Evolve Artist Block 1 Assignment 1: The Four Values (Squares)

Overall Thoughts

Total time

  • About 6-7 hours (including extra checkerboard exercise that I made up to use up the extra paint…and because I didn’t want to stop painting! :D). WITHOUT the extra assignment, about 3 hours, total, in 2 sessions of 1.5 hours each.

If I were to start this painting over right now, what would I do differently?

  • Press harder and spend more time on the transfer
  • Never lean my hand on the canvas, and keep collapsible items far away from the canvas (to avoid things falling in the paint)

Day 1

  • First day painting – super exciting! Took extra time to put on an apron-smock, open materials, trace the squares, mix the paint.

  • Notes to self: 1) Tracing actually takes quite some time. Plan for that. 2) Press HARD. As hard as you can without breaking the pencil lead, and be as accurate as possible. Just one line.
  • Got my canvas a little dirty. Sigh. Does it come from resting my hand on the canvas when tracing? Also got some paint smudges on there. That one DEFINITELY came from resting my hands on the canvas while painting.
  • Harder than it looks when Kevin does it…which is to be expected, ha πŸ™‚
  • Particularly those CORNERS. Ugh.

  • Mixing paint also was a bit harder than expected. I went a little outside the lines.
  • Side note: There weren’t any exact instructions for what and how to draw on the temporary palette, so I just winged it and drew four areas for mixing paint, based on what it looked like Kevin was looking for.
  • Pretty proud of final results, considering πŸ™‚ Just gives you a happy glow inside to see two nice columns of squares. Kevin said the final result should look like someone cut and pasted squares on the canvas. That’s what I was aiming for.
  • By the way, Piper did say during our first 1-on-1 that I scheduled that it was okay to do two columns at a time if I couldn’t finish it all in one sitting. The point is to practice alternating colors and cleaning the brush in between colors.
  • Started just before 6pm, finished two columns at 7:45pm (I know because my “brush teeth” alarm rang), but then went on to use up my leftover paint by practicing more in my sketchbook, making a checkerboard:

  • Note to self: Next time I practice with leftover paint, I should try to get the paint brush strokes going all the same direction.

  • After cleaning up, my tripod fell on the canvas and nicked a couple squares, (and left another smudge) so I had to use a clean paintbrush to fix it. Sigh. Ah, well.
  • Took longer than expected to wash the paint out of the brush. Maybe because I’d been painting for over two hours and some of the paint had dried?
  • Got paint on my arm, although I tried to be careful. Did my best to use my resources all up:

Other notes:

  • Went to the Friday study group, and met several classmates. It was fun talking to all of them! We talked about the learning process, about backing up work on the cloud vs external hard drives, lighting, visiting study groups (Wednesday night’s group was highly recommended, I definitely need to check that one out sometime)

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Day 2

  • Continued where I left off with the two light square columns
  • It was MUCH cleaner this morning, after practice and sleep!
  • Also popped in a study group, which was a lot quieter than previous ones I’d been to, but it could also be because we were there for nearly 3 hours.
  • Painted from a bit after 7am, finished the columns for the assignment at around 9 maybe? And then kept working on my checkerboard until almost 11.
  • For the checkerboard, I filled out the bottom half of the paper and still had paint left over, so I went back up and filled in the white squares at the top. (Even then I STILL had some moderate light paints left, so I just painted the palette itself, focusing on corners and edges)

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Final Submission

This is the final painting I submitted for grading:

And technically this wasn’t part of the assignment, but I included it because I wanted to ask the instructors about using extra paint πŸ™‚

I submitted the assignment at around noon, and got a response less than two hours later.

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My Questions

Questions I asked the instructor when submitting the homework:

  • How do we make sharper corners??? Any tricks?
  • What do we do with leftover paint after a session? (I’ve just been using it to paint more, but…)
  • How do we keep from making extraneous marks on our canvas?
  • What to do if paintbrush has a hair sticking out? Okay to cut it? That’s what I did.

Instructor Feedback

Got solid feedback from Instructor Kristen. Β She said:

  • This is an excellent start to the Evolve assignments. Your squares are evenly filled with no contamination.
  • Each square is filled completely with no canvas showing through.

And then answered some of my questions: To avoid smudging, just practice and be aware. (If the smudge came from the charcoal transfer paper, you can try erasing it). Same with making consistently sharp corners. And other students also use leftover paint to practice or make mini paintings, so my checkerboard is fine, it appears πŸ™‚

On to the next assignment!

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Notes on Lesson Videos

Initial Thoughts

Feb 2, 2022

Here are my thoughts on watching the video before getting into the painting process (I’m watching these videos on Tuesday, having not gotten my material yet. I did get the email saying the material is on the way, but I’m guessing it will take at least a couple days so I won’t get the material, until, earliest, Thursday evening, most likely)

I like how Kevin explains his thinking behind his teaching process. Why he does what he does. Kevin likes to talk, but I like to hear him. I like hearing the philosophy behind what he does.

In this assignment, we learn three brush strokes (flat brush side to side, corner brush side to side, then flat brush up and down), how important it is to do things right from the beginning, and why Kevin designed this assignment this way with only four shades and three strokes. It’s because it’s better to master a few things that have broad application than to waste time on unnecessary extra things.

I really like this idea. I think that’s the biggest takeaway from assignment one.

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If I were to start this painting over right now, what would I do differently?

This is the question Kevin tells his students to ask in the FB group. He says:

“In order to grow, you have to welcome introspection in your wins and your losses. I always tell my students when they finish a piece of art to ask themselves the question, ‘If I were to start this painting over right now, what would I do differently?’ If you ask yourself that question and carefully define with words what you would do differently, you’ll be able to apply that knowledge to your next painting. that is an education.”

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