|Fragile 22 50x50" Oil/cold wax on panel © 2014 Janice Mason Steeves|
Last weekend, I taught a cold wax and oil painting workshop in my studio with eight artists, some of whom were very advanced. I always teach the elements of design in my workshops-a good refresher for those who have studied them and an intro for those who have not. One artist who is an accomplished figurative painter, had great difficulty dividing the painting surface into shapes. I tried in various ways to help her understand what I was after, drawing some pictures for her, showing her the work of other artists, and explaining in various ways. Yet she didn't understand what I meant. On Sunday at about 1pm (the class was to end at 3pm), she asked me if she could pretend she was painting the figure in order to divide up the space. Yes, I told her, do what you need to do. It was like a lightbulb came on in her head and she was on FIRE. In the space of 2 hours, she worked on 5 paintings with all the energy she had stored up over the weekend. Based on a context she could relate to, she now understood what I meant and within 2 hours, had 5 exciting paintings on the go! She surrendered to what she needed to do and I surrendered to how she needed to do it.
In my work this week, I felt a reluctance to get into the studio even though I had recently completed two more paintings in my Fragile series that I really love including the painting above. I kept finding all manner of other things I had to do first. Finally, remembering the fun that my student had had last week in my workshop, I pulled out my large palette knife and began to work on small panels with a free abandon, creating thick textures and strong shapes. As I have done so often, and seem to forget just as often, I was surrendering to play.
|New Work 12x12" Oil/cold wax on panel © 2014 Janice Mason Steeves|
"If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it." Toni Morrison