Pineapple Express Rap

Here at James Bay in Victoria
mildest climate in Canada.
We have a community garden.
It's so tiny
no need for a warden.
Rains come and go
then it's sunny.
But what is all that rain
these days in excess?
Hey, don't you know?
It's the Pineapple Express!


Part Two - art class aboard Royal Viking Line circumnavigations (continued)

Here is Part Two of our art classes aboard ships, doing world circumnavigations. (Part One is below) Secondary colours.  Mixing two of the three primaries at a time.  Always a free choice for use of the two first colours. Under their eyes, magic took place.  Blue with yellow results in green.  Red with yellow creates orange.  From blue with red, violet is born. This is not a man-made, but universal law. Let us now see how much has been achieved thus far.  Maximum results with minimum use of material.   
Our students worked with the three primary colours only: Red, Yellow and Blue, in all media:  coloured pencil, oil pastel, watercolour and acrylic.
 One ladder of eleven steps with one colour, results in eleven colours.  Thus, red, yellow and blue (11 x 3) results in 33 colours. By creating the secondary colours, another 33 colours = total 66.  Later on, there’ll be 11 more by mixing all three primaries (earth colours), totalling 77 colours.

Our students had NO need for store-bought coloured pencil sets like this, they could create their own colours, in fact even more, on their own, using only the three primary colours.

You can see a pencil box with many, many colours. Yet, even a beginner in our class has already created more than in the store-bought box. A few even managed to get more. Also, there are two “eco’s”:  one is economic, the other ecologic. By using only the 3 primaries, students learned to create and discover on their own many more colours.  Not just grab them out of a retail box, which numbs imagination and also will sap money later.  We had an easel on which I placed a rainbow image, and the Colour Wheel.  The exercise now was to create a rainbow, using only the three primary colours and secondary colours. The previous colour exercises already contained the rainbow and the spectrum, without students realizing it. Next exercise was creating a circle with the compass, and paint a Colour Wheel, as shown on the easel with my example.

This took two full classes of 90 minutes each, although some needed three classes, while a few were diligent and did homework in their cabins. Bravo! Next class: Rainbow Fantasy.  Anything goes, as long as the primary and secondary colours are used. Next class:  Earth colours.  By mixing all three primaries, you get beautiful earth colours.   

Here's an example of a student's work, creating Earth Colours (mixing 3 primaries together)

Start off with yellow (the lightest).  “Ah”s and “Oh”s were heard when they discovered the outcome by mixing the 3 primaries. Next two classes:   introduction to Oil Pastels, and exercises as per example. Next class:  watercolour introduction. Here begins the daily routine of Natasha of providing fresh water.  Brush techniques, use of water, paper.  Then make another Colour Wheel.  There were three classes on this introduction.  Secret of beautiful watercolour painting:  always use fresh water.  Next: introduction to Acrylic.   
Rainbow Fantasy creation from one of our students, using only the three primary colours
Technique, scales, mixing, awareness of drying time, working with water, cleaning brushes (very important, to avoid ‘hockey sticks’, although this more for watercolour brushes). And now we’re on our way, after two months.  Diligently following instructions, the passengers were given different themes. For each we taped an example before the class started so the pax. knew what the daily ‘plat du jour’ would be. 
This bronze water buffalo with rider was a birthday present for Natasha, our "water buffalo" water carrier
Natasha was not only the “water buffalo”, supplier and carrier, but always replaced stained with fresh, clear water.  A non-stop job. She also set up and dismantled all the classes.  Also her calligraphy text for the easel board was a great help.  Three classes were devoted to using any media they’d worked with so far, always using only the three primary colors.  Anything goes, as long as they didn’t copy from postcards or other images.  Except maybe something in black and white that they could change into colour. Three days before arrival and final disembarkation, we held an exhibition of our students that Natasha and I had selected after asking each passenger to submit 2-3 creations of their own choice. The exhibition was well received.  Those passengers who did not participate in the art classes were very impressed, and a kudo from the Captain topped it all off and made us feel proud:  “A job very well done”.

 Our legendary salty master, Captain Alf Morner, said "A job very well done."

First mission accomplished.  A dream come true.  We pulled it off! Not only did the students tap into their own imagination, but their eyes were opened to the magic and mystery of colour.  And you know what?  Upon return, they could actually teach their own grandchildren.


First ever Art at Sea class o/b RVL Sky '74 and RVL Sea '75

Part One - our first ever Art at Sea class on board "Royal Viking Sky" 1974, and "Royal Viking Sea", 1975 (both world circumnavigations)

"Skald" Daily On Board Program

 Upon arrival we learned Royal Viking Line had filled an order of art supplies we needed, enough for 24 passengers:  HB pencils, rulers, erasers, compasses, oil pastels, plastic palettes, watercolour pads, sketch books, Winsor Newton watercolours, acrylics, mini-canvas boards, watercolour brushes, acrylic brushes, pencil sharpeners, Red/Yellow/Blue pencils (the primaries). First, we were introduced to the passengers by the Cruise Director. Art class, Step One:  we put out sign-up sheets for the classes, maximum 24 people, the rest waitlisted. We feel 24 is the maximum number in order to give each ‘student’ some personal attention. Step Two:  finding a good location.  We found the ideal spot: midships, Sky Deck (highest deck). But there was no water source.  Problem solved:  Natasha would be the water carrier.  One deck below was the Trondheim Bar where she could fill two pails, then bring these up via the elevator.   
Natasha wrote up my instructions for class on the easel each morning
This she did for the entire voyage, and was nicknamed “Gunga Din”, or Water Buffalo. There was another obstacle:  the best tables were the card tables, also used by the bridge players. There was a concern we’d soil the table tops, and there was a conflict with the time of our class and the bridge classes.  I suggested the times be changed, while we’d cover the card table tops with plastic.  Accepted, all problems solved. We asked who were beginners, and more experienced ones. 
My emphasis is always on using imagination and making sure the passengers didn’t just copy something from a neighbour, or a ‘pretty picture’ from a postcard. Ages – from 50 to 80.  Later a 7 year old boy from Thailand joined us. His name was Vilit. 
 Natasha and I with the family from Thailand, and my youngest student, Vilit, seated on my lap, 1974

Step 1 for the students was to do a scale of double eleven ladders with pencil.  One column, from very light to full pressure.  Another column, the reverse: begin full pressure to very, very light.  When this exercise is done correctly the middle of each column should be the same value. We had fifteen on the waitlist.  Soon one dropped out.  She came dressed as if going to a cocktail party. Even though the classes began at 10 am, she carried a Bloody Mary.  I kindly asked her to give someone else a chance from the waitlist.  I took a big chance because she was a paying passenger and could have gone to the Cruise Director or Captain even. Luckily she took it in good spirit and never showed up again.  Later during the cruise she often asked us to join her at the bar.  She was a bar fly. Once the pencil scale exercise was done correctly, we introduced the primary colours. 
You cannot talk about colour.  Hands-on and eyes are needed. There was a choice of which colour to begin with:  Red, Yellow or Blue. (Again, the 3 primary colours).  Now the same exercise of scales as done with the HB pencil, but in colour. This took 3-4 classes.  Those who were more experienced were a bit impatient, but most did the exercises (except two).
Next blog post:  Part Two