"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Difficult learning

So much to learn
"Don't paint to hang, paint to learn."
So said Prix de West landscape artist G. Russell Case at the oil painting class I took last month at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
"Learn what color does," was another part of his "theology of painting" in the four days. He said if we'd had time, we'd have spent most of the time mixing color. "Mix paint-that's what we do."
I'm learning, slowly, with difficulty, trying to paint in the mornings on the back porch when it's cool. 
Russell Case teaching oil painting
I'm encouraged mainly by one other of his theology "beatitudes, about not getting in a rut, "You're only as good as what you're taking on."
At least I'm "taking on."
Folks who think watercolor is the most difficult of mediums haven't seen me trying to go back and forth from watercolors to oils.
I'm sinning often. "Don 't fiddle," he said, and that's been a problem of mine in watercolor. But nothing compared to what I'm trying in oils.
But I'm learning, the hard way. 
He had me the first day when he mentioned The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, an old copy of which I have heavily marked up.
One of my Dad's oils, over our mantel
So I'm rereading it again, marveling at how little I know, how daunting this effort has been, how much more I admire my Dad's talent that I've been around all my life. But I know from his notebooks even my Dad was constantly learning. 

Here's the latest stage of "Sunset at Ranchos," 8" x 10", of the iconic church of Saint Frances, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. 
Next steps, mix more paint, fiddle less. Difficult learning. Difficult challenge.

No comments:

Post a Comment