Conversation with a 7 year old

11 07 2016

After our piano lesson when Miss Marvelous our moʻopuna (grandchild), now 7, was quick to grasp the Italian terms of forte, piano, fortissimo, pianissimo, etc.—likely because she lived in Italy for three years—she asked me, “Popo, do you have any watercolors? May I paint?”

“Sure,” I said.

Once in the studio she asked, “Popo, do you work with values, like the value scale?”

Surprised at such an adult question, I said, “You mean the shades of gray? Yes, I do, Ayla, values are the most important thing to know about art. Are you learning that in school?”

I remembered she announced the first week in her new school this summer after first grade, “I have an art teacher!”

“My teacher has a wheel like yours except it’s smaller,” she said, bouncing over to my color wheel on the wall.  “These are the primary colors, and these are the secondary colors.”

“How about the complementary colors, the ones opposite each other on the wheel? Where are the tints and the shades?” I quizzed.

I got out my watercolor kit and sent Ayla with a jar to the sink for water. I gave her a small panel of thick textured paper.

Picking up the brush she said, “There are warm colors and cool colors.”

Hmmm . . . impressive. Thinking about values, to myself I said “fortissimo” and “pianissimo, too,” but I kept silent and let Ayla paint her own rainbow.

Grapes and drapes painting lesson

5 09 2012

Grapes and drapes still life setup, Painting II, Rebekah Luke, instructor.

Today my Painting II class is painting “Grapes and Drapes.” This lesson, originally from Gloria Foss, is practice in the studio for painting the Ko‘olau Mountains and trees in the landscape later on.

We pay attention to where the light is coming from in the scene and turn the form with values from light to dark.

We review the “Tomato Theory” we learned in Painting I, that is lightening and darkening the form with colors that are analogous on the color wheel instead of adding white or black, or instead of adding the complement to darken. In addition, we remember the mantra, “Warm it in the light; cool it in the shade.”

“Tomato Theory” can be a hard to get used to at first, but practicing it makes objects pop with vibrance and gives the overall painting more pizazz.

I find it satisfying to be able to pass on the techniques I learned from my own teachers Vicky Kula and Gloria Foss. What they taught me and what I am passing on to my students is the logic of light.

Copyright 2012 Rebekah Luke

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