lighter shades of the rock colors. We also had to create the shadow in the water from the rock bed.
Lastly, we added our tree! The tree in the painting had a grassy patch around the bottom as you can see from the original painting. I attempted the grass and completely ruined it so I decided my tree just cast a shadow! My tree branches were not great at all so I kept adding leaves to the tree to help cover up some of the disaster. Dr. Winchester's tree was fantastic! Little did I know that he used to doodle trees in school when he was bored!
With both of our paintings complete according to the art teacher, we decided to add our own special touches. Dr. Winchester added snow geese and I added a tire swing. Each of our painting were totally unique and both of us were highly impressed with ourselves and each other. This was so much fun and we will be back to do more!
To sign up for an Arty Party class, visit their website and check the calendar for events. Come out with us next time we go and have fun! You are not allowed to know what the painting is prior to the class but it is really fun to bring out your inner Picasso and Maynard Reece!