Liz here with you today. I love to take classes. I am at a stage in my study of art where I take classes from outside my main discipline of textiles. I take jewelry, metal working and recently have delved into painting classes. Two weeks ago I was teaching at Art andSoul, a fantastic mixed media art retreat, in Kansas City and I decided to treat myself to a class with Jill Berry. I have wanted to take this class ever since I first read the description last year. The class is called Under the Influence. Jill choose 4 artists who have influenced her work. The four artists are: Wayne Thiebaud (California), Wosene Worke Kosrof (Ethiopia), Friedensreich Hundertwasser (Austria) and Joan Miró (Spain). A couple I had never even heard of but I am a big fan of Jill’s work and know she is a great teacher so I dove in to this 2 day class with just a little bit of worry about my lack of painting experience.
We started with Miro and had to create a family portrait. This was a very fun exercise learning how to use symbols in our work. Miro was great to start with and most of us felt pretty comfortable with this piece. I am not revealing which family member is which symbol! None of my pieces are done but I will keep working on them when I am back in my home studio.
Next up was Wosene Worke Kosrof. I had never heard of him before but really loved looking deeper at his work and his process. I love the piece I created in his style. I was totally out of my element here and a bit uncomfortable but after I relaxed I really got into the flow.
Day two started with Wayne Thiebaud, another artist I knew little about. His changeable landscape and city perspectives and use of color lines were intriguing to experiment with. Again I was very uncomfortable at the start but once I got the hang of his many layered lines of color I enjoyed the process and it is quite addicting.
Lastly we came to Hundertwasswer. I love his work! On the surface his work looks fairly straightforward and simple but the more you look at it the details and layers become clearer the more complex. I started off pretty confident but it was less than a half hour before I started looking for distractions because I was so uncomfortable and not thrilled with my progress. I wanted to measure and plot out rather than just go with the feeling of his work. I wandered around the room to look at everyone else’s work; I went for a walk to clear my head. I came back to try again. I was off the deep end in my level of discomfort! I am not at all happy with this piece! There is still a lot of work to be done on it.
I am however inspired to continue exploring the feeling and emotion in his work. As an artist I find that when I push through the uncomfortable hours that arise during of the process of creation I find the most growth in my work. I think it is the uncomfortable, unsure, don't know where I am going parts that are the hardest aspect of making art. What is your experience?