Finishing up my Pamela Allen class. The last exercise was to do a narrative piece. We started by critiquing artwork with a focus on how the artistic elements tell a story, even in something like a still life. Then we needed to come up with one of our own.
It was a very chaotic week for me, and I had just gotten a new book by Gail Godwin, a favorite author. I was marveling at how I could completely slip away from the chaos and lose myself in the book, and decided to try to make a piece capturing that.
I submitted 2 slightly different versions for critique.
I was afraid the first one was too overpowered by the flower background, so I tamed the background, but felt it lost something and became too static:
Pamela said she felt both pieces worked but conveyed slightly different feelings. She pointed out that the first, with the darker shading on the face created more anxiety and made the woman look like she was trying to read in the chaos, but finding it hard. The second was overall calmer.
There were strong opinions from the group on both sides about whether the flowers overpowered or not. I decided I wanted that overwhelming feeling, but created a bit of a corner to help her pop a bit.
It was a fun and challenging exercise, but I don't know that it's anything I'll continue with.
But I did love the class! Here's what I'm taking from it:
- I like Pamela's technique of cutting freeform and using a gluestick to anchor pieces. It's a great way to establish an overall composition before going on to details.
- I'm reminded to look to masters for lessons in composition and color.
- Think primarily about shape first and find ways to make shapes pop by varying the background.
- It's fabulous to find a great teacher to critique your work!!!
I highly recommend taking one of her classes!