By Dr. Ginger Gabriel
Special to The Alpine Mountaineer
Any artistic program is a collaboration between the artist and the hosting organization or community. Becky Biging is the Artist in Residence at Leisure Shores (Crest Forest Senior Citizens Center) by Lake Gregory.
Leisure Shores provides the artists space and resources to support the artistic practice. Biging has years of experience in many forms of art and excels in teaching her skill to others. Although this is primarily a watercolor workshop, we already have seen how generous she is in sharing her plethora of art skills with us.
The first class on Sept. 9 began with the class members taking their sketch pads and pens down to the lake to learn about line drawings, how to find the essence of what we think we are seeing with a few lines, focusing on light and dark and shadows. Later Biging pointed out how what we think we see gets filtered through our male or female brains. Physically our brains are wired differently. We look at the same flower and see it differently. This affects how that flower is painted. Artists often become famous in how they interpret the “flower” they see.
Rule #1 in Biging’s class is “There are NO rules!” Sketch and paint what you see. Biging wrote, “If you aren’t happy with what you have sketched or painted on a certain day, put it aside – don’t destroy it. Put it aside for another day. You may later be surprised what you accomplished.
“Sketch every day,” she says, “even if it is only for five to 10 minutes. Paint or draw what interests you. Edit out the unimportant or distracting.”
The lesson on the second day was a study of the “color wheel.” Class members were guided to use the small artists brush that was provided to play with the different watercolors provided on a tray. “Mix colors and see what you like,” Biging instructed. “A splash of color on your pen drawing you did the week before might bring you joy. Experiment!”
She reminded us to practice every day. “Sit and relax for a bit. Look for a simple thing to draw in front of you. Do you see lights and darks? Draw a few lines. Use ALL of your senses. Take a deep breath. ‘See’ the colors. ‘Smell’ the surroundings. ‘Listen’ for the sounds. Perhaps you can ‘taste’ the air. ‘Touch’ what is safe and pleasant and possible. Let your ink drawings and a touch of watercolor help you express what you saw, heard, smelled.
Those who are in Biging’s art class will be sketching every day. For the “artists in residence,” any environment is the studio. There will be an art show at the senior citizens center in April for all “artists in residence.”