It's Next New Project (NNP) Time

Next New Project

Almost two years ago, I started blogging about my "personal projects" (refer to my first NNP here). Next new project was born out of my incessant passion for adventure and learning. Some may call it being a serial hobbyist...I call it being a renaissance woman. That's right you read it right. I'm very curious and I like to experience things for myself.

If you would like to refer to my previous NNP posts just type NNP on the search box at the upper left hand corner of this site. These are only 1/4 of the things that I have gone through. Ahhhh, I fondly remember taking dance classes at a gym (I can't remember the name of the gym for the love of me!) in Tokyo almost 7 years ago (I know a gym of all places but they had an awesome dance program). I took beginner ballet, samba or salsa? and reggae! OMG. The reggae class totally rocked. I had a Japanese hippie reggae man complete with dreads as a teacher. Oh and did I mention that all classes were taught in Nihongo? I actually had to drag my co-worker to translate for me when I was signing up for the gym. Needless to say my brain was completely overworked from trying to understand the instructions while I execute the dance moves.

Memories...I, by the way, used to briefly live and work in Japan ages ago. I think my recent NNP has a lot to do with me remembering this story. So without further adieu my next NNP:

ART CLASS! I have been craving for a creative outlet and I was inspired by one of my Facebook friends when she posted a photo of herself in an oil painting class. I used to draw using charcoal back in college and have always wanted to learn watercolor painting. So I searched for classes close to my home and found Mr. John Yato's website (ahem he was born in Japan). For $160 you get four 3 hour sessions of watercolor classes. . I say it is a very good deal especially since the lessons are from a master watercolor painter (he has been doing this for 40 years)!

I started my first class last Saturday at a studio in an industrial park. I arrived 45 minutes before the session started for new student orientation and was immediately greeted by Yato-san. He had a neat little studio with 9 tables and a framing workbench on the side. The walls were filled with his work along with creations and testimonials from his students. I thought that it was authentic as it gets.

After the short exchange of pleasantries and a small chunk of my hard earned cash, Yato proceeded to show me where I was going to create all of my masterpieces (hehehe)- my very own work table =) It had a lamp, a small tray to mix the paint, brushes, buckets, bottles of water and all other materials needed to get me started. Mind you, he went through all of it and even had brief explanations on when I would use each item. This was when I knew that Yato-san is a no frills kind of guy.

My first task was to fill two small buckets with water. I honestly thought it was too much water but what do I know? He then showed me how to stretch the paper so that it would not buckle when I started mixing water and color on it. This consisted of taking a big brush, dunking it in water and stroking the paper softly for two minutes until it becomes soaked. There was this moment as he was teaching me how to move the brush that I suddenly felt like I was in the movie Karate Kid. You know that famous scence where Mr. Miyagi was teaching Daniel-san how to wax in and wax out. LOL! Yes, this may be a slight exaggeration but Yato-san just had this very calm and wise sensei voice that made my imagination wander.

After I finished soaking the paper, I actually had to dry it with a hair blow dryer and then staple it to the piece of plywood. I then had to shift to the next task which was dividing a piece of bond paper into 4. I had to complete 3 different ocean scenes and a series of seagull poses that I had to copy from a cheat sheet (drawing these birds were a pain!). This was to warm me up for the main exercise of the day. It's the finished product below. Basically 4 copies of an ocean scene in one color:

I did not realize watercolor painting was such a process. This looks really simple but it is composed of a series of layers. You can't paint the whole scene at once since the very wet paper will bleed everything in and you will come up with a messy swirl. One must draw and then soak a specific part of the paper before painting the color then dry it before repeating the process for the next layer. By the way, when painting you have to employ controlled brushstrokes that will dictate the shades and the definition of the objects. You can actually see how the paint travels on the soaked parts of the paper- which was fascinating. One can choose to play around with this to create specific effects ex. the foams of the waves above.

As I was working on the painting, I began to observe the other students who started to trickle in. Half of which were kids...and the other half mostly women who looked like they were retirees. Yato-san was very attentive with his students and would constantly walk around the room to help each of us with our painting.

After the class, he showed me-with pride and joy- photos of his student's work on his computer. Most were impressive- which gave me hope. I could truly feel that he was passionate about what he was doing and that says a lot. I obviously want to take more than four sessions but it definitely depends on how I fare during the coming sessions. Or until I find out about another NNP that I can spend my time and well-earned money on. Ha! Seriously, I do want to make art a constant part of my life with or without classes. More to come!

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...