Happy Oktoberfest 2017
It’s quite a fun experience being a 15 min walk from Oktoberfest. One of my favorite things is there is a Bavarian restaurant that’s on the way that the Oktoberfest goers know about. Everyone is dressed up in Lederhosen and Dirndls and eating outside, drinking half liters of beer. I actually found out that Wienerschnitzel can be made from beef so I got to sample some. Quite tasty, our closest comparison would be “country fried steak” and they serve it with a current sauce like our cranberry sauce but a bit tarter.
Time for my Weekly Painting
This week I was full of energy and determination and decided to tackle the Oktoberfest crowds and paint the Oktoberfest scene from the inside. I was thinking I might find a nice corner to paint tents and food trucks. There’s lots of cultural things to find and paint. The streets are very wide though and don’t really translate to a painting. The downside is that don’t allow in tote bags so I stuffed my tote bag in my pocket and carried my supplies in by hand. It’s good to pack light!
I saw horses!
And then I heard some bells jingling like sleigh bells and sure enough, there was a 6 team of horses. HORSES!!! And they were dressed fancier than any team I have ever scene. The crowd was THICK with people clamoring for a picture and in my sneaky artist way I realized I could paint these horses better than I could ever get a photo
Painting Tip: Pick what doesn’t photograph well
When I am looking for a painting subject I am looking for scenery that isn’t picture perfect. If it’s picture perfect, take a photo and move on. Problem solved. Painting is about problem solving and capturing the moment. A crowd around horses at Oktoberfest was perfect. I stood off to the side and patiently waited for a hole in the crowd so I could see where a horse head was positioned and then I would sketch it up. By seeing a bit of a horse here or there I got the gist of the harness decorations and copied them over to each horse. It was tricky but good practice.
Why I love art: I get to document memories
This is why I love art. I love that I get to apply the details to the level that I feel and as I see them. I love that I get to stand in one place and just be enveloped in the world around me. I love that I get to translate that into color on paper. I love that lines and movement and randomness reflect the feelings of that moment. You know what one of my least favorite things is? Flash photography in dark clubs. You get these lit up washed out faces and everyone is stopped for a moment looking at the camera. That to me does not capture the night. Maybe I should hire myself out as a “club night capturer” Payment will also include 2 drinks. I prefer the less perfect pictures that are dark and grainy and you might capture the person before they move.
Design is more important than accuracy
Once I got the painting sketched out, just as I was getting ready to pull out all the paints, my husband called and my day got distracted by doing other things. I ended up finishing this painting at the kitchen table later that night. I was hoping I would be able to draw on the memories of that day. What I really cared about was all the little details of the harnesses. The horses were a matching unassuming gray so I didn’t have the same opportunity for bright colors like I enjoy in my paintings. So, in a rare design moment I chose to add in the black pavement to contrast and chop up the shapes around the horses. I also drew in buildings and tents in blocky loose dotted watercolor for movement and light fun and to slightly mimic the dotted details on the harnesses. I really didn’t want this little painting to get too cramped with details like I did with the harnesses.
Painting Tip: As you paint choose your focus and use the rest of the painting to enhance your favorite spot
I think that most important thing you can do is treat your painting like it’s own separate subject. This is a piece of art. Why did I start painting it? What did I want to capture? How can I make the rest of this painting reflect that? I went to Oktoberfest to paint Oktoberfest but instead got stuck on this one subject, a team of horses. I do not think this painting fully represents Oktoberfest. I didn’t include the details of the crowds or things to buy. The point of the painting was the horses so the rest is, what contrasts with gray? How do I bring attention to the mess of legs? The background is complimentary colors of blue, a red orange, the purple I think of as a “warm blue” since it has red in it. I wanted red to break up the monochromatic horses but I didn’t want the eye to be to distracted from the bright color.
A few days later I saw the same horse team in action outside of Oktoberfest! Yay!