So for my last painting class with Tom Balderas, I decided to do a larger color-study for a small painting I’m starting this week. The lady painting at the easel next to me solemnly explained to another student that I was working on a portrait of my husband. I hastily corrected - oh no, that’s the man who pushes his cart by our house every day! Then I realized she had been teasing me. For the rest of the day, we joked about how I was painting a picture of my husband, my love, who was bringing me my ice cream breakfast-in-bed.
The background of my photo looked like one dark blob to me, so I asked the teacher how to approach it. He pointed out to me that it went from warm to cool colors - a dark reddish-green on the left, cerulean in the center, and more of a pure green to the right. I’m still struggling to see the variations in color that he does, but it really did seem to break up the monotony of that large dark area.
Towards the end of class, the instructor did a demo for us; a quick study from an old photo of his son in a boat. I was able to film the demonstration, and it turned into a priceless souvenir of that class. At the beginning, one of the students was crunching an apple behind me. She suddenly realized that my recording device was picking up sound as well, oops!…and it devolved into chaos from there. For the rest of the video, you can hear the other students cracking jokes, giggling, and making ribald comments.
Tom started by painting on some canvas paper, but complained that it “gripped” his brush too much, hindering his brushwork. So, he asked if he could paint on my waxed paper palette instead, and I brought it to him. That turned into a brief discussion of “archival” supplies, and whether they’re important or not, and who cares? In the mean time, one of the ladies was loudly wailing in mock anguish because Tom had given his first unfinished study to another student.
At one point during the video, another student popped in to say hi, bringing her new puppy with her. So that meant we had three dogs milling around the studio! The teacher gamely kept on with his demo, as furry canine bodies were weaving in and out of the legs of his easel.
One of the regular students had brought our instructor a gift: a blank book that read, “Creative Ramblings of a Restless Mind” on the cover. Tom had said he likes to write in his blank books - stories, poems, whatever - and he has to get out of the house every morning and go to a coffee shop or someplace to write; it’s become a daily habit. That was neat…I was an English major in college, but never write because I feel like I should be painting, instead…but writing and sketching over coffee every day sounds so arty, doesn’t it? This class was so inspiring to me!