So you read about the awesome girls (and one guy) I met. How they made the weekend all the more awesome. About the friendships and connections. So what about the classes I hear you ask. Tell us about the classes!
So, day one is with Andrea Matus DeMeng and her Marquis De Scroll class. I’ve seen her examples of this online for a couple of years now and was desperate for that to be one of the classes she taught in Queensland. My victory dance when I got a place in the class was brilliant. Take my word for it.
She doesn’t muck around and gets us working straight away. She has us working fast but somehow has a very zen vibe so we never feel frantic. While we wait for stage one to dry we do the usual intros and Andrea teaches us some art theory and paint mix-y stuff. Love the art theory side of things. Then the fun begins.
She tells us that whether we have a clear idea of what we want to make or haven’t planned anything in advance, it doesn’t matter. She’ll be helping us and pushing us out of our comfort zone.
She slowly walks around the room, giving each of us attention. Helping with our questions, making gentle suggestions and my favourite part – explaining why it would work. I tell her I am one of the ‘planner’ people and she gives me a wry smile. I discover what this means about 1/2 an hour later. My ‘plan’ does not come together (A-team reference for those of you who are children of the 80’s like me). She smirks… almost like she is saying “gotcha” but in a way that makes her excited. Because she knows I’m gonna learn from this. I have to figure out something else. Ah yes, she got me already with the big push out to the edge of my comfort zone. This square bear now had to work out what else to do. My usual next step would be to panic and get flustered and upset. Usually followed by throwing my art in the bin. Somehow, Andrea’s zen-like personality makes me just go with the flow and push through and find my way.
Much trying of this and that comes to an end with a ‘scissors down’ command from our fearless leader. To be fair, she gives us a one song warning but it goes by quick. Kinda get distracted by the front half of the class singing the Muppets “Ma-na-mana” song and join in. Seriously, how can you not join in?
She shows us the next layer and I go back to my desk. My whole original idea revolved around pirates and “Red sky and night, sailors delight”. My pirate ships had looked rubbish once I cut them out so they had been discarded for the moment. Then I put blue at the top of my scroll instead of the red I’d planned on. Aaaaaargh!!!!! One of my new arty friends asked if I could just turn it around but alas, the collage I had put on had text on it which meant it would all be upside down. 2 disasters. Okay, go with it. The reason I put the blue on was because it’s my automatic colour choice. I put on my collage and realize later that some of the elements are crooked. Obviously crooked. Wouldn’t be mine if it wasn’t so kinda feel disappointed that I rushed it but also feel like it’s very me.
Andrea comes around and gives me some colour advice and nods in agreement at my suggestion to balance the piece. She says my questions are easy to answer and I feel the excitement she has for me as my piece starts to come together. I start to understand why her suggestions work and get excited about how it’s transforming. I remember art theory I’ve learned from other teachers which helps me compose my elements together and I’m pretty chuffed. The three circles at the bottom are the only 3 I have of that print. I carefully tear the last one to keep the starry sky and tree as part of it and end up super duper loving that part of the piece.
Andrea shows us her main way of doing shading and some alternatives. I go with one of the alternatives because I do it that way in my art already. After my two disasters so far, I decide to stick with what I know. Now it’s starting to really become a cohesive piece. The gorgeous girls (and one guy) in my class say how nice my piece is. One girl in particular keeps saying how much she loves it. I want to keep her and take her home with me.
Over the course of the day, we all walked around, looking at each others work. The thing I loved about this class is everyone’s was so different. And none of us copied the teacher.
More art theory and gorgeous examples from Andrea. I think I’m in trouble…. I think I’m gonna get hooked on these things. Oh gosh I love her work. And I love all the sneaky little tips she gave us to really pull a piece together. Adored that.
At the end of the day, we lay our artwork out so we can all look at each others and Andrea gives a beautiful review of each piece, finished or not. We learned so much from that. Seeing what others ideas were, the elements Andrea highlighted on each piece explaining why they worked so well. More art theory love. Andrea jokingly says she should lie down so she is surrounded by our artwork. We all think it’s a great idea. She’s wasn’t so sure, but after much cheering and egging her on, she does. Damn she’s a good sport.
I was one of the few with a finished piece. I barely remember the words, but I know she said it was a beautiful piece and really good work. Ooh, gold star from the teacher. It meant so much coming from her.
I got to see her artwork up close (divinity personified) and I bought some art from her. Yes, an original Matus DeMeng is now in my possession. She happily poses for a photo with me too which is super cool.
I loved loved this class. I think I was especially happy because I managed to finish mine. If I’d just had another 1/2 hour….
The next morning at our ‘heart starter’ session, I am chatting with some of the others from class and we get excited about what we could do with the next one. I’ve already bought an Alice in Wonderland book and Peter Pan is next…… Oh, yes. I loved this class.