Online Painting Class: Week Six

And, just like that, I've officially finished the Premium Painting Basics Track offered through Art Prof! I can't believe the class is over already. What's even crazier is how much I learned and evolved these past few weeks! And I'm really excited to see how these changes manifest in my future work. If you want to see my progression from start to finish, you can find more info and a review of week one in this post. With that, let's get into how my final project went and my overall thoughts regarding this class.


For my final week, I decided to continue working on my abstract painting from last week. I was really enjoying working on it leading up to Thanksgiving, and I felt like it was just about to turn a corner with it. The prompt for this piece was to create an abstract piece based on a sound effect, and I decided to pick everyday living sounds when I have a migraine. My goals for this piece were to communicate the overwhelming nature noise has during a migraine attack. Everything feels so much louder than it really is, and there's a painful physical aspect to it, as well. After some final tweaks, I feel like I finally achieved what I was going for.


This piece was made with Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics, Golden Light Molding Paste, Golden Glass Bead Gel, Liquitex Matte Medium, and Liquitex Glazing Medium on a 20"x24" canvas. I used both filbert and flat synthetic brushes, a palette knife, and an old gift card to create the painting. (For a more in-depth look at my favorite painting tools, you can check out this post.)


So this is where I left the piece last week. I had just started venturing into including more organic shapes and subtle glazes. This was a great stepping off point for my next steps.

When I sat back down at my easel, I felt refreshed and excited to work on my painting again. I know that it can be scary to take breaks from your work, but I purposefully build time away from my art into my process. It always yields better results and makes for a better experience.


I first wanted to tackle the regularity within the splotches of color on the left, so I went in and further defined their final shapes and added more variation in size. Next, I went back and added lots (and lots and lots) of super transparent glazes per Prof Lieu's recommendation, especially in the surrounding areas of white paint. I really focused on communicating the spill-over that migraines have within my life through these glazes. While I can seem totally fine to an outsider, my migraines affect every aspect of my life: what I can eat, what I can do, and so on. I felt that these glazes showed how a condition like this stains everything else around me. Lastly, I added in a bit of texture, primarily on the left side, with molding paste and glass bead gel. In my mind, these bumpy, scratchy areas signify super painful points of a migraine attack.

During the first critique session, both Jordan and Prof Lieu felt that this was much more cohesive than the previous version. By incorporating those glazes, it helped make it feel like this was one idea. The one thing Prof Lieu wanted to see was more of the blue incorporated in the repetitive marks making their way down the canvas. I also got a written reply from Cat on Tuesday; she felt this was looking much stronger and that the next stage would be about pushing and pulling elements within the space on the canvas to create more depth. Lastly, my peers really encouraged me to go to town with the textured areas.


Later in the week, I went back and amped up the texture within those brighter areas on the left. I think I need heavy molding paste to really get the texture I was going for, but I'm still pleased with how it turned out. It was the higher textured spaces that really pushed the rest of the painting back in space. I also modified the transitions between the molding paste and glass bed gel according to a recommendation from Prof Lieu. She felt it was a little too separate before, so I used the two additives simultaneously to bring them back together.

Above is the final version of this piece that I presented during the last critique. I'll also share some closeups of this piece, because seeing the textured areas really changes how you feel while viewing this piece.



During my last week of class, I also worked on two smaller pieces to test out different ideas and techniques. I actually enjoy having a few pieces going at once. It lets me have a few chances to try something out, and, in the end, I have a mini series of related paintings.


In the final voice session, I got a lot of good feedback regarding the amount of texture I incorporated in the migraine piece. It was noted that the textured areas help establish depth and space within the piece. Prof Lieu also enjoyed seeing more of the blue within the repeating lines throughout the canvas. While looking at one of my abstract pieces, Cat noted that I had a much better sense of depth when creating work. (And that's something I'm really excited to continue developing as I moved forward.)


At the end of our critiques, Prof Lieu and Cat went back through all of the work we created in the class and talked about how our work had changed. When looking back at my old pieces, Cat commented that my work felt more like me now. She felt that the landscapes and studies I shared at the beginning had a more academic feeling to them whereas my latest pieces were sharing my voice and perspective. Prof Lieu also remarked about the breakthrough I made with the Sky Paintings in Week Two and how it influenced the rest of the work I made.


Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this class. It wasn't easy by any stretch, but it was a fantastic learning experience. Even though I have a degree in Studio Art, I felt like I learned more than I expected in this course. And, because the assignments are evergreen, there's never a bad time in your art journey to tackle them. I'm sure if I did them a year from now, I'd still learn something new!


So how exactly does this class stack up against a brick and mortar art school? I am super pleased to say that this class is a great representation of college art classes - and even better in some aspects! First, I loved the one-on-one attention we received from all three teachers. When you're in college, you might be in a class with 15-20 other students - and competing for attention with 40-60 other students depending on how many classes that professor teaches. This class had 6 students total, which allowed everyone to get ample individualized feedback and guidance.


Second, we were able to truly individualize our curriculum to meet our needs. In college, you often have free creative reign with a prompt, but you don't get to decide how long you work on a project. You get a due date and immediately start the next project after turning it in. With this class, we were able to choose whether or not we wanted to move on from something or continue working on a piece. That really let us focus on the skills we wanted to improve with projects we were excited about.


Third, all of the other students in the class were amazing to learn alongside. I've been in art classes where no one was engaging during critique, and it makes for a horrible learning experience. The best classes have students who are excited to learn and help their peers learn, too. That's exactly what I found in this course. And it was made even better once we started giving live feedback during critique. So while Prof Lieu and the Teaching Artist were talking with one of my peers on voice, I would go in and leave feedback about their work for them to read later. Getting feedback from that many people was incredibly helpful, as everyone has a different perspective to offer. I got so many great ideas and advice from everyone else taking the class, and I'm glad I was with such a great group.


As you can see, this class is a fantastic option for anyone looking to improve their art skills! No matter what skill level you're at, you're sure to discover something new about your work. If you want more info on the class and to see work made by the students in this class, head over to Art Prof. You can also see the upcoming schedule and enroll the next time this class will be offered.

I hope you enjoyed coming along on this journey with me! I had a wonderful time, and I'm excited to work on some new projects with everything I learned. I'll be posting new work to my shop and gallery soon, so be sure to check back in the near future.


If you want to stay up to date with what's happening in my studio, you can subscribe for blog and newsletter updates with the form at the bottom of the page. I post blogs weekly and send newsletters out once a month!


Thanks for reading and happy creating!