Well, math figures are scary – to me. But figures in a painting are not. I’m not talking about detailed portraits of people. Just a few brushstrokes and voila you’ve got a person.
In a recent workshop with professional artist Tom Jones, the first day and the first thing we did was practice painting figures to put in our paintings.
One of Tom’s other students showed us how he does his figures. He practices at home while relaxed in front of his TV.
In addition, we had fun painting little chickens and roosters. We used our new-found skills in our next project: a wooden chicken coop.
Here’s a comparison of my finished painting to the one Tom Jones did.
Tom told us there has to be a WOW in your painting. Look for the WOW when someone looks at it. I had trouble in our next project even getting an, “Oh, that’s nice” from myself!
The project was a desert scene with two adorable donkeys. I did so poorly on my first try that Tom made me start over. I think we both agreed that a lack of quality paper wasn’t helping me on this one.
I haven’t finished my re-do of this project yet, but here’s Tom’s so you can see an example of the WOW we were going for.
In my version (not pictured) my first mistake was I started making too many symmetrical details in my far-off mountains. So many, in fact, that Tom made me use his toothbrush (not one he brushes his teeth with!) and scrub out most of those lines.
The next project went much better as I began to relax into the flow of the class. It was a picture of a little building in Mexico.
Then we painted a simple potted plant. Here's Tom's. It's simple yet elegant.
And then we began our final project. Unfortunately, we were only able to finish half of it because all of a sudden it was Friday afternoon and the workshop was over.
If you’ve never taken a 1 to 5 day workshop I highly recommend you try at least one time. Start by looking for a local artist that you admire and find out if they do any workshops.
When you take the workshop make plenty of mistakes and learn from them. You’ll always do a better job the next time around.
For example, here’s a painting I did before the Tom Jones workshop.The horses are nice but that landscape! OMG!
And here’s a better version I did after his workshop. I think this one has a little more WOW to it.