I have learned that I am great at backgrounds, mountains, clouds, sky; but not so much at the front scenery.
Being a teacher on a budget, I tried my best to conserve paint. This was not a smart decision. When you try to extend oil paint, it doesn't stick to the canvas right. This created a problem for the technique to make the leaves on trees. A thin paint will stick to a thick paint.
For the darker background I put a small amount of paint thinner into the paint to help it stick to the canvas. It turned what should have been a dark red-maroonish paint into pink. The pink tint of the trees reminded me of some paintings I saw when I visited Manzanar Japanese War Relocation Center.
My Great-Aunt Martha taught 4th grade at Manzanar. She taught for a total of 42 years before the State of California told her that she wasn't allowed to teach anymore. So she ran for school board. She never let anyone she met forget that there was a time in our nations history when we decided to ignore the 4th, 5th, and 6th ammendments, and lock people in prisons because they looked like the enemy.
Like our book 20Time says, "Successful Projects evolve along the way." I never thought learning to paint would bring a connection with my Great Aunt. She had less artistic skill than me. I have spoken with some of her former students from Manzanar throughout the years, they would come for a visit and I would come over to listen. I met many more at her funeral. All of her students had a positive impression of her. Some told me stories, like the one hot day in June when she checked out the camp car, stuck some of her students in the trunk, drove about a mile away from camp, had the kids get into the back seat, and she took them for Ice Cream. I asked if she was afraid to get caught. She looked at me and said, "Ms. Shoaf said to act like we are doing what we are supposed to be, and nobody will question us." She was right, if you think about it. This is the 1940s, WWII is booming in the Pacific, there is a War Relocation Center 10 miles down the road, and a white school teacher has a marked War Department car and in the back seat are a bunch of Japanese students going into the Ice Cream Parlor. Nobody would think anything is out of place.
Back to my painting.
My notes for next time:
-Look at balance. The waterfall seems lopsided, if I adjust the placing of the lower shore it will look more natural.
-The trees on either side of the painting look less than Super-Fantastic.
-I also need to work on paint mixing. The colors are off. I also accidentally mixed some tree paint into the water on the bottom corners.
-I purchased some actual oil background paint. Perhaps this will help the next painting.
Anthony enjoyed his painting as well. His first day care taught him both Spanish and Mandarin. I didn't know he remembered any. You can barely see it, but on the easel he is painting Mandarin characters. He remembered that one of them is for "fire". He is opening my eyes to the learning process. His memory and recall of processed information is incredible. My experience with him makes me think that perhaps we are selling out students short and that they are capable of much more than we educators ask of them.