As I mentioned in a previous post, I enrolled in a Beginners Landscape Oil Painting Class taught by Nana Gail Lauer. Nana lives in Northumberland County and is an artist who studied under David Turnbough, Morris Green and Fritz Briggs. She attended Towson State University and the Schuler School of Fine Arts.
She’s also a very good instructor. My first oil painting class consisted of all of two sessions a week apart. We sat down to work promptly at 6:30 p.m. and took a break at 8 p.m. and found ourselves leaving the building at about 10 p.m. each time.
She had us all working from the same photo and assured everyone that none of the paintings would look the same when we were done. I was reminded of many things that the years had caused to fade in my mind. Things to make your landscape work more successful: Have your horizon either in the top third or the bottom third, but never in the middle. And make shapes that appear in the painting different from each other in size. Odd numbers of things is more pleasing to the eye than even numbers of things. Very distant things take on a blueish color and fade away. Detail should be put in last. Mass in your shapes first and work up from there.
Most importantly, she did not bury us in theory. She set us up for a successful experience and I found out that working in oils is very forgiving and fun. I learned a lot from her that I will use when I’m teaching.
I also plan to do more work in oils. I’m a rank beginner in this medium and it may take a while before I produce anything worth selling. But I do think it is worth exploring further.