Imagine my delight when my oil painting students announced they wanted to exhibit their art work. I love to support initiative. It would be at Nani’s house. They would invite just family and a few friends for a private showing.
Each of us would bring heavy pupu which means hors d’oeuvres substantial enough for dinner. Wine would be served. Personally, I think it was an excuse to drink wine. Only people who drank wine would be invited! they said.
Some background: This is the first cohort of students, now in Painting III (Landscape En Plein Air). They completed Painting I and II in the studio. Now students have graduated and are painting on location for the first time. They go out with me two times each to five locations, for a total of ten outings. After that students may finish their paintings on their own. It will be typical to repeat this course until they are comfortable in the landscape with its constantly changing light and weather.
Setting a show date turned out to be good incentive for finishing the paintings. We had paintings in progress from Moanalua Gardens, Byodo-In, Kapiolani Park, the farm at Castle High School, and Kaaawa Beach Park.
I kept out of the planning until about a week ago when Nani asked how best to display the art work. I took interest because (a little ego here ) an invitation went out with my name printed prominently. I had not seen any of the finished paintings.
My reply was something like: “Usually a curator will look at the entire collection, and then decide where to place the pieces in the space. I will help you. Bring the work a day early so we don’t have to rush the installation. Hopefully the paint is dry, and your work is properly framed and wired for hanging.”
This is something I teach later, but in this case, students learned “on the job” by trial and error as we staged Nani’s home to look like a gallery. It reminded me of a restaurant opening, at which the carpenters are still hammering away as the first guests walk in the door.
About 50 people came to the show, expressing thanks, congratulations and compliments all around. It was a happy occasion, as you can tell by the smiles in the photos.
The students begged for a critique, so here it is. It will likely be the same whenever you ask:
Good work! I am so proud of you. Keep going! Continue to turn the form. Darker darks and lighter lights. Warm it in the light. Cool it in the shade. Avoid comparing your work to others’ because each artist has her own line. Paint what you see, paint what you know, paint what you feel. Oh, and drink wine!
Copyright 2013 Rebekah Luke