Tag Archives: Folk Art

Learning Curve

I finally got my studio mucked-out.  It’s once again a place that I want to retreat to for play-time.

That’s what it’s supposed to look like, more or less.  There’s still some clutter but the creative itch overwhelmed the maid so she quit.

She did manage to organize some of the supplies before she decamped though.

Now that I had some time and space for painting, I still had to force myself to pick up a brush and work on the current project.  It’s a comfort zone thing….and a learning curve thing.

My back ground is in decorative folk-art painting.  I even taught several kinds of traditional and non-traditional folk-art.  The thing about this discipline is that it’s pretty much fool-proof.  It sometimes feels like it’s glorified paint-by-numbers.  This is great for beginners and people who are intimidated by a blank sheet of paper, but it doesn’t really lend itself to improvisation.  It’s very structured and fairly rigid, depending on the style, so you don’t really learn to just  let the brush go and paint with abandon.

I also learned to do folk-art using liquid acrylic paints.  They’re very different than tube acrylics.  They flow and blend easily, but their pigments are weaker, dimmer.  They’re great for that style of painting but not for what I want to do now.

This piece is a sample I painted for a class I used to teach.  This style is all about how you hold the brush, how thick your paint is, how you load the paint on your brush, and how you execute each stroke.  That is so not going to work for my current painting.

So I’m learning.  The learning curve is manageable but the process, for me, is still involving an inordinate amount of cussing.  Cussing does help, you know.  I blocked in the beach today and I’m still learning how to manage these paints.  I’m letting myself just PLAY.  I’m discovering ways to achieve texture, ways to create light and shadow without the luxury of floating ultra-thin paint, ways to fix the boo-boos.  Yes….plenty of boo-boos.  It feels so good to be painting again though, I’ll continue to muddle through, cuss away, and follow that learning curve wherever it takes me.