Here’s an inspiring collection of stand-out work from some of my stellar Painting Drama students…
For the uninitiated, ‘Painting Drama’ (PD1) is my super-intense, real-time course on composition and finding your own visual voice.
The third generation of PD1 began this past Spring. The amount of talent and charisma in this group is unreal.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to eleven of them.
These assignments were completed about a month ago. Each artist contributed a few thoughts on their process and/ or a testimonial about the course. There are also some links you can use to connect with each of them online.
This post is overflowing with beautiful, imaginative art.
*We will begin accepting auditions for the fourth generation of ‘Painting Drama’ in the Spring of 2015.
*This post contains some very mild nudity.
“The ‘Painting Drama’ experience is amazing!
It has enhanced my visual development skills to an incredible level. I feel stronger and more confident with myself as an artist.
The whole process is crystal clear, exiting and fun. I deeply recommend PD1 to anyone who truly desires to become an awesome artist.”
“Using the ‘Painting Drama’ principles, I tried to reach a composition that was as dramatic as I could manage.
(At the beginning of this assignment I had also just joined The Magic Box, so I was keen to try some techniques from there as well.)
My fellow students were amazingly supportive and helpful. They pushed me to take my painting further.
‘Painting Drama’ is teaching me to become a more thoughtful artist. …and it has taught me much about art and composition that I would never have learned on my own.
It’s been a great experience so far. If you find yourself struggling with composition and storytelling, I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
“I couldn’t have made a better choice for my career than ‘Painting Drama.’
Neither painting would have succeeded without the constant feedback from my fellow classmates and Chris. We support and push each other to become the very best we can. We learn to work as a group and nobody is alone there.
Every week, ‘Painting Drama’ is mind-blowing. Chris creates lessons in which we’re pushed to really apply what we learn. I don’t feel lost or confused anymore.
Anyone can do something pretty, but it’s hard to convey drama and storytelling. The course really helped me achieve that with my ‘Medusa.’
Creating the ‘David and Goliath’ piece was a huge challenge. I tried to maintain a balance between what I was comfortable creating – and creating something out of my comfort zone. At the end I went into completely new territory.
…but I wasn’t afraid because everybody was very supportive during the process and I had everything I learned about composition to guide me.”
Ejiwa “Edge” Ebenebe:
“Taking ‘Painting Drama’ has honestly been the best thing that’s happened to me on my artistic adventure so far!
I came into this class completely confused about the direction I wanted for my work, or even what I was trying to say at all.
I’m halfway through the course at this point, and it’s like a fog has been lifted from my mind!
I’ve met so many wonderful people and we are constantly pushing each other to do better.
Things suddenly make sense.
I understand more and more about why I’m drawing things the way I am. I feel less and less like I’m floundering around with my art. …and I’m starting to draw things that actually try to say something.
With this ‘Medusa’ piece, I wanted to explore a version of the tale deep underwater. What if Medusa had been a mermaid, frolicking up above in the sun-ray lit planes of the warm ocean?
Now she’s banished, and scorned, condemned to live her life in the dark depths, never to bask in the beautiful glow of the surface she so loved.
Now all she can do is try to recapture some small glimpse of her precious memories. She gathers abandoned objects that glitter in the light of the volcanic vents that are now her home.
Perhaps their small sparkle can ease her pain a little.”
“This was a very difficult assignment because I decided to go all the way out of my comfort zone.
For one who usually only paints pretty girls with no background, this was definitely a challenge!
I relied on feedback from Chris and my classmates, throughout the whole process: from thumbnails to sketches to painting.
It really opened my mind to infinite new possibilities, I learned how to convey mood and scale and action with atmospheric lighting, camera angles, character and dynamic posing. There were so many lessons in one assignment that I could write a whole essay about it!
Once you open the gate to all this new information, it’s impossible not to notice things in a more critical way. It’s impossible to stop thinking about it each new painting you make!
It’s definitely a breakthrough.”
“While composition is frequently touched upon when discussing art or critique, it rarely receives the attention it deserves beyond pointing out technical errors such as tangents.
I understood that composition was important to making a piece “cool,” or “dynamic,” but it wasn’t until now I felt informed enough to make a deliberate choice: choosing a composition, rather than stumbling around with aimless marks hoping something “cool” would materialize.”
“I feel this was a turning-point image for me.
It was the first time that I tackled storytelling choices at the thumbnail stage. Before ‘Painting Drama,’ I would just choose a composition that -for some reason- seemed ‘cool.’ I couldn’t explain that ‘cool effect,’ I just knew it was there…
Six weeks in, I’m starting to know why some images are more successful than others. Above all, I’m able to apply changes that will help my pictures stand out visually and narratively.
I can’t wait to experience the next ‘a-ha’ moment!”
“I’ve learned to look at composition in a new light.
I don’t concentrate on what compositional rules are the best.
Instead, I try to find visual clarity that helps support the greater story.
In this piece I placed myself both in the mind of the viewer and of the smaller character. The smaller character does not have much room to run around and neither do the viewer’s eyes.
We’re all in this together, taking on our giants.”
“I’m really glad that I managed to enroll in this course. I’m currently half-way through the course but I’ve already learned more than during the past two years of my studies.
Thanks to Chris and his ‘Painting Drama’ course I began thinking about storytelling and composition in my work. I realized that there is more to drawing than technique and a level of “rendering.”
I just want to say that all assignments are mind-blowing (in a good way). This course forces me to analyze what I am drawing – to dig deeper.”
“I had in mind a story of a loner Medusa meeting a blind orphaned lion cub who refuses to leave her alone.
This was done near the beginning of the course, but I had already learned so much…
Keeping the lessons in mind helped me be more decisive about my choices in the piece, and saved me from a lot of my usual fumbling.”
“I really believed in this comp from the thumbnail stage, but ended up struggling a lot with the execution.
It’s simple, and I find simplicity so hard to pull off.
I can’t help second-guessing: is this actually simple in an effective way, or does it just look like I didn’t know what I was doing?
I was happy when Chris and my fellow PD1 classmates responded so positively to the piece, but I think my lack of confidence really shows how much I still have to learn!”
“I’ve already learned a ton from this class, but one of the most important lessons has been to slow down my process and really think. Analyze. Plan. Feel.
I don’t have to struggle (as much). I can make conscious choices, and ‘Painting Drama’ is teaching me how.
While I was painting these, I focused on the vital ideas of the piece, and just let everything else fade away.”
…and A Single Tear Rolls Down My Cheek:
Aren’t they amazing?
I’m so proud.
Please post any encouragements or questions you have for the Painting Drama artists here in the comments.
They’ll be dropping by throughout the week to respond!