Art has never been a strong area of practice in my life. Yes, I’m one of those whose free-handed horses always looked more like a dog with fat legs than anything resembling a horse. Somehow my sisters and brother seem to have received all of the artistic genes in the family! I’ve been ok with it though, as my children have been fairly satisfied with mommy’s drawings consisting of mainly stick figures.
But with 3 budding artists in the family, and one of them becoming frustrated with picturing something he wants to draw and not being able to get it out on paper (buddy, I can totally relate!), I have been trying to focus some more time on art and drawing instruction. And since I clearly have no idea where to start, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for teaching opportunities and curriculum that will help me do the job.
Enter Creating a Masterpiece, a DVD tutorial program that covers a broad range of art types and forms. 5 levels of difficulty encompassing the basics, such as acrylic, pencil/charcoal, and pastels, through watercolor, and on to more advanced and specialized projects such as copper tooling, silk painting and sculpting.
Your instructor is Sharon Hofer, an internationally known artist who started up Hidden Acres Art School and has been teaching art instruction for 17 years. Creating a Masterpiece was born out of Sharon’s desire to allow many more children than she was able to accept into her classes to be introduced to and experience instruction in art.
As I mentioned, we are just starting to get our feet wet in the art realm, dabbling in different art forms and learning as we go. So when I received Freedom’s Eagle Silk Dying Project, I was more than a little nervous. I have only wielded a paintbrush for the purpose of painting a picture once or twice in the last 10 years, and the resulting painting was rather unobvious. Not to mention I had to chuckle a little, since we are Canadian, and Freedom’s Eagle is a VERY American piece! However, I have always loved eagles (my favourite verse remains Isaiah 40:31!) and we have many dear American friends, so I knew the project would be enjoyable.
The DVD is about an hour in length and divided up into 5 sessions. I highly recommend previewing the project before you begin, so you have an idea of how much time is involved. By doing this, you will also familiarize yourself with the steps and instruction so you can help your students along the way. On the back of each DVD is a list of the exact supplies you will need for the project, so be sure to pick them up before you begin!
Sharon has a very cheerful, outgoing, encouraging teaching manner. She’s very easy to listen to, and her instructions are very clear and easy to follow, even for my youngest son. The Boy is 8 and JJ is 6 and though I wasn’t sure that JJ would be able to keep up, I was astounded at how attentive, interested and on the ball he was!
Though the DVD is an hour long, we definitely had to pause at certain points for the boys to catch up in their drawing – one of them is a definite perfectionist, he takes after his momma :D
Start to finish the project took us about 4 hours to complete, not including the final process of setting the dye. I would suggest planning it out over a few days in a row – if you can wait that long! After each session was finished the boys wanted to get onto the next one right away. I had to cut it off at the end of one session so I could make supper, but they were chomping at the bit the next day to get started up again!
As you can see, the picture looks to be quite complicated. But Sharon breaks it down into very easy to follow steps – I was amazed to watch my two boys drawing their eagles, free hand, with next to no help from me. I think even I could do it!
Since I really do not have a geometry-friendly mind, I struggled with helping them draw the stars (though it wasn’t for lack of good instruction – I just have a REALLY hard time picturing those kinds of things!) and eventually ended up tracing it off my computer screen :D Good thing the size and resolution were exactly right for the painting ;0)
After the main picture was drawn on paper (we used old scrapbook paper sheets), they transferred the image onto the silk. Once traced, we were ready to being the painting. My first thought was how on earth are we going to keep the dyes from spreading?! Enter a handy tool called resist! (Father of the Bride comes to mind – where Steve Martin is in the mansion stuck in the master bathroom and trying to get the dogs to back off – RELENT! RELEASE! RECOIL! RESIST! :D)
We applied the resist to our lines, which acted like a buffer to stop the dye from spreading into the wrong parts of the picture.
This dries very quickly, and from there we were able to apply the colour.
What fun to watch a small drop of dye spread rapidly through the silk, and stop immediately at the resist lines! One of the boys said it was like Jesus’ blood rushing to cover all of our sins.
I love the way that Sharon explains what she is doing, shows you the steps, and even as you begin to follow her instructions you can quickly see what she described taking place. Talk about inspiring great artists! She gives you plenty of great tips and techniques as you’re going along (such as start at the top so you don’t smudge your work!).
In all, this project was a real joy and inspiration to complete! I am constantly in awe of how my children surprise me in their abilities with things that I was afraid to try because of my lack of knowledge. Yet given the right tools, some patience and time, beautiful things can happen!
Thanks to Creating a Masterpiece for opening up new doors in the area of art instruction! They are also offering to give away one of their art projects to you!
We have chosen Lessons in Ink: Blue Jay (this is one I hope to use soon!).
Use the form below to enter. You don’t want to miss out on this! Giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents and will run from Saturday, March 23 to Tuesday, April 2 (midnight).
*Disclaimer – I was financially compensated for this post and I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*