May 21, representing the Art Students League of Denver, I did a Demo and Dialog at the Whole Foods Market in Capitol Hill, Denver, for an audience of about 30 people.
It was my first outdoor painting experience of the season - sort of a "warm-up for my Plein Air class that begins June 1 through the ASLD.
Demonstrating , to me, is always fraught with anxiety. It's not that I'm shy about speaking to groups - I'm not. And I enjoy showing my set up for Plein Air, because it's a bit different than that used by most artists. A Feather-Lite easel, a Pac-Seat stool, a small Masterson palette with a sponge. etc. But each time I begin a painting, I try to forget all that I know and begin a-fresh, seeking some connection with my subject unlike my previous work. I don't have rules. I don't have a standard way to begin - things I do first, or after. I enjoy the freshness a struggle often imparts to my work, and an occasional discovery of a new way of working. But I do look for something that moves me, and occasionally try to clarify what that "something" is. No surrounding city-scape, visible from my painting location and which was supposed to be the subject of my demo on the Whole Foods patio, inspired me.
So I just dove into a painting of the vegetable plants, and soon was as lost as my students frequently seem. The drawing kept changing, the colors wouldn't work spatially, the air was dry and my paints kept drying too. I had two hours, an audience, and an ego that wanted to produce a recognizable, balanced, well composed image.
My solution was to do a new painted line drawing in a dark color over my unstructured mess. The results, which pleased me, are above.