This summer, I took the best course I have ever attended: the Summer Workshop at the Zwick Academy of Fine Art in Honolulu. For six weeks, I and six other students did cast drawings from 9am to 12pm, and painted from a model in the afternoon. This was all done in sight-size, something I had read about but never attempted. I must admit, at first I thought I would be bored and/or finish the cast drawing long before the six weeks were up…and although many times I did feel like I wanted to slam my head into the wall it was never because I was bored, but frustrated I couldn’t draw what I could clearly see in front of me after staring at her face for hours on end. But it was worth it: this is the first drawing I’ve ever done that is a very close likeness to the subject! I wish I had taken a picture of the cast from this angle…I guess you’ll have to take my word that my drawing does look like the cast…uh, trust me? This process was painful at times but taught me more than anything else I’ve ever done, and the results were definitely the most satisfying personally.
The painting was much more difficult than cast drawing-after all I’ve been drawing all my life, but just began painting a couple of years ago. I am still clumsy with mixing colors and frustrated easily with decisions on how much medium to use, which brush, thickness/tackiness of paint, etc.: still very much a beginner as a painter. I fell in love with oils the first time I used them…the texture, the way the paint blends, the colors, the smell…but my relationship with painting can be extremely rocky. It can be love/hate, changing from one to the other very quickly…I wish I could say I always have a great time, but the truth is sometimes it can break me down. I just can’t give it up, even though during this painting (and others since, I admit) I would ask myself why I torture myself in this way. Then, there are those times where it flows, where I’m just filled with the love of painting that is hard to explain to those who don’t paint…and even though I know I have a long way to go before I am a great painter, I am so happy and fortunate that I have the opportunity to learn to do what I love.
Tomorrow I’m taking a Master Copy class at the Zwick Academy: one of John Singer Sargent’s paintings…so excited to get back into training!