Blog Archive

Monday, March 4, 2013

Acrylic Painting Class in Fortuna

Beginning Monday Morning, March 11th, 2013, 9-11:30 AM an Acrylic Painting Class will be taught by Penny Saville Fregeau. The class runs six weeks and the cost is $165 + materials. The class is open to pre-teens through senior adults. All skill levels are welcome. To sign up visit the Fortuna Parks and Rec at Rohner Park in Fortuna, California. For more information call (707)725-7620.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Drawing Class in Fortuna

On Tuesday evenings starting February 26th a Drawing Class taught by Penny Fregeau will start in Fortuna .  The class will run for six weeks and will be located at Fortuna Fabric & Crafts, 2045 Main St.  All skill levels are welcome!  Each session will run two houts (6:30 - 8:30 PM).  The cost of the entire six weeks is $100 plus supplies which are available at the store.  For more information please call Fortuna Fabric & Crafts at 725-2501.  You may sign-up at the store which is located in the Ray's shopping center.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Limited Color Palette Part I

Why use a limited palette when there is conceivably every color of paint under the sun made by a plethora of art companies at our disposal?  While artists will no doubt debate over the brand of products, I adopted my painting teacher's limited palette and have been thrilled with the success.  What I found were limitless possibilities in color mixing, but more importantly, in incorporating a limited palette I learned how color is created.  In this age where color is readily mixed by computers or selected from computer palettes of thousands and thousands of colors this might seem like insignificant brain-training.  I don't believe this color creating knowledge to be obsolete or useless and offer to you, the reader,in the next few posts, some of benefits of learning from a limited palette.

With just several hand picked colors of pure pigment one can paint any color under the sun.  When computers were first making their debut, folks were excited by the possibility of sixty-four thousand colors.  My immediate thought was that the human mind can manufacture and infinite number of color combinations!  Sixty-four thousand is actually a small number when compared to infinite.  I'm not slamming the use of computers.  To the contrary, I use them for art endeavors on a daily basis.  But I do not have to depend on computers to create color.  I learned that with a limited palette of paint, an easel, a canvas, a mixing tray and daylight.  It was an intellectual exercise that took quite a bit of time - years!  But mixing color, like many art based endeavors, teaches the mind to problem solve - and that ability pays dividends in many areas of life.  This is a big reason I believe the reduction of art programs in the schools - visual art, creative writing, drama, and music - to name a few - is terribly short-sighted!  Who would not benefit from intellectual exercises in problem solving?  The human gift of creativity is perhaps more multi-sided and useful in all areas of life than the decision- makers of these programs give credit.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

"I Can Only Draw Stick Figures"

Most artists, no matter what their field of endeavor, are at some time told, "wow, I could never do that, I can only draw stick figures, or I can only play "Chop Sticks."  The words are intended as a compliment, which is fine.  But behind the comment lies the thought that artistry is just something one has or does not have.  While every human being is gifted in different capacities by their Creator, one must also develop their God-given gifts for them to have meaning for other people.  How sad to be given a gift and not develop that capacity!  It's kind of like loving someone, but never expressing one's feelings to the object of their affection.  It goes unnoticed and without meaning.

Developing those gifts requires time, commitment and determination. To move forward one may see the need to receive instruction from another, or to work in concert with a few other artists, exchanging ideas and encouragements and thoughtful critique.  If one waits to be "inspired" the development of one's artistic gifts will suffer.  It's best to plow through those times we do not "feel" like painting, or writing or practicing that instrument.  A painter paints, a writer writes, a musician plays whether or not they feel like it...that is part of commitment.    

The Apostle Paul teaches us that our gifts are not given for our own pleasure.  They are given for the benefit of others.  Although Paul was focusing on "spiritual gifts" the same can be said for "natural gifts."  If we developed our gifts with the benefit of others on our mind then our art can have great meaning both as we work and as we consider how to brighten someone elses life by the things we create. 

As an artist we all appreciate when someone likes our work enough to pay us for it, for that says something significant about the way the art makes them feel.  Far better however, are those times when someone is brought to tears because of something we have worked hard to develop and create.  If someones heart is deeply touched and we have communicated something so tender or thought-provoking that an emotional reaction ensures, then that is like applause to a performer, like a metal to an athlete, like a diploma to a student.  It is worth all the long hours and practice of our craft to be a part of making something that effects another in a positive way.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Art and Faith During Troubled Times

In Inspired by Faith, author Robin Landa address the why to creating artworks of faith.  "Artists choose to paint religious and spiritual works in order to reveal their beliefs to themselves, to others, and to God...Painting, one of the most dynamic and complex mediums we have ever invented, allows us to seach out our minds and souls, revealing our inner worlds.  Art makes ideas, feelings, and beliefs visible to ourselves, as we create it, and to others, when they see the finished work.  Art affects its viewers, influencing people, awakening their perceptions, stimulating their senses and enlightening their minds and souls." 

My painting teacher who taught me much about color theory often talked about an artist having "soul" in their work.  Although I was not a color theorist, nor my works impressionistic as his were, I admired much about his work, and sought to emulate his use of color.  I tried to incorporate the color knowledge he taught me within my own style of painting. He told me that my work had a lot of "soul."  It's not something I can thoroughly explain but what an artist believes comes out, indescribly, through their work.

We have reasons for creating.  Something moves us.  If we experience much in our hearts as a result of our faith, then we somehow want to express this visually so that others might share our experience.  We want to make our faith come alive for other people.  As I painted Jesus Coming Forth From the Grave during an Easter worship service, someone in the congregation remarked to the person sitting beside them, "I've always known about Jesus, but when I saw this painting I realized He is alive!"  This brought tremendous meaning to me and made all the long hours of learning to paint worthwhile.

Especially in times of widespread difficulty it is often artists that capture images that express what many feel.  Such days are with us now.  We search for comfort and meaning in the aftermath of horrible violence.  Artists of faith paint, photographers of faith take pictures, musicians of faith play new music and writers of faith compose sensitive compositions to light the candle of belief and trust in God and give others a way to share their hope.

In these days may you use your God-given talent to encourage someone with faith.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Introduction to Drawing Part I

Drawing is the basic componet of any artwork.  Like piano playing to a musician, a knowledge and growing skill of drawing gives a good foundation and raises the maturity level of our artwork.  A few components to consider as we pursue drawing:

  • Draw everyday!  We artists tend to think that inspiration has to hit us before we start to create.  Nonsense!  That approach will make the creation of art sporatic and will elongate the learning process unnecessarily.  If at all possible, try to draw, even a little bit, everyday.  An athelete practices, a musician practices, a writer writes and an artist draws (or paints or sculpts, etc.).  If we want to take our skill level up it becomes something we habitually do and we work it into our rhythm of life - on purpose.

  • Use the whole sheet of paper.  Start to think overall composition and how to make each area of the paper or canvas attractive.

  • Really observe shadow and light.  Make sure there is enough contrast.  Squint your eyes to see the polarization of black verses white.  If you can't differientate your sketch when you are squinting then there is more contrast work to be done. 

  • Make special note of the outline of your subject.  Again, observe intently the shape of the lines and imitate what you see.  Would your drawing be interesting if it was only the outside lines?  Are the shapes attractive? 

  • Look at the negative space.  The areas around your subject - are the outlines and negative shapes interesting? 

  • Consider texture.  Is the texture of the subject you are replicating convincing?  Need more observation and practice?  Remember to draw what you really see (not what you 'think' you see.)  Don't make assumptions about the texture of a familiar object.  Try to observe it as for the first time.

  • Enjoy what you do.  Be encouraged with progress!  Keep older drawings for a sense of history to see how far you have come. And don't forget to sign and date your drawings for the same reason.  You have a unique way of viewing the world - so sign that paper or canvas! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Vibrant Color Part IV

Shadows are interesting.  Before the Impressionists came along with their love of painting outdoors, the studio painters tended to paint shadows as darker shades of the prevailing local color.  With observation we can see that there is not only color in light but color in shadows.  Unless something is completely dark there is some color going on.  In creating the color for shadows we can accentuate what we already know to be there.  So instead of thinking grayed browns and blacks, think dark green, blue, purple, perhaps even red - using them side by side in the same intensity (the same on the black and white scale).  A great way to develop the skill of matching intensity is to photograph a finished colored painting with black and white film.  Red, for example, is a very dark color, but because it is also bright, it fools us into thinking it is actually lighter.  Children love to experiment with mixing color.  It is just as fun as an adult.  Enjoy!