I am running amok yet again. In a brave move to escape my normal life (and try to get painting again) I signed up for a workshop entitled “Simplicity and Complexity” by Ruth Ellen Hoag held at Ruth Armitage‘s studio in my old stomping grounds of Oregon City.

What attracted me to the workshop was an emphasis on design, which is something I’ve been struggling with. I want to move beyond purely representational work and get more “design-y” or “abstract-y”… or something.

The day started off well. Ruth H. gave a lecture on the basic composition types (according to her):

  • Radial
  • S-Shape
  • Canitlever
  • Iconic
  • Meander
  • Cruciform (x-shaped)

I feel like I forgot one, but you get the idea.

Then we went upstairs and got to work. Ruth H. encouraged us to try “blind contour” drawing as well as simple “contour” drawing to start a work; the difference is that in blind contour drawing you never look at the paper.

Then she demoed a painting start, encouraging us to work from the outside of the paper, finding big shapes. Progressively we worked inward, working the smaller shapes. This is where I, predictably, had a brain cramp. This is a great suggestion that’s along the lines of “go write a novel.”  Ruth H. worked to explain the concept, showing layering of color and shape to bring interest. But it’s a complex subject.

I worked and came close to finishing two pieces today, and will work more tomorrow essentially from the same drawing. My apologies, but my camera work on these was very poor.

Night Racing
Night Racing