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Artists unite for seascape demonstration

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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter

As eastern Massachusetts residents, we have the privilege of living just a short drive away from picturesque beaches. However, just because the ocean is close by, that doesn’t mean that the Wellesley Society of Artists and Needham Art Association would pass up the opportunity to see seascape oil paintings.

The two organizations collaborated to bring Michelle Jung, an award-winning artist, to the Wellesley Free Library on April 12 for a live demonstration.

Jung, a native New Englander, travels between her two studios in Wellesley and in Santa Cruz, California, and works on multiple pieces at once – mostly seascapes.

During the demonstration, Jung shared some of her experiences as an artist, offered advice for beginner painters, and showed how she sets up and begins her paintings. Jung even shared an excerpt from her journal, which she uses to keep track of thoughts and ideas.

“‘I feel like I have reached a threshold in my artistic journey,’” she read.

“‘In order to push myself past the comfort zone, I have to accept my intellectual decisions based on intuition. I need to let go and trust my education and field practice.’ If I’ve done enough of that and I’ve done enough of this,” she said, pointing to her color theory work and field practice paintings, “then I should be able to paint this with no problem if I just go for it.

“If you think it has to be perfect and you take forever to put a color on, or if you’re mixing while you’re doing it, it’s not going to work because you’re focusing so much on your mixing that by the time you get over here, you don’t know where to go.”

On the table beside her was Jung’s palette, which already had all of her colors mixed and laid out. She confessed that it took her three hours earlier in the day to get the colors just right and place them on the palette. However, for Jung, those three hours of mixing colors were crucial to her success.

“My weakness is color, and when I applied to graduate school, they looked at my portfolio and they said, ‘The first thing you need to take is color theory,’” she admitted.

To keep herself from making mistakes with color, Jung revealed that she learned to arrange her palette into warm and cool sections, so that she could know which colors to use depending on what she was painting. She also showed the audience that she sometimes labels tubes of paint “warm” or “cool” to help with her paintings.

“I believe that you should always seek out somebody who knows what your weaknesses are, and you should take in that information,” Jung said. “Whatever that weakness is, you should supplement yourself with that.”

Although she did not have enough time to finish the painting, Jung assured the artists that she would be keeping them updated on her progress and continue to inspire the local painters.

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