Painting classes in Nepal

At the Unatti Home in Bhaktapur the girls tell me they want to learn more about painting and do more claywork.   We work with water-colours because acrylic paints are expensive here and it seems hard to get a good range of colours upon which students can build an understanding of colour and painting techniques. But a box of water colours only costs about $1.50. Ordinarily, I would not start teaching painting by using water colours, as the transparent and delicate quality of these paints, which is so appealing, also makes them challenging to use, especially for the beginner. But this is MAKE DO TELL and we make do with what we have!   We have done painting together before so the girls have a good understanding of colour groups and mixing colours.   We start by thinking about tone – the shades of one colour from light to dark – and working with the transparency of the watercolours.

In the following session we worked on showing space in the pictures – putting one thing in front and another thing,  and showing the space in between. Most of the girls in the group are quite young as the bigger ones are at school or preparing for exams. In the morning session we had worked together in dramatizing some of their favororite stories – such as Cinderella and Goldilocks, so the painting session used the forest and house from that story to help put this concept of space onto the page.

We a use very limited range of colours so the girls learn how to achieve space through tone and scale. The following session introduced the girls to shadow, how shadows show a light source, and also add depth to a painting. After practicing using the tree idea from the day before, we started looking at some of the objects in the room – such as a bottle and a cup, and the shadows that fell around them.  

We also thank our many supporters, including the Children’s Art Village, for providing funds to make this project possible.  Artists in Community International donate our time and some costs to the project.

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