A cruise ship with an artist’s loft on board! Sign me up! (Well actually I found out about the loft after I had already signed up to cruise the western Mediterranean. At first, my skeptical self assumed the loft was going to be the typical shipboard art auction.
Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Oceania Riviera had an artist in residence who gave free classes. Wahoo! I’m all about art classes and free is the right price! The online info just didn’t say what kind of art it would be and showed photos of artists with various specialties – photography, fiber arts, painting, etc. I was surprised that it was free considering what they were charging for cooking classes.
The welcome aboard packet introduced the artist, Graham Denison, and listed the schedule. I knew it was on a first-come, first-served basis so I made sure I was there for a seat at the table. Denison is an oil painter who uses a pallette knife exclusively. The loft was like a large corporate conference room with cupboards for supplies and cubbies for work in-progress.
Students had their choice of the loft’s supply of acrylics, pastels, water color or oil pastel. Although the teacher was painting in oil, passengers were not permitted to. It would have been too much of a mess and potentially a fire hazard.
Denison had been hired by Disney artist when he was a teen to work in their product division. When the work became digital, he left to start a career in fine art. The paintings he had on board appealed to cruise ship passengers, including scenes of Venice. Between lessons, the artist and his wife were selling prints and paintings to interested passengers. I couldn’t believe that she worked in the loft in designer clothing including a white lace dress!
He taught short lessons on the materials, drawing, perspective and painting with a pallette knife. His demos were well organized and everyone could see them on a tv screen. I learned a few little tricks.
I chose a photo I’d taken while I was scrambling to find an open shop during siesta time in Spain so I could replace my broken sunglasses. I liked the couple and the winding street.
We worked in increments of an hour or two over the course of the cruise. Since I’m not really comfortable with acrylics and limited time I only modified the composition slightly instead of using the photo just as a resource like I would have with oils at home.
The cruise was wonderful and being able to paint was the whipped cream on the sundae (with fewer calories than the desserts in the dining room!)