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Art dilemma

 
 
paulaj
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2004 10:08 pm
Could someone please help me.
Situation, I started teaching myself how to draw a year ago. I enjoy it and would like to excel. My problem is I don't fair well in classroom settings. I haven't since the 4th grade. I get bored so quickly, classes feel like an endurance test. I did try a basic art class 6 months ago (thinking I might have changed) and it felt like I was in kindergarten, bored again. When I'm doing something I enjoy I learn rapidly and the teachers can't keep up (what a curse for me). I'm open to all suggestions.
p.s. can't afford private lessons
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 10,511 • Replies: 92
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 12:47 am
Well, there are a couple of fairly famous books that people can use to teach themselves -
Betty Edwards - Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain, or a similar title
and
Nicolaides' (I forget his first name) The Natural Way to Draw.
He gives an immense amount of tasks to practice, but you of course can do what you choose.

There are probably other books, but these have been standards for a while.

(A2K has an Amazon.com link on the HOME page).
Here's the link - Natural Way to Draw
There are four books on how to draw on that page....
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paulaj
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 01:47 am
Osso, thank you.
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Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 06:50 am
Some teachers are better than others, but if there is a consistent problem I would say the error lies with you.

Try to challenge yourself within the projects your teachers set and enjoy them, they are there for you to learn from. If you don't like them or they don't challenge you, make it more interesting or be more demanding of yourself. Ask questions, do backround research, maybe do extra in-depth projects or add a conceptual or compositional element to technical exercises. You'll only get out of a class (or a book) what you personally invest in it.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 07:02 am
i agree with portal. You must force yourself to explore solving the problems in capturing specific assignments wherein the lesson derived is how to tackle future , more complex problems.
As a basic list of things on which id focus , include

contour lines-make your lines visually interesting by varying their thicknesses

Shapes-learn to render a cirlcle or square without lifting the pencil

perspective=I could fill a thread with perspective tricks Ive learned (and am continuing to learn)

Light and shadow-cast and direct

This is a really top-of-the -head list. Im sure others have many more lessons that they consider important starting points.
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paulaj
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 08:33 am
Thank you all.
Good Morning-
I am challenging myself. I just moved back into the house I grew up in and reexplored the neighborhood. There is a magnificent old tree right in front of my old principles house that I started to draw.
The bark is twisted, gnarled, knotted, and lifted. It has so much detail it's incredible.
Is there a correct/sensible way to draw something with massive detail so it dosen't overwhelm me. I almost have to draw this tree, it's DIFFICULT, I love it. All suggestions would be appreciated.
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shepaints
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 08:46 am
I would start with the basic shape of the tree.
It will be composed of cylinders....the
tree trunk being the largest, and the branches
smaller cylinders which diminish in size and go in different directions.
Keep your sketch very light so you can erase
mistakes without damaging the paper.

No matter how tempting, save the detail till
you have drawn the basic skeleton of
the tree.

Sounds challenging and fun.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 08:57 am
try to break down Old, gnarly, big tree into sketchy components as an exercise. Do large as one sketch, gnarly as another. And, there is no reason you have to do the entire tree to convey the total of those concepts. I do a lot of wildlife art and, as a sketch book exercise I often load a page with a number of skecthes of an animals feet , their head, a full body sketch that only shows position etc. Sometimes the skectches are more successful than the end painting. so I keep the one and toss the other
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paulaj
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 09:23 am
Portal, some teachers are better than others. My all time favorite teacher thus far is Dr. Daniel Robinson he is Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown, regularly lectures for the sub-faculty of philosophy at Oxford and much more. His style sets him apart from everyone else. Never had the pleasure of meeting him, (I purchased a lecture series that he is in.)
Anyone familiar with him?
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 09:38 am
I also agree that you learn the basics of representing form, color mixing, composition and other techniques. To utilize them and develop a style is up to the individual. My art teachers stressed developing a style over any technique. Some of the most incredible artists in the past could be called short in traditional technique. Certainly abstract expressionism blew everything out of the water. Yet someone like Willem De Kooning or Jasper Johns show how intrinsically good technique controls their imagery.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 10:32 am
Ah, I agree, GL, but add that one needs to know what one can do with a pencil and practice hand eye coordination before developing a personal style. Some people have spot on hand eye coordination to start with, but even they - and that facility doesn't necessarily make them good artists - even they need to learn the many ways of showing treeness on paper, and as a start toward doing that, as I think farmerman said, the ways a pencil line can vary.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 11:13 am
A lot that goes on in art class is the critical appraisal of what the student produces. That's likely more important as far as the quality of the teacher over anything else. If they aren't frank about whether one has the inate talent to draw and paint, they aren't doing their job.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 11:46 am
I guess we look at drawing and painting differently.

I am not so sure what importance inate talent would have, except for hitting the 'big time'.

I think of making art as a process of self discovery and self expression invoked in working out a reaction to something in front of you.. or engaging your mind. Whether one has such facility as to make a near photorepresentational piece or such mastery of process and concept as to make a fine abstract work is beside the point for me.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 12:52 pm
Pollock was accused of not being able to "draw," by Robert Hughes I believe, but in fact produced early paintings looking quite similar to his teacher and mentor Thomas Hart Benton. The imagery did required not tight drawing but an ability to draw real forms of figures and landscapes. His abstractions are drawing reduced to the basics of creating texture, color and space with no deliniation of any particular form (although forms do emerge in some of his paintings). This was the emergence of his real style and a style that lit the fuse for one of the most influential art movements of the 20th Century, perhaps the most important.

Your mind guides your hand in drawing and one will quickly know if they can master the skill.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 01:26 pm
I am saying that there is room, for me, to do art and not master it; that the doing of art can be rewarding in the process.
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paulaj
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 01:30 pm
I'm sitting in my backyard with a photo of the knotted tree (my daughter is swimming, can't leave the yard) my goal is to make it life-like, it seems as if I'm only capable of high quality cartoon. YUUUUK! When I sat in front of the tree it came out much better. I'm getting frustrated.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 02:37 pm
Paulaj, it does seem that your interest in drawing is that of being able to copy nature, to make an accurate mimetic representation of something beautiful that you see, i.e., the gnarled tree. But nature (or God if you wish) has already made that image. Drawing and painting skills are undoubtedly essential for achieving your goal. But even if you wished to do the more artistic thing of using the inspiration of the tree to make your own poetic representation of the "treeness" you see before you, you will still have to be able to draw. But I define drawing broadly. Both Lightwizard and Ossobucco are right in my understanding. Pollock's abstractions, like Picasso's were successful because they could DRAW abstract forms and relationships. Pollock's abstract "drippings" clearly had the "drawn" rhythms one sees in his teacher's, T.H. Benton's, drawings. We are always drawing even when we try not to draw. I have studied drawing (including doing the wonderful exercises of Nicolaides for a year) but never with the goal of accurate representation; I wanted the ability to make EXPRESSIVE (as in abstract expressionism or that of Goya or Kollwitz) representations either of something before me or in my head. And sometimes the forms take shape on the paper or canvas almost accidentally. But I think my drawing had something to do with it.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 02:47 pm
You may misunderstand me: I consider a representation of treeness, or just the presence of a certain form in a void, in an abstracted way just as much, or perhaps more, art than doing it in a representational way, or making art without a pre-existing form in mind in the first place. I think you need to learn how to use the tools and practice hand eye coordination for all of these. My tangent was that I don't think mastery is the goal for all of us who make art, and one shouldn't just drop art classes or the practice of art because he or she isn't one of the people with "inate talent".
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 03:47 pm
If you are talking to me, Osso, I must say you misunderstood ME. I was agreeing with you. I agree that a high level of mastery is not necessary, but a sufficient level is. And that level of sufficiency depends on what kind of work you want to do. Abstract expressionists like deKooning, Frankenthaler, or Kline, did not have to be able to draw like Pearlstein or Dali, but they had to be able to draw in the sense of making their hand do the will of their mind.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 04:34 pm
Even scribbly doodling is drawing--good or bad.
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