Painting class at the Creative Workshop is over crowded this session, so much so that Maureen dropped out. But, as usually happens, some new people drop out because the whole experience is not what they expected. A visitor to the class could spot the newcomers in a flash. They’re the ones with their earbuds in as they work away. Veterans quickly learn that Fred Lipp offers the same advice to every person in the room as he wanders from student to student. And this advice needs to be heard or overheard over and over because it is always relevant to whatever it is that you’re working on. Students work in all mediums on abstracts, portraits, still lifes, landscapes or a Corn Hill cityscape in my father’s case, and all can take advantage of this advice. It is all rather Zen.
Last night a new student, a painter with an art school background, was butting heads with Fred. The spirited discussion between those two was another golden opportunity for all of us to refresh the fundamentals. Fred was pointing out two intense dark spots on her painting that were calling way too much attention to themselves. “I’m only just beginning,” she protested, “Those are my darks. This is my process.”
For Fred any process should include an orderly direction. You don’t get out ahead of yourself by throwing up obstacles and if you have created an obstacle you deal with it now. The obstacle is your next move. You proceed in a fashion that allows the work to tell you when it is done. Painting and art or life, for that matter, is an adventure not some preplanned execution of a plan.