John C. Campbell Folk School, Slow Food

JCCFS – the secret mission and the blue chair

Today, Barbara demo’ed a landscape outside, which was very nice but I got restless. It is very distracting for me to be around rocks. I kept sneaking large pebbles into my fanny pack and pockets. Don’t know why I feel so secretive about this compulsion. But I went back after lunch and gathered quite a few, since these are the brown kind that I really like the most. I found a heart shaped rock and that made me especially pleased with my secret mission.

After this, we went to an area that had some little gardens and rustic buildings, so there was a good variety of subjects. I talked to Barbara about how it was good for me to loosen up and paint in broad strokes and areas since I have always gotten wrapped up in tight details. But on the other hand, I said, I am drawn to plants and leaves as subjects and want to focus on that. So she suggested a lovely white clematis because white is never white. I agreed that was a good subject but when we got there the only spots I could set up near it were in the full sun or next to a nasty smelling ashtray. So I set up on the porch across from the clematis and focused on an old wooden chair in front of it. The clematis ended up being a nice background highlight.

Early on I was working on the underpainting and I was feeling extremely uncomfortable. Barbara came by and said that she really liked my composition and shapes and that encouraged me. I left the chair as a white rectangle for the longest time while I played around it because I was afraid of painting the slats. Finally I convinced myself that I was here to have fun and if I messed up the painting it didn’t matter. Being scared of what I was there to do didn’t make logical sense. So I relaxed and gave myself permission to paint the slats, or not, whatever. I painted them and they were great. That painting popped after I painted those slats. Then I painted just a few other small details, but nothing like I would have once done. And it was just enough to give the whole thing a little zing.

I am very happy with this painting and if I don’t do another thing right while I’m here I will consider it time well spent because of it.

Conversation with Nell tonight was very satisfying. We have a lot in common and I think that I have made a friend.

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