Single Topic - Single Session
For groups of 8-30 participants

That’s quite a challenge for artists used to striving for tightly realistic effects.  Members of the association had to move more toward abstraction. Weidenheimer began by showing examples, starting with primitive, yet stylized  Lasko Cave drawings, and elegantly simple Asian Sumi ink work.. In other examples, he suggested exaggeration or fracturing images of objects, scenes and  the human form. The group explored  removing shading and painting areas with flat color, as  well as the use of repetitive shapes.

“Try outlining objects, eliminating inner details and textures. Paint the outlined shapes with flat color, no shading, , color like you would see in a poster or cartoon,” he said.

“Decide which elements in the scene are most important or interesting to you and feature these in your painting.”

He explained the use of limiting the color palette as another creative way to relax the structure in ones’ work, suggesting sticking to two to three colors. One or two colors could  be warm hues, with a cool color is introduced for interest. Picasso’s Blue or Red Period is a prime example.

“Reduce contrast and color intensity in the less important areas,” he said. “Try replacing all the colors with either different hues, or bolder. or more muted colors.”

Regarding Impressionism, “Strokes matter,” he said, showing examples of Impressionistic masters using a variety of brush strokes including slashes, dots, and larger, looser strokes.

Another approach to creating paintings from photos is to use computer aided imagery or programs like Picasa, which can aid in creativity by distorting the photo and the subject. Backgrounds in paintings can be splashed on with several watercolors or diluted acrylics or a spray bottle used for a different effect.

Animals were shown in a variety of ways, from linear drawings to fractured shapes like stained glass or repetitive shapes. Landscapes were either a soft, diffused impressionistic style without hard edges or use rhythmic repetition with shapes and colors like a painting featuring bright yellow and orange trees against a blue background. Repetition with variety was shown in artist Tonya Bottomly’s work, a contemporary artist who flirts with primitive sophistication.

“Allow your personality, emotions and intellect to shape how you interpret the scene on your canvas. he said,

Many of the members who had never before considered moving toward abstraction in their workibegan thinking and seeing outside the four walls of their boxes and creating images that were altogether original.

Artists learn to paint outside the box
Written by Page H. Gifford,| 22 August 2012
Troy Weidenheimer (standing on left) with Fluvanna Art Association
members and their work done in "Painting More Freely" workshop.
Fluvanna Art Association invited art instructor
Troy Weidenheimer to return for another workshop,
this time to focus on learning to paint more freely.

“The purpose of this workshop is to explore ways of moving from doing tight,  illustration-type  renderings, to creating more expressive fine art,” said Weidenheimer.

“We'll look at ways of transitioning  from photographic  renderings toward  more impressionistic, stylized or semi-abstract painting. We'll  explore ways of creating paintings that are more like poems - more evocative, suggesting more than thay state,  and better expressing your own individuality."
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