Perspective with Gouache

I restarted my painting classes this weekend, after a two-year hiatus. Needless to say, during that time, my sketches have been few and far between. For about a month, I did assignments from a book called “Complete Drawing Course” that my teacher, Heather Barros, recommended. These were nothing significant or complete, just simple objects to capture light and shade. Like this one from the book……or things around the house, or what I saw looking up, from my desk…Some of my difficulty in drawing has been capturing proportions of boxes, spatial arrangements of objects, and shading (the ones above being the exceptions). So, to get some guidance, I knocked on Heather’s door. After she patiently explained to me basic concepts like vanishing point and foreshortening, she suggested I attend a class that very evening that she was going to conduct for teenage girls, especially geared toward perspective. I winced, since I was looking forward to hoisting my behind on something comfortable and watching some B&W TCM classic on TV. So, I grit my teeth and said “yes”. Heather was very intrigued when I told her that I had been meaning to draw – one of my own creations (during moments of boredom) – a vase of oranges. Perplexed, she asked how on earth I had managed to get oranges inside a vase. So, I explained that these were actually clementines……which were dropped into a glass vase……like so.She thought it would be a wonderful addition to the class theme, and asked me to bring the vase along when I came. So I did, and with a bunch of teenagers, painted pasta boxes and a vase with oranges.We used Gouache (pronounced gwash) to paint over drawings. Gouache is used to get a kind of matte finish to the painting. Essentially, we take a buff colored paper and use white pencil to draw… ..and then use gouache to paint over it. Once the gouache dries, Heather encouraged us to use color paper chalk to create highlights and such.I tried to reproduce what I saw and not go into anything too creative, since I was learning. I struggled with the shape of boxes (which was expected), and though I enjoyed the coloring process, I wanted to get it over with and see how good/bad the painting looked. Yes, I have a rabid case of “end” being more important than the “means”!It was very interesting to see how much the law of vanishing points affects the way shapes appear on two-dimensional space. More interesting was to see the way the girls painted. One girl drew the pasta (spaghetti) in the vase and the oranges outside. Another one colored the background green and purple. Yet another girl magnified a single box of pasta and the vase with oranges. They didn’t stress over the shapes not turning perfectly or slave over reproducing objects as they appeared. They seemed to draw and paint without any apparent inhibitions. I love it when creative people let their hair loose and get creative. Since that’s what they ought to do.