Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Revisiting old friends
Some of you were kind enough to be interested in the painting I mentioned in my last post, so when the sun came out for 5 minutes this afternoon I rounded up some of the pieces I still have and took them for an outing into the garden. Poor old things, it's the only excitement they've had in a while.
I started taking painting classes at a shop near where I used to live - the Burnt Owl in Burnt Hills, NY - in 1997, then painted most days till we left the US in 1999. I have tried to get back into it back here in the UK, but the lack of a dedicated permanent workspace rather held me back. Sewing and knitting seem much more portable to me, but I suspect I may be alone in that!
This was one of my first pieces, a favourite of Mr DC and the only one that's in regular use. It holds hairbands and brushes for the Smalls and while there are a number of problems with it, I'm very fond of that silly sheep.
I was very keen on traditional stroke work, and in fact this was the piece that had me signing up for the various courses in the first place. It's a bit tatty and dusty now, and I rather wish the background wasn't jet black, but I painted this design over and over on oval storage boxes that I still use.
The thing I liked most about this style of painting is that you don't need to be able to draw. At all. I cannot draw to save my life, but I can trace patterns and base coat them and follow the instructions to add colour and shading in the right order. The clever people are the designers of the patterns, and I was lucky enough to be taught by Pat Parker who designed this one - this is her version just to prove that hers is the real skill here.
This is a tray I started, and didn't finish. It's a design by Betty Caithness, whose pieces I adore. I doubt I shall get back to it any time soon, but you can see how bits of it (the children and their tree) are done, while the stones at the bottom are only basecoated as yet and the houses need a lot more work.
The patterns and brushes are still up in the loft. Maybe one of these days I'll dig them out again and see if I can remember any of what I learned!