A little bit about our teacher. Frances used to teach art at the high school level. She then began offering in-service classes to teachers during the summer. That is how my mom found out about the class and began taking it the first year Frances offered the course. These days, the class is more for fun. With a little bit more relaxed schedule and no one is taking it for cred. In the beginning it was all about water color and painting things that we found around town. Frances has since switched her work to focus on abstract art and using acrylics. She has started to mingle the real with the abstract again (just this past year), in her words, she has a strong connection to the cowboys and desert landscapes that originally inspired her and wanted to pull that inspiration back in to her paintings.
Frances, also known as Francheskaa, spends her winters as a snowbird down south in Arizona and then comes back up to Belmont, Nevada for the summer months. She shows her work in galleries in both areas and has work published in books and magazines. She is a true joy to be around and has a personality that will set you at ease. When she critics your work she always finds something you can improve upon as well as something that she really loves about the painting, no matter how craptastic it might be...
This year we really focused on form and function. Starting off the week using black and white and shades of gray that we mixed (totally reminding me of old school photography class where we only used black and white film to capture our world so we could fully understand contrast, values, and things like texture, lines, movement etc) and discussing things like large, medium and small shapes, overlapping, open and closed shapes, loops and piercing, transparency, creating depth using shapes and overlapping, pull and push of light and dark, and textures (using things like bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, and tissue paper).
We moved into using color on the 3rd day and really worked on mixing color using primary, secondary and complimentary colors to make your painting "sing" how utilizing a couple of colors (either those that are complimentary to noe another or two primary and thier secondary or two secondary and the middle primary). I love pulling out that color wheel and making our own was a good exercise, even if you did learn it back in 2nd grade! This part was something I had struggled with in the past and feel like I had a huge breakthrough with this year. I also realized that not being stingy with the paint really helps and that I need a good set of brushes if I want to make myself really comfortable.
We had a wonderful group of artist this year and instead of meeting in the church to paint we set up shop at Francess cabin (look at that light!) After class each night we would potluck our food together and sit outside to eat, chat and enjoy each other's company.
I had a wonderful time watching the shadows grow across the landscape and listening to the stories of local history be told over desert and glasses of wine.