Beginning Painting @ PNCA

One of my goals for 2013 is to take a painting class.  It was also one of my goals for 2012, but it never happened, so I decided to get to this right away and signed up for this PNCA course at the beginning of January. Before deciding on PNCA, I did a bit of research about other painting courses in town.  I was looking for one that was more intense college style class, PCC’s offerings were a little weak so I decided to go big.  The class I signed up for is pretty spendy at $360 for an 8-week class, but it was totally worth it and exactly what I was looking for.

We met for 3 hours on Monday night’s and most of that time was spent painting. Usually the instructor, Jerry Sumpter, would lecture or do a demonstration for about 30 minutes then the rest of the time we would paint.  There was a wide range of skill level among the other classmates, so Jerry would spend the rest of the class circulating between us, giving advice based on our skill level and our specific projects.  We only did three projects in this class, which before I signed up seemed low, but now that I know more about composing a painting, worked out just fine considering we spent 5 of the 8 weeks on our final project.

The first project was done in the very first class. I would call it a “free painting”, meaning we did almost no prep work, we painted just from sight. This was an exercise in the values of light. I felt a little intimidated on the first day, but now I feel pretty good about this project. I like the way it looks.

For the second project, we were asked to select a detail from a Baroque painting. Something between 1650-1800. I picked Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, and under the advice of our instructor, narrowed it down to just her face. Kind of a bad idea. I can not do faces! Yikes! At least her dress looks okay.

After my rough time on the second project, I decided it was time for a landscape, so I picked this shot of a waterfall in Iceland.  I visited Iceland for a week in 2005 and the trip has really stuck with me.  I think about going back all the time.  This photo I picked because I thought it was be easy for me to have a successful painting. Seems to have worked.

We spent about 5 weeks working just on this final project, taking it from a montone to dessaturated color, then finally all the way to full color.  On the final class, we painted for about two hours then had a critique at the end.  Watching my other classmate’s progress was really fun too, some of them are very talented.

I really really really enjoyed this class.  I would take another in a second if it were not for the price.  The instruction was high quality and I learned a lot.   They offer much more than just painting in their adult education classes. You can learn web design, adobe software, marketing strategies, and animation just to name a few topics.

The next challenge for me, is to take what I learned and do a painting at home.  I have some ideas… hopefully I’ll follow through.

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