One of the best things about painting in class is the chance to work different techniques and styles, pushing the envelope when ever possible. Trying new things will lead to new directions, sometimes just fun, sometimes to a bent that we will follow for a lifetime. There is no "last word". Art is a living changing thing: a noun, also verb. If I could encourage students at all, it would be to use your class situation, be it workshop, college class, or painting class of any kind, as a lab. The "happy accidents" that we all long for happen in the midst of experimentation - often with no clear end in sight. Class time should be our safe place to try new and crazy ideas. Ask yourself - what is the scariest thing I could do - and DO it!"
Specs on the still life posted here: old canvas, used several times before and wiped down. The last painting left it predominately red. I sketched the set up in cerulean blue (it is the easiest to cover) and went in with a direct method - meaning that, beyond the sketch there is little or no under painting except for the preexisting red canvas.
Compare it to the still life of the gourds in the post below. In the Gourds I used a pre-used canvas, wiped down to a creamy yellow and started by sketching the items in black acrylic to give them a dominating presence and a harsh outlined look. The acrylic is unmovable and will not lift when painted over so all I had to do was fill in the spaces. I like the drama and it was created mostly by the technique. In the painting with the grapes the drama is in the lighting of the scene and the overall feeling of the piece is much softer.
Are you headed into the LAB?
Mix up something dangerous or at least different
and see where it leads.