Pushing the Envelope

As an art teacher, students frequently ask me how to paint a certain texture or mix a specific color. Many times I can give them the answers because I?ve solved the problem before. But sometimes a new question comes up. Recently a student asked me how to create old barn siding with peeling paint. At the time I didn?t know, so I tried a few combinations and as I did, I jotted down my techniques and the individual paints and brushstrokes involved. The swatch became a reminder of how to accomplish a technique I don?t use frequently. It?s easy now to hand it to a student or to refer to it myself.

Here?s my exercise for you.
1. Choose a texture or subject that seems daunting but that you might want to use in a future painting: shiny silver, reflections on a lake, a crashing wave, a back-lit sunny subject, a night scene or barn siding with peeling paint.

2. Think through how you might solve it. Test these solutions in your favorite medium. Mark the elements that worked well and those that were less successful. (See an example from my sketchbook at right.)

3. Identify whatever components (colors, papers, techniques, tools) you?d need for you to teach this technique to someone else, or for you to repeat the piece.

4. Date the piece and file where you can find it again!

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