A CREATIVE EXERCISE TO TRY

I teach drawing and design and one of the first sketchbook assignments I give to the students is to pick a shape and draw it 50 times 50 different ways. This gets their imagination flowing and allows them to address different design concepts we’ve discussed; line,value,variety , etc.

I myself engage in this exercise often, making a several variations of a shape . I have posted the many variations on a shape….. there are definitely more I could come up with.. color being an additional aspect I have even touched yet. try it yourself with a shape of your own choosing.

Do you see the basic shape I started with and it’s variations throughout all the sketches?

LEARNING FROM DaVINCI……..BE OPEN TO MYSTERY

Not everything needs sharp lines. The 15th. century of Leonardo and Columbus and Gutenberg was a  time of invention ,exploration, and the spread of knowledge by new technologies.  In short, it was a time like our own.  That is why we have much to learn from Leonardo.  His ability to combine art, science, technology, the humanities and imagination remains an enduring recipe for creativity.  So, too, is the ease with which he was a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily  distracted and at times heretical.  Florence flourished in the 15th century because it was comfortable with such people.  Above all, Leonardo’s relentless curiosity and experimentation should remind us of the importance of instilling in both ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but also a willingness to question  it – to be imaginative and , like talented misfits and rebels in any era, TO THINK DIFFERENT

from the book, Leonardo , by Walter Isaacson 2017

Art Quote for the Day

Some more of my long lost notes….

Underpainting – an underpainting stimulates imagination . A black and white canvas is tedious and arouses very little initiative

Pigments for underpainting require little oil . It’s best to underpaint in neutral colors, grays or pinks.
For grays – use white lead and umber and prussian blue
For pinks – use white lead and venetian red

A midtone surface gives more flexibility than white as both dark and light will show up.
Thin color (glaze) is used for shadowand thick paint is used for highlights.

FLESH TONES
1. “basic” (caucasian) – equal parts burnt sienna & white
2. Add to ‘basic’ skin color for darker tones and variations – raw umber, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow, lemon yellow ultramarine blue
3. for lighter white tones – white + burnt sienna & raw umber
+ cadmium red, burnt sienna
+ alizarin crimson & burnt sienna
+ burnt sienna & cadmium yellow
+ burnt sienna & lemon yellow
+ burnt sienna & ultramarine

Art Quote for the Day

“I notice that students often start laying in colors and paint just to cover the canvas, without being very attentive to what’s going down–colors and values all over the map! They are feeling they want to get started and hope to refine it later. The problem is, the surface of the picture plane is so alive and active that every inattentive mark you put on it is taking you away from what you had intended to paint faster than you can possibly realize . It makes a lot of sense to try and get it right the first time as if it really mattered, moving intelligently right now toward your idea. And it really helps to have an idea. But just laying in paint as an unhelpful foundation completely confounds our ability to see what we’ve accomplished and where we need to go next. Every part is now reverberating with every other in a chaotic and confusing jumble, and trying to dig ourselves out of that mess may be too much for any painter.
This brings up 2 points.First, so much of what we do while we paint is a reflection of our character and shows us, for better or worse, and if we choose to perceive it, our true nature. Not taking time to lay in a strong and meaningful foundation may be something that manifests in other areas of our life. Art can be a remarkable feedback mechanism for our life.
This is not the same as trying to get it perfect. It justs means trying to get it as right as you can as you go along. “Right” means being aligned to your idea. Trying for perfection takes the life out of expression. to be continued………..

Creative Authenticity- 16 Principles to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision by Ian Roberts

Art Quote for the Day

“I know alot of students who are distracted by an artist’s color or painterliness. They want to paint like that.Yet what isn’t always clear is that, if the artist is any good , the color and bravado is embedded in a foundation . Jon Carlson, the landscape painter, said, “confidence of execution comes from practice and long experience.”

We can run into trouble comparing ourselves with another artist’s work when our temperament is completely different from his or hers, which means that we could never do what they do.

We can admire all manner of art and artists. We can learn from all kinds of paintings. But it is unproductive to compare and evaluate ourselves againt someone else’s work. What we’re trying to compare doesn’t. and it can be harshly discouraging to try.

Certainly it’s foolish to compare what you accomplished in an afternoon session at a painting class with a model whose pose you didn’t set, with ten other artists vying for a decent view with decent lighting, with a painter who was moved by an idea, hired a model specifically for achieving the idea, and set the stage, model and lighting to reflect his vision nd then had a week of six-hour days to accomplish it. The same would apply if you tried to compare a two-hour-on-location landscape with something that was done in the studio over several weeks with far more planning and adjusting than you can ever afford with a quick sketch.

Creative Authenticity by Ian Roberts

Art Quote for the Day

WHEW!!!!!!!

I just finished another Winterim session at my place of employment, Edgewood College in Madison WI. This is a 2 week long period of time that students can take classes and get a full semester’s worth of credit. We meet EVERYDAY  for 3 hours and I had one class in the morning and one class in the afternoon.  Six hours of classtime,  2 hours of prep-time, I was out of the house everyday at 7 am and home by 4:30 pm……. with maybe 30 minutes to gulp down some kind of lunch.

I’M EXHAUSTED!

4 days off , and then, the real semester starts and back at it!

I LOVE IT !!!

The Winterim is proof of  how much can actually get done in a very short time if that time is concentrated and focused. It is proof of what students are capable of learning and doing in that same amount of quality time.

The morning class I taught was in Figure Drawing. Drawing the nude…. everyday a live model, everyday a new set of skills to be learned: proportion, measuring ,bone structure, musculature,modelling 3-dimensional form, gesture/motion, media,patience, focus, imagination. We ended today with a 2 hour long pencil drawing of 2 poses in one drawing that related to each other in some way. Students had to draw a sitting pose and a standing pose that would relate to each other , switching back and forth about every 5 minutes….. After only 9 days of intense instruction and LOTS of practice they all managed to complete a pretty accomplished drawing! Some of the students had never had a drawing course before so I’m pretty proud of them!

The afternoon class was called Art Structure and it is specifically for NON-ART majors. Again, everyday , a new set of skills and information: drawing, color theory, design, painting, abstraction, printmaking, sculpture….. total chaos everyday…. CREATIVE CHAOS! And , once again, the work completed was fantastic.

Some of the work is posted here Enjoy!….

Art Quote of the Day

Does anyone else have this “issue” ?  I have the most beautiful studio…… we built an addition onto our house a few years ago.  Tall windows – 8 ft. with small panes that look out on my beautiful garden. Lots of room…. of course with great light. BUT…… with this EXTREMELY COLD WEATHER we’re having it’s VERY,VERY,VERY cold in there. The room is off the kitchen, heated only from the heat that fills the rest of our little house but the room has no heat source of its own. Needless to say , I’m not very motivated to go into that room and paint. It’s not that I’m not feeling creative ….. I’m restless with ideas and desire to get to work but , really, THE COLD!!!!  I have been able to work for a couple hours before getting sooooooooooo chilled that I had to stop but that was when the temperature was at least above freezing. With this EXTREME cold, -50 degrees wind chill  factor , well, I’m discouraged.

I will dress as if I were going outside …. a few layers , boots, maybe even a hat…. see how long I can stand it. I can bring some acrylics into my living room and work at the coffee table I suppose but I have big oil paintings in progress in the studio that I really want to work on.

I should have begun teaching classes today but cancelled because of the horrible cold…. so I have one extra day  of “vacation” to ‘enjoy’. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….. what shall I do ? what shall I do?  Chant and meditate on the fact that

I HATE WINTER…… OHMMMMMMM……..

Thanks by the way  for everyone’s well – wishes about my lost sketchbook. UPDATE! It  hasn’t been found or turned in …. it’s just gone….. in the wind…. in someone else’s possession (, ENJOY! ),  in a landfill somewhere ( that’s what hurts the most) , and I’ve pretty much just resigned myself to it’s loss. Que sera – sera !

STAY WARM EVERYBODY !

Art Quote for the Day

And once again, the time has gone by SUPERFAST and I find myself at the end of another semester. Projects DONE, grading DONE,cleaning up the art room messes, almost done! A few weeks of a much welcome break where I can really focus on my own painting , and then back at it again!
I was thinking the other night,( while attending a senior seminar where students I had as Freshman and are now about to graduate, had to present their work to an audience and talk about it), that it’s a great thrill to watch these individuals come into our school as these young Freshmen, watch them make it through all their trials and tribulations and then  see and hear them be so articulate about their work at the  end of it all. Somewhere deep down inside I’m always hoping that maybe, in their talks, they’ll mention me…. that I made a difference and when they don’t I have always felt a little sad. BUT, after seeing this presentation the other night I realized there are no thanks needed. My job is to instruct them in the basic foundations courses that are required . In return they inspire me in so many ways , I ‘m never bored. My own personal mission is to create for them an atmosphere of creativity and fearlessness so that they can INDEED go on to create a fantastic portfolio of work . I’m a small part of a bigger picture that includes all of my fellow faculty members, all doing the hard work that it takes to get these young people ready for the real world. And I’m so very happy to be a part of it.

Now, with the holiday break starting, I will take off a few days to do stuff other than school stuff but I’m already sort of thinking about new assignments, projects, and visual examples. I’m looking forward to the first day of classes when I get to meet new students and re-connect with old….

I just Love this Life of Mine!!!!

Art Quote for the Day

I bought a new sketchbook a few months ago. It’s a larger format than I usually use so I decided I would divide each page into small squares. It’s been an interesting process…. depending on the size of the small squares, depending on how many I put on one page, I find myself exploring themes and variations of a single theme. sometimes I’ll start a page by filling all the squares with a similar shape and then start doing different things to each one. sometimes it’ll be certain set of colors I want to work with or a different media. Every single little square is a future painting I think. There are more small squares than I have time left in my life to paint but it’s going to be fun trying.

Art Quote for the Day

Art can be taught, but nobody knows quite how. A typical piece of evidence here is the track record of art schools – the fact that famous artists have graduatd from them.  School catalogs typicallly list their graduates who went on to become famous.  Instructors praise the work of famous students as if they helped guide them to their success.  Still, there is very little evidence that art schools have control over the production of really interesting art.  It may be nothing more than chance.  If an art school is around long enough, there are likely to be famous people who studied there.  Sooner or later , a student will find an instructor, or a curriculum,or an environment that is just right, and that might then propel them to do work many people find interesting.  But do teachers have the slightest control over the interaction, or the vaguest idea of how it works?  How do we know that the art school was anything more than a neutral backdrop, a place that didn’t stop the artist from developing?  How do we know that another environment – say, a steel factory – might not have been better? The problem with this first theory is that is isn’t a theory.  It proposes a correlation without proving a cause – and-effect relation.  In that respect, it is like the many studies linking cancer to various foods; there might be a correlation between drinking coffee and getting cancer, but that does not prove there is a causal link.

Why Art Cannot be Taught – A Handbook for Art Students by James Elkins