After watching a video by artist Robert Burridge, I decided it would be a great exercise for my students. His paintings are very loose and have lots of vibrant colors, layers and texture. Most of my students could stand to do some loosening up in their own paintings. So, as any good art teacher should do, I experimented with his process myself.
I set up an easel with a medium-sized canvas and palette in the hallway of my office. Now there are many educational professionals in my office, and most of them have jobs doing things that I do not understand, but everything requires lots of paperwork. So as they went in and out of their offices, everyone stopped to take a look at my painting and make comments.
“Wow! That is so good!” (It really wasn’t.) “Love your colors!” “I wish I could paint/draw! I can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler!” And the number one comment: “That looks like so much FUN!”
Well, it was fun, but creating art is also work. Although the process I borrowed from Bob Burridge was about using color to create a pleasing composition, it required thought, knowledge of design, and practice. A viewer sees only the finished piece and does not realize the hours of preparation and study it took to make that one painting. The audience listens to a guitarist who makes it look so easy, not thinking about the number of hours spent practicing. Athletes “play” only after years of training.
And that’s why it’s called artwork. It takes a lot of work to make that one painting.