Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Lessons

This is the start of my Friday Artist’s Lesson, and I welcome feedback and questions!  And I will be adding videos to this blog!
It does take courage to be an Artist -- courage to dig deep inside yourself and find your creative self.  Here is a part of the speech written by Marianne Williamson and spoken by a true hero, Nelson Mandella:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?.......”
Take some time and read the rest of this amazing speech -- it is a beautiful reminder to honor ourselves.
And, as artists, the privilege to use our gifts is why we are here!
Basics! Basics! Basics!
Even the most “seasoned” artist has to remember the Basics!  As in anything, there are certain basics that we must learn to hone our skills!  In Golf, you have to learn how to hold the club, how to stand, how to swing, etc.  And with the basics, the natural talent will open up and grow.
First, learn your trade!  Read books about art, go to museums, study art, study the work of people that you love.  If you take me to a museum, you would gladly pay me for my knowlege -- I have done my homework over the years, and I can tell you so much about so many artists -- not all of them, of course, the ones that I have learned from and loved.  And that list keeps growing every year as I open up my mind and heart to NEW!
And that is the key word here -- “NEW”!  New means learning from other artists, learning their techniques, and then taking that information and make it your own.  Study the masters -- that is why they became masters!   We all learn from one another, and then we need to find our Voice in our art.  
This is why the basics are so important -- they are the foundation of art, of anything, really.  Without a good foundation, a house would eventually fall down.  In art, the basics are drawing and learning composition.  You can have the best ideas and yet without a solid background in structure, 
Draw -- draw every day -- it is the basics of all art, including sculpture, glass blowing, making stained glass, and countless other forms of art!  Draw your foot, your hands, your face in the mirror.  If you have children or a spouse, or a cat, dog, fish -- draw them!!!  Draw from life!!!!  There is no substitute for life -- photos are flat -- and since we are magicians creating a three-dimensional form of art -- it is so much better to see it in life.  You truly get to feel it, see it and capture it your drawings.
One of the original masters of art, Rembrant, who is still revered to this day and copied by so many artists, used to draw himself in the mirror, and paint himself as well.  And that is how he learned to become a great painter -- and how much are these drawings and paintings of his worth today?
Monet, known as the Impressionist Master, first learned how to draw and paint the traditional way before he had the courage to embark on his own style -- a style we all know and love!
Set up a still life, or just draw a Pot!  Drawings eggs with different forms of light is a great way to learn how to draw!
Start with black and white so that you can see and capture the values of light.  Charcoal is fun to use, as well as conte crayons, and the most simple item to use is a standard pencil!  Carry a sketchbook with you and a pencil, and when you have those extra minutes while waiting for an appointment or someone, do a sketch.  Some of my best sketches were done in 5 minutes while my son was watching television.  It makes you look, react and just draw.
Take workshops and classes and learn from others.  If you only learn one thing in each workshop or class, well -- think of how much you can learn!
You don’t need to show anyone your sketches or drawings -- they are learning tools.  A lot of times on an airplane, I will sketch other passengers -- usually they are 3/4 profiles and are done quite quickly!  
Here is the Six form of light -- when you see them, you are seeing things as an Artist!  Sometimes they are subtle, yet they are all there.  That is why changing the lighting is a great way to grow.
Direct Light
Half-tone -- between the Direct Light and Shadow -- which makes the object turn
Cast Shadow
Reflected Light
and the final light -- the Highlight
When you have a drawing in which you can see all of these values of light -- you now have a drawing!
When I first knew that I wanted to paint, I just wanted to paint.  I found an artist who was from Russia and I asked to be his student.  He was very traditional and insisted that I could only draw -- with one color -- like black on white paper!  I was insistent that I wanted to paint -- well, basically -- he told me that I had to learn to draw -- and so I did.  Below is a sketch that I did in my first year as an artist - it is done with conte crayon -- from life -- 5 minutes.
Remember to have fun -- make it easy -- put some music on and have a sketching party where you draw one another!  Draw on napkins in a restaurant for fun!
Happy Drawing!
Next week, I will have a video of me sketching.  Until then, have a creative week.  As you can see, the paper has been creased -- this drawing has been with me for a long time and yet, I still love the simple lines.

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