Monday, January 31, 2011

A Step Forward

Once upon a time I belonged to an arts guild. I was their only photographer, and the painters all insisted that I should try to paint since, they said, I already had a good eye.  After much protesting about not being able to draw, and hearing the time old expression that you don't have to be able to draw to paint, I thought I'd prove them wrong and give it a try. I was, however, surprised that what I produced that day was actually recognizable, and so I set about finding someone who could teach me the basics about handling a brush.
For a time I painted from books, using traceable patterns and following the written instructions. Every once in a while I'd dig out a photo of my own, and try to paint that, with less success.  After a while, I came to the conclusion that the problem wasn't all in my brush skills. I mentioned to my teacher something about how not all great photos make good paintings, and she agreed, but didn't tell me why that was true.  Not even a hint.

This weekend I started a free online course through Wet Canvas, with Johannes Vloothuis, that is all about how to convert photos into good paintings.  After several years of frustration, this man may take the mystery out of what I've been doing wrong.   I spent 2 hours on both Saturday and Sunday taking in what he had to say as I watched while he moved lines and instantly improved pictures. This was just the first of the 12 week program, and already I'm excited, and will be looking at my photos with fresh eyes. I may become an artist yet.

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