|Professor Dongfeng Li paints Ken Macht|
But these were all side benefits. The main purpose of the commute was to learn something new about watercolors and portrait painting from Dongfeng Li. Kathy Macht, who along with husband Ken, created Banana Tree Studios, took a drawing class with professor Li at Morehead State University. When I saw Kathy in the spring, she was glowing with enthusiasm for what she is learning. I was anxious to take on a little glow for myself and I always enjoy seeing how others approach their art. We were not a large group of students, but a very lucky one. There were more than a few gasps as Li would hurl paint on the paper with abandon, and often a great deal of green! Ken's ear was formed with a single quick swipe of paint. It always seemed as though the paint was way too dark and that this time Li had gone too far. But amazingly, the paint would dry and the image would come together as if by magic. There were several points that were particularly helpful for me. One was the concept of Lost and Found areas, sharp edges and soft edges. Another was to remember the roundness of the head. I have a tendency to paint under the influence of my fashion illustration training; which seems rather flat in comparison. And, it was clear from Li's approach, that he had the whole picture in mind all the time. He knew that there would be many layers and how the paint would dry, and that a dark color would be joined by many intermediary colors ("Keep changing your color!") Another thing that struck me about Li's work was that he seemed to be brutally honest while painting. You almost worried that his subject would be offended. And yet, when the piece was completed, you were astounded by the beauty; grateful, that someone could see such beauty in other people.
|My French model|