Another Painting Class, Session 2: Painting 4

In February/March I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over 5 sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line. This set of classes is a continuation of the previous group with the same teacher and the same group of students.

The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and vewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.

Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.

This painting is the third one I did as a group to meet our class assignment, which was to choose an emotion and depict it in a totally abstract way. I made some attempts in my sketchbook – and I wasn’t satisfied with them. To me, emotions are not paintable. Things, people, events, that evoke emotions, they are visible and can be depicted. That’s how I see things.

So I decided I would just paint in an abstract manner. My goal was to make nothing recognizable in the picture, just paint.

As I also said earlier, I worked on more than one painting at a time. I like having a lot of choices in front of me and it keeps things fresh and moving along to skip from one painting to another. I liked that feeling!

Here is the third in this series. It is called “Loops” and is acrylics on masonite, 18″ x 24″.

11 thoughts on “Another Painting Class, Session 2: Painting 4

  1. Judith

    I feel the same… I can’t “paint” emotions. The closest I can come is through the colors I choose, but colors can mean many different things. I’ve been playing with a lot of abstract art techniques, and I’m learning not to start with a narrative, or if I do, well, it’s probably going to change anyway. As the painting develops, that’s when the narrative begins to come through for me. Once I’ve done an abstract, I can go back and find lots of emotions there. I just can’t consciously add them. I have to focus on design elements and just allow the emotions to come through on their own.

  2. Claudia McGill Post author

    Yes, I understand. In the past doing something abstract made me feel anxious and stressed (out of control, maybe). For some reason this time I just put down the colors and let it do its thing. Sometimes I didn’t even look what color I was picking up next. It was fun to work this way, I guess I figured, what do I have to lose? But trying to say what these paintings “mean”, oh no, I will leave that to the viewers.

  3. memadtwo

    It works because you are so good with color and balance. I don’t even know what my emotions are most of the time, so painting them would be beyond my abilities for sure. (K)

  4. Claudia McGill Post author

    I knod of feel the same way, that I don’t know how to name my feelings and I don’t always see why there are names for something so undefinable. Our instructor is a very thinking kind of person vs. feeling in how she teaches, analytical rather than intuitive, which is fine and it pushes me in a good way, but…in the end, I am who I am, don’t want to change.

  5. David Carroll - Visual Artist

    Great work Claudia. I think that the term ‘Abstract’, is overused and can lead to confusion. Your paintings are a reprentation of emotions felt and although unplanned and intuitive, are not abstract. They come from somewhere within yourself and rather than trying to control the outcome, it is okay to be led by the process. The time for analasis can come later.

  6. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I agree with you, I am starting to feel that maybe there is too much thinking and defining about art when maybe it’s better just to look and be wordless. I think sometimes it is too bad we have to use words and just cannot send pictures, but I have come to feel that every artwork I make (or even knitted sweater or so on) expresses what I am wanting to convey so much better than I ever can say it. I will say this class has given me a lot to think about in how I communicate this way and I like that but I also am feeling the need to step back and let the paintings do the talking, your comment fits right in with that! Thank you.

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