A woman in her 40′s was about to touch her watercolor brush to the paper for the first time and her hand was trembling. She said she was very scared and didn’t know if she could actually do it…but, then, she did! She made a mark of color on the paper, then another, then more. Soon she had painted the apple in front of her and was giggling like a young school girl. Her painting was primitive, but very bright and full of joy! It delighted her and the rest of us as we witnessed her transition from panic to happy excitement.
She then told us the story of why she was so frightened to paint. Tearfully, she told us in the first grade she was asked to draw a turkey by tracing around her hand and then color it. When she finished, the teacher told her it was bad work and stood her in front of the class and humiliated her. She never tried to draw or color anything again!
This is a fairly extreme case, but many of us have had early experiences of someone critiquing our art and making us feel we have no talent for art. We might have decided then and there that art ”just wasn’t our thing.” Or we might have simply compared our creations to someone else’s and decided ours “just wasn’t good enough.”
No matter what the source, the Critic in our head can discourage us from ever tryingart or, if we do try, from ever enjoying it or allowing ourselves to experiment with art. My belief is that we are all artists. We all have natural creativity that is basic to human nature. There is not a wrong way to be artistic! Art is about the unique expression of the individual. You really can’t do it wrong, especially if you are having fun with it and letting yourself be yourself!
So, what we want to do with the class, Finding the Artist Within, is first of all, confront that Critic and silence him or her and choose to take a chance to express ourselves in new ways, to find the Artist Within! How that Artist will express, nobody knows. It might be timid and tenative at first or it might burst out, big and bold! The only rules will be that we have fun doing it and we don’t criticize ourselves or anyone else. Are you ready?
Jack Wiens will be offering a free art-making class Tuesday, October, 8, from 4:00 – 5:00 pm at Ashland Art Center. He will also be teaching a three-hour workshop Saturday, October 12, from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at AAC. The cost for the workshop is $25 Members and $30 General. Click here for the registration form. See you there!
My approach to teaching any art class is that it should, first and foremost, be fun. Creating art is a joyful experience, if we let go of rigid expectations and harsh judgment of ourselves. The Inner Art Critic must go!
Having said that, I also want to be helpful as far as technique and the mechanics of drawing realistically, but that, too, can be fun.
br>Drawing faces has always been one of my favorite things. Because no two faces are exactly the same, because they express so much life and drama, and because they represent the person to the world, faces are a delightful challenge and rarely boring! I worked for over 35 years as a psychotherapist which meant sitting many hours per week looking into the faces of my clients, studying what was being expressed to me. It’s a very intimate experience to really see someone’s face in detail. It takes one set of skills to render a realistic face that actually “looks like” someone we are drawing. It is another, much rarer, skill to be able to capture the “essence” of someone on paper or canvas.
br>I like to look at how simply a face can be drawn to create the illusion for our mind’s eye, and how complex and detailed it can be. There are many styles and mediums we can use to capture that certain individuality of a person’s face. Perhaps our best and easiest source of help is a mirror. We can be our own model and learn a lot from careful, objective study of our own features. How does your face express different feelings? What do your eyebrows do when you are surprised, sad, angry? How do the corners of your mouth change with each emotion? What about your face is unique? What reveals your age and gender? Look…really look at your wonderful face!
Felting is fun for everyone! It’s so easy and rewarding. Kids and adults alike enjoyed making felted designs last Saturday at Ashland Parks and Recreation’s Fall Guide fair at The Grove.
AAC artist Jo Ann Manzone and AAC Education Director Kara Q Lewis happily shared the joy of needle felting with everyone who stopped by. All the children who felted created little treasures, including a crown, a Santa’s hat, and a smiling caterpillar. Kara hadn’t felted before and was an immediate fan. “We can’t wait to share the fun with more people during September’s First Friday Art Walk!”
Jo Ann has created felted squares from 75 pounds of donated wool. She is also eco-dying the wool in fabulous colors, including lavender (dyed with plum tree leaves), pink (dyed with beets), brown, and green. Everyone who stops by the AAC Classroom on First Friday will get to make a felted square with designs based around a fall theme. Jo Ann and other AAC artists will then take the felted squares and make them into a quilt which will be raffled to benefit art classes for at-risk youth. “We look forward to felting with the community!”
If you have experience with felting and are interested in volunteering to help with creating the felted squares before First Friday or to help with the First Friday event, please email Jo Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kara at karaQlewis@gmail.com. They look forward to hearing from you!
See you in the Classroom on First Friday, September 6, from 5:00 – 8:00 pm
This July we had our first Rust Prints class with Tiffany Hokanson. The students enjoyed learning and using this medium. Tiffany first started working with rust in college when experimenting with the material was less known about. Within the past several years, rust has become a very popular material and technique in many mediums, including printmaking and encaustic.
If interested in taking a future rust prints class, please contact us at email@example.com.