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Keeping it Simple

The Advil PM and the bottle of wine were very effective. I woke yesterday well rested and in time for breakfast. “OK” I thought, “I’ll survive the nunnery cubical.”

As a resident artist I have the option to take classes or just do my own thing. I was told that the first day of the painting session we would be working strictly in black and white – value studies only. I was tasked with this nightmare once before. I spent hours, tediously mixing each value as it came up on the canvas. It was a disaster. The but-head teacher never mentioned to me that I should pre-mix 5 distinct shades of grey BEFORE I started. The whole day went by before he made it over to my easel. “No, no, that’s all wrong,” he quipped. I wanted to kick him.

My inclination this time around was to run away – really fast. I decided to grow some hair on my artistic soul and try it again. It was a great exercise. I got it. Today we were allowed the delicacy of only earth tones; white, yellow ochre, burnt seine, and burnt umber. This may be baby food for those of you that are classically trained. For me, it was very challenging, and then soon it became decidedly pleasing. Every element in my visual field was broken down into the most simplistic terms. Determine one of the four colors/values, load up the brush and put it on – in one, big, fat, juicy stroke. It was freeing. It was fun. It was…simple.

Evening drawing tonight involved the oldest classical discipline known to the artist. Drawing the nude figure. I was a bit rusty. Our model was Andre; a young, handsome, not-at-all rusty, yoga instructor. Enough said.

It’s late. A few of us are on the terrace. We come here to plug in and catch up with our digital lives at the end of the day. One of artists here is from Lebanon. “There were bombs and gunfire in Beirut today, and the army has become involved,” she said. Sometimes what we do as artists in this life seems to be dwarfed by the chaos and cruelty around us. Yet our expressions of art thwart a far more bitter world, where nothing could ever be… simple.


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1 Response to Keeping it Simple

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us.

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