After striking out with my first attempt to find a local teacher, I was reminded of our local Arts community organization. I went to their building to explore, and I was thrilled. They were having an exhibit of the works of local artists. I lost myself in the beautiful paintings.
After I looked over every piece in the exhibit, I went to the office to find out about oil painting classes. There was a class in progress. I had already missed two classes. But I signed up anyway.
The teacher was Diane Turner. She’s a great artist, and she was a student of LeConte Stewart, a famous Utah painter, and a hero of mine.
I have to admit that I was EXTREMELY nervous when I entered the classroom on the next Wednesday evening. All the students laughed at my new easel, but they applauded that I was a very new oil painter.
I didn't say anything to anyone about Bob Ross.
We were painting sunflowers in a vase, which is significant to oil painters because of Vincent Van Gogh.
I wasn't sure I could do it. They weren't starting with a thin coat of liquid white, like Bob Ross does. And the teacher told me I could only use the three primary colors, red yellow and blue. And white.
I picked Alizarin Crimson and tried to trowel it on with a palette knife. Didn't look right. Then I went after the vase. It looked like I was back in the eighth grade.
I enjoyed mixing my colors to get green for the stems. I was feeling more confident. I did the petals on the flowers with a palette knife, because I've seen Van Gogh’s sunflowers in person, and I believe he used a knife. My painting looked childish and crude, but I think it turned out okay.
The teacher said I shouldn't have centered my vase and flowers. And she was confused about my odd looking background. I didn't understand about her method of under painting, but I understand now, and I think I’ll try another still life on my own. She covers her canvas in a thinned down color of her choosing. I want to try that. But all in all it was a VERY valuable experience, and I enjoyed the interaction with the other students.