Sunday 31 January 2010

Twisting the Truth

This month sees the Art Day folk wrestling with the world of Picasso. Now, I've heard a lot of people scoff at him down the years... you know the sort of remark "my five year old kid could do that!".
Not so, as we find out.
We start off by really looking hard at one of his still-lifes and discovering things... here's a skirting board, these are tiles, there's a staircase leading down. And what we thought was a pretty pair of bosoms is in fact fruit on a glass dish!
I've set up a fairly complex affair based on and around my Nanna's old 1930s Lloyd-loom table, which has wonderful curved legs; quick preliminary sketches are struggled over, the only rule really is to twist the reality into a good, dynamic design. At one point I wedge a couple of objects so they're leaning at weird angles... "You WILL draw it crooked!"
We work in pastel on coloured paper and I have to be constantly on the alert- students keep sliding back into the world of the real and the literal. For example, a plant automatically coloured in shades of green or a book that looks 'normal' and ordinary -reverse that perspective, please!
Also to be avoided is the importance of subject matter over 'background'- both are equally important in the Picasso we looked at, and sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between the two.
The choice of colour's important, too, and we begin with just two or three, remembering that the tone of the paper counts, then add more if needed.
The moans and groans of the first hour change to interest, concentration, decision and finally surprise and pleasure at what's been achieved.
Well done, ladies, we got there in the end!


Sue England said...

Impressive stuff-must be the inspirational teacher! Having just seen the Van Gogh exhibition, I think he would make a good subject for a class-all that 'nature/cycle of life' stuff, and what an amazing colourist. Not that I'm trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs or anything...
Was in Clitheroe a couple of weeks ago, so would like to see your painting of the castle when it's finished. Hope all well with you both-Sue

Caroline said...

Good to hear from you, Sue!
I think you're right about the Van Gogh- such suggestions are welcome, I'm always looking for new projects! X