Camels, Posters, and Paint Nights
Have you ever been to a paint night? What did you paint? Was it a learning experience, or were you just given some paints and told: “here ya go.”
This past year I was privileged to host two paint nights. For the first one, I did a slide show. I showed perspective, a value study, and a possible finished project. I got feedback later: “I wanted more instruction.”
So when I had the opportunity to host a paint night for a smaller crowd recently, I decided to teach people one on one or in small groups. I publicized the paint night with a poster; I painted the Tsfat or Safed scene that I photographed years ago as a border. The materials given out were acrylic paints, not the sort of paints I have used much. I handed out pencils and some paper, and I showed the participants how to divide up the page into parts, so what they thought was a difficult subject became easier to handle. I pointed out the natural mountains at the top of the scene and the architectural, man-made elements below. Some chose to just paint the mountains. A few tackled the whole scene and did both. Others just played with the paints and chatted with their friends.
This was my first attempt at a border for advertising the paint night. I made the white too small.
So I painted again, and this one became the border for the details of the paint night.
At the top of this post is a watercolor that I painted from the Tsfat or Safed scene that I chose as the subject for the paint night. Since there has been a lot of upsetting news coming from Israel lately, we went with an Israeli theme for the paint night.
Due to the disheartening news, I decided to post a subject that was Israeli but warmer in nature. I revisited a photograph that I had taken years ago of Yemin Moshe, an old, elegant neighborhood outside of the Old City of Jerusalem. I did an interpretation in gouache:
Getting back to posters, I have been publicizing a series of talks by our local rabbi. Each one is a “parshat hashavua” or Torah portion of the week. For each poster I read the Torah portion well in advance and look for visual ideas that I can put in a poster. In the Torah portion of Hayei Sarah, Rebecca feeds not only Eliezer but also his camels. Camels! I took out children’s books about camels from the library, and I had fun drawing and painting a few camel scenes.
Back to paint night: I have two ideas for upcoming ones:
- Teach how to mix a palette of hue, tint, shade (color, lighter version of that color, darker version of color). Start with a blue, red, and a yellow (primary colors).
- Only black: only allow black for the first half an hour. Then they get treated to pink, turquoise, and lavender/purple.
The inspiration for the only black paint night was a participant wanted some black paint. I had left out the black paint on purpose, so students would mix their own darks. It got me thinking: how could we make good use of black? Using only black would force the students to think about darks and lights. Am I being too strict?
What would you want to learn at a paint night?