Work in Progress


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First Steps – Breaking Barriers


This painting of a scraggly tree at Red Rocks was my reintroduction into soft pastels.

I took a class with Jane Christie called “Paint Fearlessly “. She is a fantastic pastel artist from Evergreen Colorado and a great instructor. While I don’t believe this painting to be a masterpiece, as I am sure it’s going to take me some time before I can get there, this painting broke several barriers for me.

First, it had been SO long since I had drawn or painted that I didn’t even know if I still could. Second, my brain was so unpracticed at seeing as an artist, I didn’t know how to look at objects anymore. Last, I was afraid of the discovery process itself and what exactly it would reveal about my capabilities or lack thereof.

Frankly, I was pretty terrified that this huge piece of me was lost forever.

This class was the perfect remedy. We didn’t dive into drawing or painting right away. Instead, we were taught how to see.

What does that mean?

It means, we spent a good hour looking at paintings done by the greats in monotone and discussing where the light, medium and dark values were placed. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Then, we were given white and black construction paper squares and a mid-tone piece of paper. Our task as individuals was to place the squares according to value onto the paper in a way that would give you a focal point. Again, not that easy. The 3 values have to be different shapes and sizes when massed together.

Then we could start painting from our reference photo. I strongly believe this class and the exercises we did before painting helped to set me up for success. Jane came by and gave me some really helpful feedback as well. Without this class, I feel I would be approaching the painting process in an undisciplined manner.

And the class delivered on its promise. Previously, I was creating chaotically. I’m now painting fearlessly because I know the steps involved to create impactful visual art.