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Painting Spotlight: Stewart Key and Maxine Lewis

Veronika Valia


"With painting, you’re given an assignment and you’re asked to take it to different places and do something that you want to do.”



For Stewart Key and Maxine Lewis, two Lovett sophomores, painting is their way to relax. Lovett’s painting program is by far the best option for them, an opportunity for a break during the day to chill out, unwind, be creative, and move seamlessly throughout their own painting journeys.

Both Stewart and Maxine have enjoyed painting since they were young. Stewart explains how, ever since she was little, she’s always enjoyed drawing and painting. Maxine agrees saying, “my sister had always been super artsy and because of that, it was something that I had always wanted to get into.” She also adds how she “knew how strong our arts program was and how there were so many options for people at all skill levels. So, I tested it out and loved it.” Stewart agrees. “All of the art electives at Lovett are amazing!” she says. “I chose painting just because I needed some more painting practice.”

Both Stewart and Maxine are in painting II. Stewart explains how as the levels progress, from foundations of art to painting one, two and so on, instead of becoming more teacher involved, like in some subjects, they tend to become more independent. “For painting ll, there’s not too much teacher involvement. I come into class and start painting, and my teacher comes to check in on me every now and then.”

Maxine adds that the only time her teacher, Ms. Story, comes to check in on them is to lay out what she expects. “The class is really flexible and that’s what I like,” she starts. “The class is what you make it.” I love this line, as I feel like it also applies for most classes and is a really good piece of advice just for life just in general. 

However, there is always the worry that with lots of independence, productivity can go down, such as can be in the case in some situations. But not here. “We are always working and there’s never a day when things aren’t getting done,” Maxine says.” Because she enjoys the class, she works hard to do her best every time. “As for the social scene, my class is all girls and if you want to chat you can, but most people have earphones in and completely check out and work.”

Aside from being independent, there are times when they are learning new things and building their repertoire of painting skills. 

Stewart enjoyed learning about underpainting. “This is where you paint first with only sepia tones [reddish-brown tints] to get the shadows and highlights down, and then you paint over it with colors.” She also explains how, “when it comes to techniques, there are methods for how to draw the base of the painting, how to get the right colors, and how to paint/use the brushes.”

Maxine enjoyed focusing on blending, calling it “a vital skill that all painters should learn.” 

Maxine took foundations of art and drawing prior to painting, which she says helped a lot in this class. She explains how lots of art skills can apply across the board. “The skills that I learned in drawing are very similar to many painting skills. For example, value, the color wheel, and proportions are all techniques that both classes share. With all techniques, it is just practice and in art classes, you can be taught the basics of how to do things, but there is no one way to do something or the ‘right way’ to do something. So it is all about trying things out and figuring out the best way for what you are painting.”

Maxine even believes that painting can also be implemented into her social life. Giving an example, she says that she “went to the photo studio and I set up a photoshoot with one of my friends. Now I am painting her from that photo, but once I am done painting her I plan to add some cool effects on her as well.”

With the dreaded, (perhaps virtual) finals perhaps looming, one might be wondering what a final test or project might look like in terms of the painting classes. Are you graded on how good your painting looks? How many advanced techniques you used? 

Stewart says that they get to choose their own 3 piece line up for their final projects. Being in complete control and all this independence may seem stressful to some. After all, we are all used to the classic methods of final prep: quizlets, practice tests etc. According to Maxine, the art room, “is a place where there are deadlines, reflections, requirements, etc. But it is not a stressful place.” 

She is not usually stressed about whether or not what she’s doing is just as good as the person next to her because they are doing completely different things in the same assignment. “I think in most classes at Lovett, teachers give out assignments and what they are expecting is one or two answers for the whole class to come up with, and if you don’t have that answer, then you’re wrong. With painting, you’re given an assignment and you’re asked to take it to different places and do something that you want to do.”

All in all, both love the class. On a happier note (finals aside) Maxine explains how her favorite thing is how “creative you can be in the class.” She reflects on some of her experiences with her classmates saying how “there is another girl in my class who created a person by taking her favorite parts from pictures of other people, matched it all together on photoshop, and now she is painting her.”  She mentioned some other people who are incorporating spray paint into some of their paintings.

“There is really no limit on what you can do and I love how that shows all the different creative minds in just one classroom,” she says.“No one is painting something similar to someone else and I love that.” 
 
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