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Carousels turning rings around me

It happened again this month, the same as the last one. And I suppose its going to happen, I just wasn’t expecting it so soon.

The subject matter was “Funfairs in Watercolour” and the accompanying notes were informative and helpful so I thought it would be a good one. It was a good one, but not because of the tuition, because I didn’t actually get any.

I knew we would be painting carousels, which was a very interesting subject, and I knew I wanted to paint a night time version since the colours are brighter and more interestingly vibrant. I found some photos I liked and took them along with me to the workshop. But, the minute I saw the tutors artwork I thought “I’m better than her”, and knew that I would be doing my own thing quite quickly. She sat us down at the start, and talked about why she was interested in carousels and funfairs, and showed us some pictures she’d done from photos she’d taken. But her paper was blank, with no image drawn out, and before she started she announced that she used artists quality watercolours and started to go through the colours to which I quietly said “We’re artists, not beginners” which I meant as “We don’t need to be told about quality of artists materials since we can all paint, so lets get on with painting” but I think she may have felt I was being rebellious (Whoops!) and seemed to ignore me for the next two hours.

But, certainly, this subject matter was a major challenge, more than most subjects. It was complicated to draw since the carousels are round, elliptically so, with complex shapes with the idealised leaping horses that I was drawing, and with figures on them making it more so, at night, with lights, and shadows and darkness. All added together to make a tricky subject to paint.

I was pleased with what I did in the day though, but the picture isn’t finished and will need more oomph (Nightmarelilacsjpgartists phrase!) in it to make it more exciting. There are certainly parts in it that I like a lot, but not enough for me to say its done. I got some nice comments though from people watching me whilst I painted, they liked the dark blue of the sky (as did I) and the sense of light from the many lightbulbs (that was one of the things I like most about the picture) that stood out from the night sky, the golden shapes of the twisted poles and the hint of people in the shadows to the side of the carousel.

So, by the end of the day, we all felt that we’d been pushed to our limits with the subject matter, and for that alone it was worth going to the workshop.  But I didn’t like the painting the tutor did over the day, not at all. But, on a far more positive note, I certainly found a lot of inspiration in what my fellow artists did on the day, there were some fabulous paintings done.

And the thing that made me smile, was that I’ve spent a lot of time recently investing in painting horses, both for wanting to paint commissions, and for the art workshop that I will be doing soon. And although, this subject to all intents was a totally diverse one to “horses”- it was actually the same, but these being mechanical ones at a funfair this time, rather than real ones in fields. But its still the same equine shape, still with riders, still with a sense of power and urgency of movement in them, still the thrill of riding, and the joy of being in a saddle! It was still horses. And here’s a painting I did some years ago of fantasy horses racing by moonlight, its called “Night mares” and has always been one of my favourite pictures.