IN THE STUDIO

Progress in Oil

I have been taking Manu Saluja’s Intro to Portrait oil painting class at the New York Academy of Art as a crash course in oil painting.

I originally signed up to take the class with a friend. I have never taken a painting or oil painting class before and I was super intimidated on the first day. Everyone was literally already painting (I was in the afternoon session) and it was like I walked in on something.

As someone brand new, it took some time to get used to the style and pace of the class, but with Saluja’s guidance I soon settled in. I learned a ton in my first session of classes, and even produced my first oil portrait.

1st Portrait by Stephanie Echeveste, from Manu Saluja’s class (1st session)

1st Portrait by Stephanie Echeveste, from Manu Saluja’s class (1st session)

I never thought I would be able to draw, much less paint portraits in oil paint, and had thus kind of let myself believe I just wouldn’t do that kind of artwork. This class has forced me to push through those thoughts and just keep practicing and try to believe that I can do it.

Every class is hard. But as I start painting and letting go I get into a meditative state and am able to just paint. It still is extremely hard, but if I try not to judge myself too much I make progress. Slowly.

During the second session of the course I felt much more confident and at ease. I was less intimidated by all the other students because I knew the lay of the land. Saluja’s lessons were even more helpful because I had a baseline and I was not starting out from nothing as I had in the first session.

And of course, the more I learn, the more I realize how very far I am from where I want to go. But this is good — it means I am making progress and I am improving based on my own starting point. I just signed up for Saluja’s next session and I am very excited to get back into the zone and paint.

Portrait oil painting class forces me to practice something that is very hard for me, but I get so much out of it. I learn about line and shadow, form and color. I learn about style. It’s like when I had to take ballet classes when I was on dance company as a kid and teen — you can’t do modern dance without knowing how to do basic ballet.

I don’t think I could truly call myself an artist without knowing how to paint a portrait. I’m so far from being where I want to be as an artist, but at least I’m on my way.

2nd Portrait by Stephanie Echeveste, from Manu Saluja’s class (2nd session)

2nd Portrait by Stephanie Echeveste, from Manu Saluja’s class (2nd session)

Making A Mess (and then cleaning it up)

(This title has nothing to do with this post, but it could have!)

This past week was pretty busy. I didn’t realize how busy until I looked back at photos I took and was sure the events didn’t all happen last week, but they did.

Oh, and it was Thanksgiving! So, we also had a day trip to Jeremy’s family’s in Maryland on Thursday to eat turkey and fish.

I had some much needed friend time with some of my friends and some of Jeremy’s friends. Almost too much social time! I also hosted two airbnb workshops, block printing and shopping in in the LES. Both were enjoyable as my guests were great and I loved doing the shopping experience for the first time!!!

A student and I made pink for her block printing project

A student and I made pink for her block printing project

I also had a Google Hangout with a friend and it was fun. Oh, and I had an advisory board meeting geez it was a busy week!!!!

I also had a Google Hangout with a friend and it was fun. Oh, and I had an advisory board meeting geez it was a busy week!!!!

I also finish a prototype for this new NYC Hanging I’ll be teaching in a new airbnb experience in my Dumbo studio. I already booked two students for this upcoming week!

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And I found a vision board I made before I decided to move to NYC and start this crazy chapter of my life. I think it’s pretty accurate. I don’t have a ring yet though ;). We’ll be doing a vision board workshop in NYC soon and in DC in January! Sign up for the January vision board workshop in DC here.

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I also worked in my store (Eche Verde) for Black Friday. Three people came inside while I was there. It was very depressing. I hate retail.

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But I love shopping! I had an awesome first shopping airbnb experience and I’m pretty sure my guest did too. Sadly, I didn’t get any photos of us together. I always feel weird asking.

Oh, and while at the store I prepped a bunch of plastic bags for a new weaving I’ll be working on soon.

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And here’s a picture of a pretty bike stand one of Jeremy’s friends’ friends’ had in his apartment. I was a little jealous of their well-designed house, but I’ll get there.

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Ok, I gotta go. I’m tired and forcing myself to just write a studio update!

-Stephanie