Being ready…


My dalliances with art have been at once engaging, frustrating, and pockmarked by periods of willful ignorance. In my defense, I’ve not always used the best guides, or even known where to look. Instead I plod away, an image at a time, trying to make improve a bit, trying to make sense of it all.

The result if all this is a lot of small improvements, often followed by lengthy plateaus as I try to figure out the next step. Most recently, while on a “painting a day” kick, a friend patiently pointed out that I should really be doing more value studies, more master studies, as he has at dozens of points over the years. My reply as ever was that if I wasn’t having fun, I’d not be doing any work, or the work that I did do would be terrible! (I am a firm believer that the energy you have when you create something carries through the picture)

Towards the end of the year, I had a lot of paintings that weren’t quite as good as they could be, and worse, no clue as to how to make them better. I could, I suppose, blame a lot of domain specific and selective training, but that wouldn’t quite be true. The truth is I wasn’t really ready to see certain things about how these various methods I’ve pursued over the years fit together. It’s like I had a hammer and a box of screws, and kept ignoring the screwdriver.

I may have been unduly influenced by the appeal of doing things rapidly, ala prima, without ever realizing how solid a foundation is needed for such things to work out.

Serendipitously, I signed up for a life drawing class at work. This in itself is not unusual, I’ve done so a hundreds times before. I have almost religiously avoided the long pose. Anything more than 5 minutes and I get lost pretty fast. This class ends ever session with a long pose, and critiques/draw overs. The instructor is like a firehose of information on everything from anatomy to classic illustrators and styles, but most importantly on core drawing skills.

Having access to information has never truly been an issue. Being ready to receive and use it however…

I guess the point of this whole rambling bit of nonsense is that I’m finally ready to see some of those things that people have been pointing out for ages, and after meandering about I’m ready to move away from the single session, single image approach. I’m excited, and perhaps a bit scared of how much there is to try and fit together, but I’m determined to have fun doing it! I think it is true that when you are ready, the right teacher will appear. Here’s hoping I can put it to good use!

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