Never having attended a formal art school has at times made me feel a little left out of the loop in the art world. While I am a big fan of studying painting by learning modern and past masters techniques from books, I finally reached the point where I definitely needed to take a more direct route to improving my paintings. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology and Johannes and Ken Vloothuis at Improvemypaintings.com I have stumbled upon the perfect blend of inexpensive home study and painting lessons by expert instructors who amazingly seem to care that I learn and apply the concepts they are teaching. They didn’t ask me to write this and I’m not being paid to do so. I’m just so impressed with the video streamed classes I have taken so far that I wanted to share a little of my experience.
The most recent class I took dealt with working with a limited palette. The Zorn palette consists of ivory black, titanium white, yellow ochre light and cadmium red. The painting above was my first attempt at using this palette. I loved the challenge of mixing all the shades, values and variety I needed using only four tubes of paint. By watching Ken work I was able to see how I could paint wet on wet, something that had always alluded me.
Johannes offered a class on painting trees and foliage. Much of what he taught I knew on some intuitive level, but learning the whys and wherefores has been invaluable. The painting “The Tomoka” was what I did as a result.
This painting is where I combined everything I learned in the past couple of months. I used the Zorn palette, but added small touches of cad yellow and burnt siena.
Taking these online classes has given me a new excitement for painting. I pick up my brushes, squeeze out my paints and attack my canvases with confidence and happy anticipation. Have you taken classes that ignited your passion? Do you have a favorite instructor you would like to brag about? Did a weekend workshop change you life? Leave a comment and tell me about it.