Thanks again to all,
JL, I took a half hour break from the drawing and went back to it and did some "scribbly doodling" with the tree form, it's not what I had in mind but it looks neat and the pressure/frustration I was feeling dissipated. Perhaps I shouldn't put expectations on my art work.
I just ordered Nicolaides book last night, can't wait to get it.
Ah, good, JL and good, PaulaJ, that's the ticket, the pleasure.
I wouldn't try and draw from anything but nature. Actually sketch or draw outdoors -- do not use a photograph. If we were caught using photographs in art lab we'd get called outside! Also put the tree into context like the side of a house or a background of other trees.
My drawings from real life seem to come out looking very real, but not alway's.
The drawings from my head look a bit surreal/dreamy, but I'm starting to like dreamy in my work. I love french and italian rococo.
I'd love to walk into the painting "The Swing" by Fragonard and just sit for a day :-}
Please excuse my questions if they seem naive, the most training I've received is from you people. I'm very appreciative.
What's so bad about using a picture if you can't sit in front of the object while your drawing? Isn't this a better than nothing way to study an object. Also, I live in New England and sitting outdoors is limiting.
Open to all suggestions.
I think all three methods are legitimate - sitting in front of the object of interest, using a photo of it, and working from mental imagery with or without a key object of interest.
Learning to draw from life is certainly beneficial. At the least, working from life gives one a large context for whatever is being focussed on. Whether or not that context is drawn in (and I agree with GL on the value of that), it - ah, it sort of holds the object up, supports it.
Photographs are only secondary conveyors of a slice of life.
The mind, well, you know the mind, a mind apprehends life in different ways.
People who paint or draw in plein aire fashion are not usually the same people who do eight foot long photorealistic pieces - those usually take many hours. I use photographs as triggers; sometimes my paintings will resemble them, and sometimes develop quickly into something quite different. In either case, much editing or alteration of what my eyes see is part of the process... but that's my way.
I think a photograph scene can be abstracted much as a scene in front of you can be, or a scene in your mind's eye.
I agree with LW that a photograph is a very llimited tool. I feel that a photograph has the limitation of any two-dimensional image: it is too easy TO COPY (artistically it's almost as bad as those matchbook examination drawings that ANYBODY can copy and therefore qualify for "art classes.") But I also agree with Osso that their main value is as triggers. I've tried that and found that they can help if you feel that the photo's subject matter is exciting. But the sooner one puts the photograph aside the better. I agree also that anything (like a tree) should be put in a context, because your artistic product will not just be an image of a tree; it will be a total composition CONTAINING a tree.
I have used photographs to stimulate imagery but never copy the image.
I am trying to remember the name of one of those super-realistic painters, one of the folks who showed every aspect of light rendered to deadness.. well, that is my view, that such attempts at realism are deadening, but many many people love it. More love all the paintings of yore such as those by Zurburan... and of course old (or was he young?) Zurburan didn't use photos.
I think that for people who are just beginning to play, just beginning to explore both hand eye coordination and just getting your hand to execute the tasks you have in mind, looking at a photo is not a mortal sin. Dependence will vary.
I remember trying to draw a telephone without looking at the paper as an exercise. Except for those of us born with the particularity of synapse connection that just gets it, one needs practice. If you want your phones in your paintings to be modigliani-esque, or el greco-esque, you want them to be that way on purpose.
I did seventeen paintings of the Chianti area of Tuscany after a week driving through there, back in the late eighties, and did them from some of my photos and frank love. It was a way of marking that place more thoroughly in my heart and mind, while I also read history about the area at some length after I got home. Hmmm, once, I only used an inch of one... and no, the result didn't look like the photo unless you had grande astigmatism, but the result extended the real place for me somewhere into myself. Not all of the many people who paint want a place in art history. Of those seventeen paintings I remember only, say, five, go ahead, say seven, as working for me, and that sense of working was probably limited to me, among people with any kind of critical eye, if with a certain kindness. Most of those small paintings were flawed even within my simple requirements, but are, where e'r they are now, still evocative.
What am I trying to get at, I don't like photo shunning as a dictum. I think you can riff expressionistically off of a photo as well as a scene in front of you, or one in your mind. I understand that countless folks have labored over reproducing photos in some wretchedly rigid way.. and agree that that is limiting. I just writhe to hear using photos condemned in entirety...even trying to reproduce them as many do.. it is part of getting acquainted, for many. I can tell I am going to have to show you my eagle. (Prepare to cringe)
I also leave room for people making something in a photo gain life in a realistic way. That's harder for me, but I don't preclude it.
Osso, I agree that a photo may serve many functions for the artist: it may be a stimulant or a point of reference (to recall how something was constructed, etc.). I do not particularly like hyperrealism. I suspect that people marvel at its fidelity to nature for the same reasons that they are amazed by a juggler. Technique is in itself very boring. I much prefer to see a good contour drawing of a telephone than a realistic one. The former is much more likely to have "personality," to achieve what Clive Bell called "significant form." But then, as you suggest, some works only work for you. This leads to Herbert Read's question, (referring I presume to Bell's notion ) "significant for whom?" The relativity of art is profound.
Yes on that. Much of what we are jouncing about is re the phony, the near mathematical reproduction to deadening realism, and which I think we three agree about, not to speak for others here.
I guess I'd like to have fidelity to nature just once in my painting years, but it might just be from the lightly nuanced slope of a hill. Which as we all know is captureable with various sets of curves. But it ain't all that easy as light alights on that slope, or doesn't, depending on the hour.
Ive stepped back and listened. So far, Im hearing the arguments posed by some of the artists whove not been exposed to the craft or the discipline , versus those who have. Ive not been part of an art program wherein the discipline was avoided (ok you take the NO LIFE DRAWING TRACK because you wish to paint abstraction)
Youve gotta understand what packs the meat on the bones and drawing it is a learning tool. ONLY THEN, do your abstractions of the human form have validity and context. Picasso was a consumate draftsman, he progressed away and the recognition of his genius is left to us to dissect.
Wyeths work is abstarct in its entirety . He kills the flower before he pqaints it. he breaks all rules in perspective and criwss crosses subject and entourage to purposely try to make something that captures us from something that should look hammy handed.
We can tell that BAlthus is a hack (IMHO) but BAcon is not. Something important is going on in a tAnguy drawing. kollwitz never presented us with horror by anatomically perfect subjects . Yet, scratched down deep, the important ones knew how to draft first. They chose their path as experimentation and extension, not substitution.
Isnt that the spirit of creativity?
I am not sure what you said as I am not sure what I said, but I agree with you, certainly re kollwitz.
really, I dont care how folks work these matters out - the interest for me is in real apprehension of life..
I feel that photos are only useful if you have a certain amount of experience and knowledge of the subject.
I would say work from life if you are inexperienced and your work will inevitably improve as you learn to look and respond. Spend more time looking than drawing,
I would also recommend large sheets of paper and charcoal as it is so flexible and can be used for delicate lines, blocks of tone etc and wiped away in a second if you want to change anything. Use an ink rubber rather than a putty rubber and you can 'draw' into dark areas with white rubbed out lines.
Charcoal is a lovely medium. (you can't do this with compressed charcoal which is much blacker)
That's my two pennyworth! I agree with a lot of jln and osso's remarks and farmer's.
Think about what interests you about the tree as you draw and it will filter into the way you make your marks.
Yes, Paulaj. Perfectly. I wish I could do the same.
Yes, Paulaj. Perfectly. I wish I could do the same.
That pic I dl has been in ravens realm for months. I tried dl some new pics today and they won't go in to ravens realm. I must be doing something wrong. I'll try again later.
Wait a second. You drew that, Paula? I think it's pretty damn good. I know next to nothing about art, but I like it.
I know next to nothing about art, but I like it.
That makes two of us. Thank you :-)