Not Quite A Master Painter

The Tempe Center for the Arts is running a weekly series called Art After Work. The gist of it is that an instructor walks you through replicating a painting, most of them by Master artists. My Chick Poker pals, Angela and Stacey, went with me and the artist we were imitating was Monet and his water lilies.

The class ran from 6 to 8:30 (we got out closer to 9) and all of the supplies were provided. It was $35 but we also got a voucher for $8 for booze or, as I like to call it, "Creativity Juice".

When we walked in, this was the picture our instructor had done that we were going to copy.

It wasn't quite the Monet water lilies I was thinking we would be doing but, oh, well.
The first thing our instructor told us to do was to draw out the lily pads and flowers lightly in pencil. She explained how to divide the canvas into sections and how to estimate the size of the pads. Helpful. We started drawing then she gave us the next step which was to erase the flower lines and paint them in white followed by filling in the ocher (or as the common man might call it, spicy mustard) pads.

Our paint colors - I had very little blue left by the end.
I was dutifully following the instructions because I am a rule follower as everyone should be. Not so my companions.

Um, nothing was said about starting on background colors!
Stacey and Angela abandoned all pretense of listening to the instructor and went their own merry ways. I, however, lack the creative genius (or even an inkling of skill) to do that so I continued to follow all of the prescribed steps.

My finished piece was close enough to the model that I wasn't ashamed. Not exciting enough to hang up anywhere, though. Maybe my Dad will want it. But, I'll have to sign it for him first.

Eh, not too shabby.
I'm not one for muted pictures nor do I have the technique to make the color go on smoothly so I always have a lot of bright, textured and thick paint on my canvases. However, the instructor gave out several tips on applying paint, combining colors and creating a "wash" with paint and water that goes on lightly over existing color. I filed all of the information away into my mental painting database.

Whatever. ;)
Of course, Stacey had the coolest picture that was completely different than the original example except there were pads and flowers. Every time we do something crafty, she's consistently the one who excels. And, she only had one glass of Creativity Juice to my two. Dang her. If I weren't 100 times better at Poker than she is, I would have to dump her as a friend. ;)

A different take on it.
Angela ended up with lily pads, water and flowers but in a very different fashion than prescribed. From a side view, it looked like cacti to me. Still cool.

It's always fun to see how every one else approaches a project. Many in the class (there were close to 25) strayed a bit from the model with a very small minority just going their own way. Some whipped through the painting process while others were still working when time was up. You could tell there were some seasoned painting veterans as well as some complete newbs.

We enjoyed it but decided that the sessions where you can bring your own wine and not all paint the same picture were more fun. So, we'll be looking for another Living Social or Groupon to do that again. I think it's a great value to play around with paint without investing a small fortune into buying my own supplies. And, finding space in my tiny house for a work space.

Oh, and keeping everything from the little terrors that live with me. I left my painting in the trunk of my car to dry since I knew there was nowhere I could put it in the house that they wouldn't get to it then drag paint all over the place.


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