Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I wanted to share this with you, I was reminded today about the stages of learning I went through during my early years - I'd just like to thank Matthew Archambalt for some of his podcast that I found on Itunes the other day. It reminded me that learning to draw is the most crucial part of any art, especially for those of us who want to achieve realistic results.
Learning Atelier style drawing/painting takes a mass amount of effort and practice, and if your going to in daily practice then progress will be slow.

I spent many hours as a youngster drawing especially on the covers of my school books, only to be reprimanded. But I believe it was that constant doodling that made all the difference.
The painting to your left is actually a class demonstration that I did with a large class of approx 16 students over a 5/6 week period. We looked at Vermeer's work process and equipment, the oil paints available and the painting itself.
The painting is now 340 odd years old but still one of the most loved paintings of the public.
I challenged my class to work in the original stages that Vermeer had, and to only use the same palette that he would have used. I made them draw from scratch, the girl without any aids and only minimal help from me.
I should mention that some of my students were beginners and had never used oil paints before and very few could draw to the same standard as Vermeer.
Once the drawings were complete I showed them how to lay in the first layer concentrating only on the tonal value of the whole painting, using only white(flake) and umber. They got the hang of this after the second layer, I made them refine the whole painting using these 2 paints building form and interest.
This was then followed by the first layers of any colour all applied thinly and blended using soft haired brushes. You notice from mine that I omitted the fringing on her back and the intials in top left background just so theres no confusion.
The whole purpose of this, was enlighten my students the way of the Atelier style learning they embarking on and how this would have been to work for more hours than usual on the same painting.
I revisit this method of painting in another session, but for now I just wanted to highlight the need for practice everyday. I tell everyone if you cant set aside some time everyday then set aside 5-10 minutes everyday while you drink your tea/coffee in the morning and draw only what you actually see. If we look at Leonardo De Vinci or any other great master and try to work out how many hours they would have drawn for in a year you could looking at thousands of hours, so why would any of you think that to that good you could get away with anything less than a few minutes a day.
try it!! it will improve your ability in just a few short weeks and give you the motivation to do more.
only what you actually see! remember
til next time - Kat

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Hi There, my name is Kat, I'm a professional Artist who teaches on the side. I've been painting since I was 7, so more than 30 years. This is my first ever blog, but I was wanting to share some of the knowledge I have acquired over the years with anyone willing to learn or share!

I hope that we all get a lot from this interaction, as for many of us art is a lonely existence.
I've been teaching for many years now and for up to 30 weeks a year, the one thing I am asked most is how to get an imagination, note I said "get an imagination" this is how it's been put me on so many occassions. Although it makes me chuckle it's a serious question.
Many of my students come from academic backgrounds and draw/paint for a hobby, so they seem to be unable to tap into their creative talents, thus you find many hobbyists copying from photos, art books and magazines which stilt their ability to cultivate their own imagination.

If you suffer from this, it is a good idea to spend more time drawing from memory over and over again. The subject matter should be simple to start with a cup and saucer is a good place to start!
Look at it for a while, then face the other way and draw what you remember. This may seem like a point less exercise but it is the beginnings of your memories that will begin the transition from just copying to being able to create your own art!!
Virtually every form of art whether you like or not is formed by simple shapes that we all recognize, its just the way in which thay have been put together that makes the difference.

By doing you will be creating, by creating you will sharing, by sharing you will be embrassing our world and all that is in it!!