Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Theory of satisfaction vs perfection in practice... China painting
One of the reasons - actually the main reason - I'm here at my parents' house is because my mom signed up for a 3 day china painting workshop with Paula Collins in Morton, IL, and she needed someone to drive and help her while she was there.
Mom used to do a lot of china painting... before the knee surgeries, pulmonary embolism, etc mentioned in the previous post. All of the medical problems she's had in the past 5 years have managed to set her back in a big way. She's done very little painting, and the shake in her hands has become more pronounced during those difficult years as well. So this workshop has been extremely frustrating and somewhat humiliating for her.
I've been recruited to do some of the painting... a lot of the painting... and to say I am out of my element and out of practice as well is an understatement. Sure, I got my degree in studio art. In 1980. I rarely pick up a brush as small as is used in china painting any more.
So I repeated my mantra as "we" were painting (mom watching, me painting) that the reason we take a class is to learn something new... that we can't expect a masterpiece to come out of it (read: a plate like the instructor's). It's so interesting... in all of the china painting classes I've observed, it's standard practice for the instructor to come around and sort of help "clean up" what the students have done, unless they object (few do). Thinking back, I guess I did a little of that myself when I was teaching polymer clay...
Anyway, here is the teacher's plate progression today (click on photos to enlarge)
And here is "our" plate. I sketched in some leaves after this, but we had to leave because mom was not feeling well, so the teacher blocked them in for us. I'll take a picture tomorrow to show what it looks like fired. The china paints look very different once they are fired...