I recently completed a multi-week acrylic painting class at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) here in Boston led by artist/instructor Ria Brodell. It wasn't exactly what I wanted it to be, but I'm still glad I took it.
My reading of the course description was that we would be using inspiration from the museum's collection to create art in the expressionist style. The first day of class, we did poke around the museum and look at some expressionist work and pre-expressionism inspiration. But, we never did again. This was sad to me. Class was long enough (10:15 am - 3:15 pm) each Monday that I was able to leave for lunch and a look around the museum mid-class by myself. But, it just wasn't the same as having a knowledgeable artist guide you through historical art techniques and ideas.
Speaking of guiding...this class was very much an old school art class. That is to say, there is little to no instruction. Students are expected to create work and then the teacher circulates giving advice and offering suggestions. For most of the students I sensed that this was an ideal situation. They had space to work and a person who could tell them how to achieve the effect they were looking for.
For me...not so much.
Don't get me wrong, I still got a lot out of the class. Ria gave me some good suggestions along the way. And being forced to block off several hours a week to paint was good for me. That said, I wanted more. I wanted goals. I wanted techniques. I wanted ideas. I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I wanted more than space and time to create with some gentle guidance. Towards that end, I decided that I couldn't wait for an external force, so I set myself some goals. I tried some new techniques. I played with some new ideas and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
This is a total side note, but I think we all (myself included) spend way too much time waiting for someone else to give us the answer or the motivation or whatever else it is that we're seeking. In the end, I believe that it's important to become the kind of person who can do it for yourself. At least when you need to. It's like, I enjoy full serve gasoline stations, but I'm perfectly capable of pumping my own gas. But I know people who have to drive around until they find a full serve station because they can't (or won't) pump it themselves.
All of this said and done, how about if I show you some of the things I painted? The notion I am experimenting with is a painting looking unfinished but being resolved.
The paintings are roughly in the order that I painted them. I think you can see the evolution over time. I'm excited to keep exploring the tension between unfinished and resolved.
Thanks for stopping by!