For the method that we are using in this class, blending is not "allowed". We are learning to do little tiles of color that transition one shade to the next shade of the color. There is no blending involved. The eye does the blending for you. This helps you learn about tones and shading and makes you really think about what shades go where and how they relate to each other. It's a way of teaching yourself to see transitions and the "true" shape of the object you are painting.
At first I was doing my tiles but, me being me, couldn't stand to see the seams, so I blended them together. Then I couldn't stop blending. I blended the tiles so that the transition was more seamless. Then I just kept blending and blending...and, well, blending. Next thing I knew, I had obliterarted all of my tiles and the painting looked like something I would normally do (although a less accurate version). Now this may seem like an okay thing to do, I have been painting for awhile and doing well with it, BUT then I thought why was I taking this class? If I was just going to paint like I normally do, what was my purpose for being here? What was I learning if I wasn't following instructions on this technique and trying something new?
So despite my NEED to blend, I had to go back and do the exercise over, the way it was supposed to be done. It didn't feel natural, but what I did notice was that my egg looked more like an egg rather than an oval with weird dents in it. I was learning to "see" what I was doing. Am I a reformed blender after one session? Definitely not, as you can see from my painting. It still has blended areas and my tiles are not as visible. I am a work in progress, as is my painting. I may never master this technique and it may not change my habit of blending in my own work, but if by going through this process I can learn to "see" clearer and be a better painter, then this process is worth it. Sometimes you have to give up what you know, what may even be innate, in order to learn a method that will ultimately improve your overall skills.
In other news... I am almost done with the painting of the girl with the bike. The bike needs a little more detail but I am hoping to have it done in two more session. The plan is to then work on a 30"x 40" painting on Wednesday until Sunday (since I have those days off), wax and ship these two paintings on Monday to Whistler, then work on a few 6"x6" paintings that are due by December 2nd. Of course, this could always change, as schedules tend to do. But if I keep up with it, I THINK then I will be caught up enough to take a little break before the next batch of deadlines come up.