End of course reflection

When I started this painting course, I had a few ideas about what I expected:

  • develop the ability to confidently explain/describe my work in a knowledgeable way.
  • master key elements that I currently have a good/elementary familiarity with* and in doing so, elevate my art and make it technically sophisticated and valid.
  • learn new approaches to the production of a painting and stretch my abilities to the max.
  • discover artists I wouldn’t usually come across and absorb/learn from and be inspired by their influence.
  • develop a professional approach to creating work, so that I feel confident in contacting potential clients or galleries.
  • feel as though I am growing as an artist and not stagnating (which is how I felt before I started this degree).
  • focus and find my true artistic self, which sometimes comes through.  I want to recognise when I have created something with spark and appreciate it, give it due respect and worth – something I have for years avoided doing. 

In thinking about the end of this course, I am aware that I was very much a one track pony at the start, using watersoluble oil pastels or acrylics for nearly everything I did and if I didn’t use them, then I would use soft pastels.   Soft pastels are still one of my go-to mediums. I love working with them, they are so dynamic and immediate, as well as highly responsive. They easily work up into the effect I want without too much faffing about mixing colours or finding that the paint has dried before I could get it onto the canvas.   This is one of the reasons why I use them so much and I will continue to use them, I am continually building up my collection.

One thing I don’t think I have mentioned here is how nervous I was about the challenges relating to working with oil paints, as it is not a medium that I have a lot of experience in (if any).  The idea that I would be forced to work with oils, including solvents and other chemicals, was daunting. When I discovered Cobra watermixable oils it was a bit of a relief.   That said, it takes years of practise and experimentation to get the most out of oils and I am very much aware of my limitations when it comes to working with them.  The main difference now though is I WANT to work with oils!  More and more when I want to start some new work in my personal practise, I am levitating towards the oils. I find this really exciting and it’s a direct result of the work done during this course.

Whilst Cobra watermixable oils are really lovely to use, I didn’t have a very large collection of colours and I think it’s important when one is learning a medium to have as many colour combinations available at the outset without constantly stopping to mix up a colour that you have in your minds eye.   I asked for a set of Mont Marte watermixable oils (H20 brand) over Christmas and now have 36 to play about with.   They have fairly high pigment concentration and are great value for money, although the tubes I have are very small.  I have tried them out on a test sheet and done a basic landscape. I don’t think I’ll use them all the time but it is handy to have a range of colours readily available to try out ideas and they will augment my growing collection of Cobra tubes. 

On a light note, I took part (over on Instagram) in the 12days of OCA challenge during December, where we were asked to create art relating to specific key words such as ‘snow’, ‘home’, ‘tinsel’ … etc.

This is a collage of my 12 pieces – they were all done with soft pastels on Pastelmat and are very tiny little studies indeed.

From top left to right, down to bottom row: Snow, Cheers, Robin / Coal, Chocolate, Home / Star, Cheese, Holly / Pine, Cosy, Tinsel

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