A Private Painting Workshop – Garlics Galore!

I just held a private painting workshop for an amazing group of women. They are from different parts of the world and one of the beautiful things they have in common is that they like to cook. They were having one of their reunions in Franklin, TN and thought, “What is something special we could do together that is in alignment with our group’s passions?” And that answer turned out to be PAINTING!  But what? It was decided in advance that they would paint garlic.

They joined me in my studio in Centerville, TN and I had 12″ x 12″ deep, cradled canvases and wide Dynasty Black/Gold brushes ready to go. The head of this venture, Gloria, and I had previously created a still life with garlic bulbs and cloves. We took pictures of them and I printed them out as a reference. Our mission was to block them in and work on a value study. We began first by discussing composition and general painting rules. Then we used vine charcoal to draw the shapes on the previously toned canvases. I gave them a pile of raw umber, titanium white acrylic and they mixed the different values. Then, it was off to the races.

For beginner painters, this endeavor can be overwhelming. But I reassured them that all they had to do was look at the shapes and draw them on the canvas however they wanted to–then we’d think about darks and lights. When you break it down like that, it’s really not rocket science. Plus, when you keep color choices out of the equation, it really helps. Painting is much easier when you break things down into values of the lightest lights, to medium tones and the darkest darks.

One thing I’ve noticed about new painters is that they often have an idea in their mind about how their painting “should” look. Maybe they believe it should turn out just like the photo? But, in my opinion, that wouldn’t be interesting at all. The beauty of making art is that each person has their unique voice that comes into play. Their individual handwriting is what makes each piece so special. It’s their mark-making and creative choices that reveals who they are when they paint and makes things interesting. I love looking for the uniqueness in each work of art and wondering what the maker was feeling or thinking.

We all went to lunch at The Local Place, a wonderful restaurant right on the square in Centerville. Afterwards, we painted more. One artist got frustrated and decided to turn her garlics into an abstract painting, which I thought was a great choice. I showed them how to glaze their paintings using translucent colors like Green Gold and Sap Green. We also discussed oil painting as well and how the processes of oil and acrylic are quite similar to each other. Since some of them were flying, we opted for them to use only acrylic to make sure their pieces weren’t wet.

The ladies were here from about 10:30 to 4 pm. We had a great day and they said they loved the process. There is an addendum to this story. They decided to show all the husbands and family members the art and have them guess whose art was whose. A few guessed the correct ones but the husbands did not choose the ones their wives did. Very interesting! You may want to try this out at your next painting event and see what happens!

Thank you Gloria, et al, for trusting me to lead you through the painting process and to have some fun at the same time. I loved it. I hope you will always look at your paintings and remember our fun day together,

If you are interested in holding a private painting event, contact me to discuss. 

Rachael McCampbell