Friday, August 26, 2016
My art life and previous life are coming together in a delightful way. I have been asked to teach classes on painting and collage through the OLLI program at Duke. Long before I picked up a paintbrush to make art I trained and taught high school English ( my first job was in Cary, a town not even on the map in 1966). Many years later, at the time I began to paint, I worked as a Docent at the Columbus, Ohio Museum of Art: the word Docent translates as unpaid teacher! My teaching goals are many: have fun, try something new, learn to judge your own art objectively, and with collage, learn when and how to use it to give dynamism and intrigue to a painting that lacks it, or how not to use it when a painting works well without it.
I have a fun way to jump start my class which may contain skilled painters and beginners in the same room. I bring in a variety of painted squares and rectangles from previous paintings of mine: students are allowed to choose any that speak to them ( color is often the draw) and then start collecting torn bits of collage papers, letters, raffia etc. to create their own works on top of my “dogs.” It’s amazing how easy it is to get started painting when not confronted by a clean piece of white paper! With paints, markers, collage & guidance, entirely new and charming small gems emerge; here are some that I did this way to test my ideas.
I am also in the process of taking a favorite new series called “Floral Triptych” and creating three small paintings that I stop at three stages: the first is where the paint goes on in the primary colors, each on a third of the paper. Next will be a better definition of the flowers in each area and the beginning of collage. Finally I will bring in a piece that is almost complete but with questions about finishing it: more collage, more overlap between the sections, etc, and encourage the class to critique it with me. Included in this blog are two finished pieces from this series that I completed for this year’s Tour.