The first class was abstract landscapes and using collage and paints and whatever combination we liked, we were encouraged to play with technique and color within the lightly defined idea of a landscape format. First we laid on a bright and busy collage strip to create the horizon then painted in the top and bottom, obscuring part of the collage edges. You could also paint the background first and collage a horizon on top of the paint (like I did below). These are maybe 6x8" or so, the orange one is an 8x8" square and the long narrow one is about 5x10".
Jane gave great feedback and direction by first asking "what do you see" - that helped focus ideas and evaluation of the piece by defining what you were looking at, what strengths did you see and as you studied the piece (from afar) it became easier to see where it might be improved.
In the above piece we were encouraged to exaggerate the horizon line in some way - in a way I feel this is my most successful piece because the depth of color and layers in the top portion is more interesting and the contrast in value between the top and bottom is more evident. As I look at the scanned images the day or two after the class I have the added perspective of some time away from looking at them during creating them. And it's obvious to me that, while I like my color choices and basic ideas, these pieces are not done. There's room for improvement in the depth/layering of color and, more importantly, in the use of value. Right now everything is kind of mid-value range and I need to lighten and darken areas to create more movement and interest. I can't wait to find the time to get back to each of them - I'll show you the new, improved ones when they're done.
The second class was scribble painting with the express purpose of painting freely, loosely, with abandon and with the intention of creating hand painted papers to be torn up and used in collage or other pieces. I felt more successful in this effort - Although it's not a completed painting (nor was it intended to be), I feel like there's lots of movement, variety of value, interesting colors and textures. Watch for pieces of this to show up in future collages or mail art!
As a first-time experience, these two classes were an unqualified success. Jane's accessible, friendly teaching style is just what I needed to reduce my insecurities and feel successful. The other women were all SO friendly and willing to share ideas. There were people who usually work in beads or fabric, people who'd never painted or who always painted but had never collaged. Ladies came from all over the country and were taking 2-13 classes (yes, 13!) in a wide range of art disciplines. I sure hope I can attend again next year!!
If you have the opportunity to take an art class in your area - through a community college, at a private studio or from a big organized retreat like this one - I certainly encourage you to do so. It's worth the information, the learning and exploring in a new way and most of all the creative energy boost!