I have recently returned from a three-day painting workshop with Ruth Armitage at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Ruth is an accomplished Oregon painter and I enjoy her teaching style. I travelled to the Oregon Coast to paint in her workshop last week, knowing she would focus on the elements of design as keys to success in a painting. More specifically, Ruth encourages her students to commit to the dominance of one design element within a painting, choosing from line, color, shape, texture or value.
Over the three-day period, we completed three paintings of the same subject, choosing a different design element to explore each day. Since my habit is to usually paint with shape and color, I chose to explore line on day one, texture on day two, and color on day three, working on Yupo paper the third day to punch up the hue of the primary and secondary colors I love to use. I didn’t plan on painting myself at this workshop, but a reference photo of me in a sunhat and a dress I really like kept my interest for the entire workshop.
The self-portrait shown here is a painting done in my usual style of shape-making and flat color, with the addition of collage to add texture. I explored texture using magazine clippings and some of my hand-carved Speedy-cut rubber stamps. It was so much fun to create! I look forward to playing with texture some more, especially as a way to re-invent and invigorate some not-so-great watercolor paintings I keep in a drawer in my studio.