Another Painting Class: Painting #1

In January/February 2021 I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over six sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line.

I really enjoyed the class. Over its sessions I was prompted to dig into the concepts, where my work fit in this spectrum, and…are there alternate paths for me to explore? I feel my mind was opened and that down the line, my work will continue to reflect what I learned.

The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and viewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.

Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.

Here’s a painting I did. It’s called “Afternoon”, and it is 20″ x 16″, done in acrylics on canvas.

One characteristic I identified as important to me in my future work is the idea of each painting being meaningful to me. No paintings done just because the subject was pretty or decorative.

No, to me this generally means conveying some emotion. It can be based on something personal, such as a memory. Or, it can just be something I am thinking about. The pictures are not meant to depict an exact representation of the experience but to let me paint it out, whatever it is.

Maybe to me the experience of painting is getting to be more important than the results.


Anyway, this painting, “Afternoon”, refers to a childhood memory. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was growing up. On summer afternoons, we would sit outside on a large shady patio. My grandfather would read the paper, and my grandmother would just relax. I ran around their large tree-filled yard – there were so many things for a child to enjoy there – and every so often came back to check in, get a drink of water, and tell my grandparents what I had seen or was doing.

18 thoughts on “Another Painting Class: Painting #1

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Yes, it is nice to revisit those times I haven’t thought about much in the intervening years. As I get older I find myself reflecting on the past more often.l

  1. Diane

    This is a wonderful painting and it does convey a great deal of warmth from the adults and the energy of youth. I think it is very important to paint what is meaningful to you, even if you are not sure what it means at first. I have made things where I felt very strongly about a certain shape or color but only afterwards did I realize what it meant. I like this idea!!! Hope to see more!

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I think this is a good direction for me. It’s hard to shake that “will this painting sell?” mentality. I think it will take a while…but, I really want to make some changes in my mental landscape that will translate on to the painting surface! This painting takes me back to so many days I spent with my grandparents, it was very, I don’t like to say healing, maybe the word was soothing, to remember this part of my past.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I’m not good at attending group things or classes since a little bit of people goes a long way for me, but this Zoom set-up is perfect for me, and I really like the teacher and the classmates. I am learning a lot and I look forward to being in my place on Wednesday afternoons for another session. I hang on to these good things wherever they come from, and I would never have tried such a class except for the pandemic.

        1. Claudia McGill Post author

          On the whole, painful as it has been, the pandemic has been better for me than not. I know I am in the minority and it has to do with my own particular circumstances, but I believe I face the future having made decisions and reflections and coming to understandings that will be better for me than if it had not happened. Sounds almost wrong to be saying this when so many have suffered so much. On the other hand, not so long ago I was in chaos when the world was seemingly going along great. When I get to thinking about all of this it gets too big for me. So I will return my attention to preparing for this afternoon’s class session and how nice it is to have a sunny day that is melting the snow!

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I admit to struggling some with the foreground – I tried another look for it and it didn’t work out. Then suddenly I painted in what you see here, and it was just right. It is funny how this happens!

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