Thursday, September 18, 2014


Barb Smucker
Joan O’Leary introduced Barb Smucker, the Artist giving the Program for the month. 
Barb got her degree in Art, but has been really actively painting for just 12 years.   She wanted to tell us about her journey in the artistic field, about where she started, and where she is now.  She has taught dozens of classes, and feels that she also learns from these.

As an Art Major, Barb learned and practiced with all kinds of materials, styles, colors, and subjects.  She learned to have a love and a curiosity of all kinds of artwork.  She really loves the “process” of painting and experimenting.  Her early work was more about Transparent Watercolor, but now she tries many different paintings, from conventional transparent watercolor to crazy abstracts, using some acrylics – but, mostly water-based paints only.
Barb showed examples of (left to right) Saturation, Hue and Value.
Barb talked about how we all love Color!  She loves all aspects of color.  She talked about the Principles of Color:
Hue – (colors are mostly at the edge of the color wheel);
Value – how light or dark a color is in its purest form.  It is a good idea to look at the Value Pattern of your painting (that is, step back, and see the Notan patterning, throughout the whole piece.)  If you want to emphasize color only, use mid-tones of all the colors.
Saturation – how bright vs how dull.  Just because some color is lighter does not mean it is “brighter”.  She showed examples.  Saturation is Intensity.  Color against fog or mud stands out.  If you want to de-saturate a color, add white to it; to dull down a color, add a blend of other colors.
Barb showed us the beginnings of an abstract painting to which
 she was going to add water soluable crayons.
As Barb demo’d a painting, she talked about how your strokes, and the colors you choose, can impact the “feeling” of a painting.  Subject matter can tell you what hues and saturation to use.  She also told us that trying to do a new hue contrast will probably upset our brains.  Trying something new can frustrate us at first, but stimulates our creativity.

It was interesting to watch Barb draw – she holds her pencil far from the point.  She quickly drew a woman’s face and body.  She began painting in pure hues.  She talked about not “over-thinking it”, but deciding just what color you want to put next to the other color.  She said “Paint like a kindergartener!  - just for a change!   It can inspire your carefully worked on, six-month, get-it just-right, exact, painting.”  When she paints, Barb keeps a “warm” and a “cool” water container, to keep the colors from getting muddied.  Barb also used a spray ink (Hobby Lobby).
Drawing an abstracted female figure . . .
Using pure colors . . .. 
. . . and having fun with her painting!
When asked “How does one go about starting an Abstract painting?” she replied “Start playing around with colors and shapes and textures.  Find the best part of your beginning work, and then paint “into” the best part.  Use vivid, pure hues; mixed media, crayons.”  She has even blown paint through a straw as an exercise.  Take ½ hour to just play.    She told us about six-minute tutorials online from Jane Davies, and a Water Paper Paint book by Heather Jones.
Small matted abstracts based on beach glass and stones.
Barb showed us how she begins a painting of beach glass by dropping and spraying paint.
Barb held the painting on it's side to let the paints flow and drip together.
A look at one of her beach glass paintings in progress.
Barb’s Painting of Woman was both amazing and interesting!  She mentioned that she may have an Abstract Workshop in the future if enough people are interested.  Barb then gave some good suggestions for improvement to members who brought in a painting to be Critiqued.

Next Program will be with our own Susan Grogan.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS, September, 2014, photos by Deb Ward.

No comments: