PDA

View Full Version : Am I aiming too high too soon?


Pages : [1] 2

Deshy
10-21-2013, 12:31 PM
I have painted for no more than a year. So, you could easily call me amateur. Last week I painted a portrait for the first time and it turned out to be too tacky so I burnt it up. :o

I'm so frustrated right now at my sheer incapability to draw something like this:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Oct-2013/1190085-Melancholy-xx-Louis-Jean-Francois-I-Lagrenee.JPG

Question is, am I aiming too high too soon? Is portraiture a specialised area that I might not have a talent for? If I am to reach this level of sophistication, how should I start? Any video tutorials I can follow or a process... I don't even know where to start.

AllisonR
10-21-2013, 12:54 PM
I played piano for less than a year, and now the symphony orchestra won't take me yet. I have taken gymnastics and love it, and now it is nearly a year later, yet I am frustrated because I am not ready for the professional team.

And regarding portraits in particular - they are the most difficult things to paint realistically. You have to learn anatomy, how to draw, before even starting to paint. You paint a tree branch or an apple a cm too thick and no one will notice, you do that to an eye or an arm and everyone will.

La_
10-21-2013, 01:16 PM
well said allison

deshy, patience and practice, but to aim for that piece, sure, paint it again and again, you'll learn new every time

la

DaveCrow
10-21-2013, 01:30 PM
"I have been painting for a year", how much? Daily, weekly, monthly? One hour a day or twelve? What studies have you been doing to improve your art?

What subjects have you been studying and painting? I paint mostly landscape and natural subjects, architecture and the human form remain quite beyond me at this point.

Portraiture is hard because it is not enough to suggest "person", you have suggest "Aunt Millie" or "Liza" or "Cousin George". We are hard wired to look at people and especially faces. Not only will we instantly notice if the proportions of a face or figure are off in general, but if the subject is a person we know we will also spot immediately if the features while in proportion do not match e specifics of an individual.

Here is an example, did you ever notice that the antlers on the "deer crossing" highway sign are wrong? They are on backwards. A second question, do the antlers on a deer grow from in front or behind the ears?

On a human are the eyes above or below the ears? What about the nose? Which finger is longest?

Deshy
10-21-2013, 01:40 PM
I mostly do landscapes and stuff. As I already said, I haven't painted portraits that much and I find it very intimidating because of the subtlety.

Does anyone know of good video tutorials to get me started please? Any advice on how to start in addition to patience and lots of practice? I am a software engineer, so, no I haven't done any art studies in the past. :)

rednova
10-21-2013, 03:24 PM
dear friend:

Michael Britton has an excellent commercial tutorial dvd class
for learning how to draw the portrait.This is the dvd's I use to
improve my portrait drawing. Is very amazing and I guarantee it
will help you.If you buy the dvd, prepare to be amazed.
http://www.artacademy.com/
That is the link to his webpage.
The class is amazing and you will learn lots.
Love !!!

libby2
10-21-2013, 03:45 PM
Deshy, if you can take a class on drawing by someone who is not only a talented artist but who knows how to communicate. The class structure will enable you to produce more work than you would by yourself, and you get to encourage each other. Classes could be thru university, night school, or someone's studio. Don't be discouraged if the first few attempts bomb because there are a lot of "instructors" out there who aren't worth fluff....but keep trying, at some point the right instructor will cross your path. So much better than going it alone.

In the meantime, peruse YouTube for something you think might be suitable. Here are some to get you going:

For portrait painting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZiQK81Rjfw

Linear Perspective, a must for landscape painters, a whole series, here's the first::
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm5u2RAkhm0

Figure Drawing Lessons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_716303&feature=iv&src_vid=8lp6gc4gjjY&v=BvrocH4noms

...because a good foundation is a must.

Good luck!

BrianWarner
10-21-2013, 03:46 PM
Deshy, figure that the painters who painted the portraits you so admire had been painting for years...many years... and this with the best painters of the day teaching them. Keep practicing and have patience, even when you have found the classes you are looking for, and I'm sure you will. All the best with your endevours.

ianuk
10-21-2013, 06:34 PM
I think people are born to draw and paint portraits, if you don't have a natural talent for them you just have to keep practicing and painting, over and over until you get better. I'm writing of good portraits that have life in them.

Don't worry though, there are people that have been painting for many years that can't paint a good portrait.

Artyczar
10-21-2013, 07:00 PM
I am quite sure that many people here will steer you in the right direction. I can only tell you that 1. your expectation are never "too high," but 2. they unfortunately are too soon. So my only advice to you is to have patience...

But a certain kind of patience. A kind of patience that might help you feel a lot less discouraged and a lot less overwhelmed.

The image you posted for instance. That might as well of been a giant mountain, and let's say you are a novice climber. You know the reason you got into climbing and bought all the gear was to eventually climb Everest, but you know if you try that climb now, you will fall to your death - so don't try.

Instead, pay very close attention to the gradient that lies before you. You have to. Your life depends on it, even if it's not the giant mountain.

Right now, you should be learning the basics and get masterful at those basics before to move on to the next step. Skip a step and you might take a tumble. (In this case a tumble is a bad enough drawing that discourages you, makes you beat yourself up and, God forbid, makes you give up or gets you thinking art is not for you.) And that is worse than a tumble! Break your ankle - ankles heel.

I am self taught, so I can't steer you into a great video or teaching program. I did however begin in portraiture - and probably the wrong way. I studied 2D photos, missed out of live drawing all together, and could only paint from a person's photo. I will tell you though, first you have to be able to DRAW before you can paint. Painting is easy if you know how to draw first.

Drawing shows that you understand the line, the contours, depth, light and shadow, and anatomy of the object.

If you're a software engineer, than you already have the focus and the patience needed to obsess on this learning curve. Think of the differences in code. Once you knew C how easy C+ was, and then everything after that was so easy because it was all based on a common denominator, like how pretty much all database query language isn't much different from the next (php or asp, right?) Once you know and master the basics, the rest will come almost like magic (not exactly, but almost) then...

Practice makes permanent.

brianvds
10-21-2013, 10:36 PM
dear friend:

Michael Britton has an excellent commercial tutorial dvd class
for learning how to draw the portrait.This is the dvd's I use to
improve my portrait drawing. Is very amazing and I guarantee it
will help you.If you buy the dvd, prepare to be amazed.
http://www.artacademy.com/
That is the link to his webpage.
The class is amazing and you will learn lots.
Love !!!

I subscribed to his newsletter some years ago, and he sent regular and tantalizing hints, but of course never gave away any secrets (if indeed there are any to give away!). Of course - he's a businessman. But given the exchange rate, I could never even remotely afford to buy his course.

I have also become a bit skeptical about such courses, because I suspect different people might learn in somewhat different ways. E.g. he says this on his site:

"This initial shape immediately infers the composition and directional movement of this portrait. Even after several decades of teaching drawing I am still surprised by the number of artists who cannot accurately strike shape. This skill is readily learned and not being able to see and draw shape infects every step of their drawing and painting. (My emphasis)

But is it readily learned? In more than twenty years of practice I never managed the trick - I simply cannot see whether the larger shapes are correct until I have filled in quite a bit of details. Perhaps he has some magical method for achieving that. In my case, years and years of practice have somewhat improved my ability to "strike and arabesque" as he calls it, but nowhere near accurately enough to then proceed in the way he does.

Perhaps I just have a unique blindness for shapes. Or perhaps I could learn to do what he does but need to learn it in some other way.

I can't really tell, but I have seen many, many "simple methods" for learning how to perceive shape accurately; I have yet to see one that actually works as advertised.

WFMartin
10-21-2013, 11:20 PM
Am I aiming too high too soon?

Not at all, in my opinion. But, you just may not have been taught appropriate methods of accomplishing things.

If I were to begin to try for a likeness, and facsimile for this reference, I would not even pick up a "drawing instrument". I would begin with paint on canvas, using a rather large brush, and using the following reference photo that I created in Photoshop:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Oct-2013/13079-Melancholy_Blur_Great.jpg

Once I had duplicated the above image with paint, I would then move on to the next reference image, which follows:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Oct-2013/13079-Melancholy_Blur_slight.jpg

Then, after I had created a rather close approximation to the above image, I would move on to the final, normal-focus, reference photo, which is this:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Oct-2013/13079-1190085-Melancholy-xx-Louis-Jean-Francois-I-Lagrenee.jpg

I would not be recommending such a bizarre, off-the-wall method of painting this portrait had I not given it a try once. For years I had struggled with trying to create an acceptable likeness of people in portraiture, and I had used sketching, drawing, gridding, and everything imaginable, with little or no success in creating a reasonable likeness.

On a whim I tried this method that I now call the Progressive Focus Method. It worked the very first time I tried it. Thinking that it must have been a fluke, I almost immediately tried another portrait, and with equally good success.

Needless to say, I've been using this method ever since. The concept utilizes some very strong "artistic concepts" that literally "train" one to place things where they belong......EARLY in the painting, as well as forcing the painter to think and paint in terms of SHAPES [as an artist should], rather than THINGS.

Just look at the simple, easy-to-paint SHAPES that exist in the first reference photo. And, the beauty of it is that once you have placed paint on the canvas to match that reference photo, everything will be in the proper place! That is of major importance to the success of the final painting.

It works well for me.:thumbsup:

mariposa-art
10-22-2013, 02:12 AM
Don't push yourself too hard, and focus on drawing.

My favorite book for drawing is "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Right-Side-Brain-Definitive/dp/1585429201/

On her web site, she shows before and after drawings of her students, which illustrates how much progress one can make in a relatively short amount of time. But, would someone who follows her book be a really good portrait artist in a short amount of time? I don't think so. They would learn the basics of drawing and be able to draw something "reasonable"-looking. True mastery would take more time. But still, her book is very encouraging and gives you a jump start on your drawing skills. I highly recommend it if you haven't already read it! :)

In art class I saw students who had a natural aptitude for drawing architecture and machinery but had trouble with portraits and figures. One guy, whose skill was profound and who I know was a hard working, dedicated student—he could draw portraits and they were "pretty good," but I could tell his real heart and soul was in machines and so forth. Other students loved drawing animals and figures more, so they looked better.

Some of what helps you get better faster is how much you love doing it. The guy I knew who loved drawing machines was good at that because he loved it. He probably could have become really good (instead of "pretty good") at portraits if he spent more time and discovered his passion and love for them.

You'll also hear artists say that they "can't" do portraits (but they can do landscapes and animals and so forth) and I believe that can be explained by a lack of drawing skills. As others here have said, we don't notice if something is a little (or even a lot) off in a painting of a tree, or even an animal (unless we are lovers of that particular animal, like if we're a "horse person" or something). But not so with humans, we notice if even little things are a tiny bit off. So poor drawing skills, which might not be noticed when painting and drawing other subjects, will be exposed. Rather than address these poor drawing skills (or deal with the hassle) that they notice when they try to do portraits, some artists give up and declare that they "can't" do portraits. As if it's some gift with which they were not endowed, and there's nothing they can do about it. But if they practiced drawing more, who knows? They might indeed be a fine portrait artist one day.

So it takes time and patience and good drawing skills! Keep working at it! Love art in all its forms and be forgiving with yourself if you notice problems with portraits (while your landscapes and other subjects look "better"). That's the nature of the beast, so to speak.

mack86
10-22-2013, 03:10 AM
Well, you definitely have good taste. So you've got something

rednova
10-22-2013, 02:56 PM
Dear Friend:

I will share with you one of my favorite links.
This is a complete online series of lessons, from beginner
to advanced on how to draw -and yes, it includes portraits-
is very good and it is FREE !!!
www.drawspace.com (http://www.drawspace.com)
check on 'lessons' and 'free lessons'.
Is a very good class and it will help you learn how to draw
better.
Enjoy !!!

ianuk
10-22-2013, 07:23 PM
I prefer W H Martins method for portraits. It's all about shapes and values, get those right and you've got yourself a portrait. In my humble opinion you can draw as well as you want but if the painting is off, you might as well have left the pencil in it's case.

For example, give ten artists a perfectly drawn portrait and ask them to fill the lines with paint, then look at the results. You may just be lucky and get one or two good portraits. :)

WFMartin
10-22-2013, 10:26 PM
I prefer W H Martins method for portraits. It's all about shapes and values, get those right and you've got yourself a portrait. In my humble opinion you can draw as well as you want but if the painting is off, you might as well have left the pencil in it's case.

For example, give ten artists a perfectly drawn portrait and ask them to fill the lines with paint, then look at the results. You may just be lucky and get one or two good portraits. :)

I rather second that idea. One advantage to the Progressive Focus Method is that you are beginning with a greatly blurred subject on your canvas. Since soft edges are nearly always important, and desirable to a successful portrait, when you begin with an underpainting consisting of nothing but soft edges, you can then sharpen specific edges as you paint, and leave some of the edges soft.

That is a major advantage to this method. Beginning with a really accurate drawing does not have such an advantage. In fact, a very accurate drawing can possibly be just a bit counter-productive to the creation of a realistic oil painting for which an accurate likeness is the goal.

I actually draw a lot of subjects accurately, in preparation for an oil painting, but to be very honest, portraits aren't one of them. For me that approach has just never worked.

mariposa-art
10-22-2013, 10:59 PM
Hmmm . . . I think WF Martin's method sounds like it has merit, but I can't see how drawing skills are in any way a bad idea or would not be helpful in painting portraits. Not that anyone has actually suggested that, but you can't separate drawing from painting completely.

Painting and drawing aren't the same thing—I see people who can draw well, but can't paint (yet). But I've not yet seen a person who can't draw manage to "paint" a portrait that is recognizable as the subject with accurate proportions, and understanding of structure and anatomy. Yes, there are people who will trace photos onto a canvas (not that WF Martin does this) but there's a limit to how far they can go with that, with no underlying drawing knowledge. At some point their lack of drawing skills will fail them, in drawing or painting.

I "paint" with my brushes, I don't do a detailed pencil sketch underneath, I just draw and fill in the shapes and colors as I move along. Other artists (with excellent drawing skills) will do the detailed charcoal or pencil sketch and then paint on top. There are quite a few ways to approach portrait painting.

ianuk
10-23-2013, 05:20 AM
Of course drawing skills are important to any artist, for whatever they paint. Whether they are as essential as correct shapes, skin tones and likeness is up to debate. I don't trace either, but on the other hand, Some professional portrait artists trace their drawing onto the canvas, whatever it takes I guess.
Personally, I am not deluded enough to think of myself as a portrait artist (I am not implying anyone here is). I really don't see the point of painting a portrait unless someone has commissioned it. Of course if someone just wants to play around and paint portraits for fun or the never ending learning process, that's their choice.

brianvds
10-23-2013, 10:36 AM
Hmmm . . . I think WF Martin's method sounds like it has merit, but I can't see how drawing skills are in any way a bad idea or would not be helpful in painting portraits. Not that anyone has actually suggested that, but you can't separate drawing from painting completely.

Yup, and then there are those of us who very much want to learn to draw properly, and it doesn't seem to me one can use the progressive focus method for that.

But I have also more or less given up on all the "methods." None of them have ever done me any good.

Deshy
10-23-2013, 01:23 PM
This is all very good information. I'm trying to digest all of it post by post. :) Thanks a lot for taking the time! You have definitely helped me.

mariposa-art
10-23-2013, 02:55 PM
Of course drawing skills are important to any artist, for whatever they paint. Whether they are as essential as correct shapes, skin tones and likeness is up to debate.
Likeness and "correct shapes" are part of drawing well. Color, of course, could not be.

I don't trace either, but on the other hand, Some professional portrait artists trace their drawing onto the canvas, whatever it takes I guess.
Norman Rockwell, an excellent draftsman, traced photos onto his canvas, but he already could draw really well. Other artists, not so much, and sooner or later (it is my belief) their lack of skill will get them into trouble.

I really don't see the point of painting a portrait unless someone has commissioned it. Of course if someone just wants to play around and paint portraits for fun or the never ending learning process, that's their choice.LOL, a lot of artists paint portraits and figures for the love of it, or the artistry of it. There's nothing unusual about that and certainly there's a "point" to it. :)

mariposa-art
10-23-2013, 02:59 PM
But I have also more or less given up on all the "methods." None of them have ever done me any good.
I think you're too hard on yourself.

An interesting thing I discovered recently. . . I have drawn from life for a long time, but more figures than portraits. Suddenly I realized, after all this time, that my portraits from life are "better" (less problems that need correcting)! I had always thought that working from photos was "easier," and to some extent it is, but whenever I draw or paint portraits from photos, there's always a lot of things to correct (crooked here, too long there). Not that my portraits from life are flawless, but there are fewer weird things to correct. Another portrait artist I take classes with says the same thing. Working from photos is much harder for him.

(I thought I'd pass that along, since you had mentioned earlier that you seem to draw from life better than you do from photos. :) )

NRC
10-23-2013, 04:36 PM
Given a perfect photograph with no distortion, tracing that, transferring to canvas and a strong ability to copy the odds are that for many artists the likeness will still be off. One needs it all; the ability to draw, knowledge of anatomy, technical skill with painting etc. ....... LOL so I paint easier stuff for now and keep learning. It's not that I haven't tried portraits or won't keep trying; at some point in future skills and knowledge will combine to offer the capabilities needed. It's good to practice and have patience with one's self along the journey.

cjorgensen
10-23-2013, 06:35 PM
John Sanden has a pretty good book.

I want to paint portraits too, but I started with landscapes to get the hang of painting. I found out that I really like landscapes a lot, and as another portrait painter once told me: people don't tend to buy portraits of people they don't know, so painting trees on spec has a better chance of selling. I have not sold much yet of anything.

Here is John Sanden's book.

http://www.amazon.com/Portraits-Life-Steps-John-Sanden/dp/1581805829/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382567636&sr=8-1&keywords=john+sanden

Victor
10-23-2013, 07:21 PM
In a video, Artist Helen Van Wyke said that she studied under a famous portrait painter who made her do a year painting still life because he said that if you cant faithfully paint the skin of an apple or a tomato, you would not be able to paint good skin texture.
I have been painting still life subjects successfully now for the past 20 years and would love to be able to paint a portrait but I just cant do it, no matter how much I try. I've got the will, and I've got the skill but portraiture is just beyond me so my guess is that its something special that only a few artists can master

victor....

Roxena
10-23-2013, 07:22 PM
Hello, all of the above artists gave you very good advice. All I can say to add to that is that when I was studying art at university, our drawing professor made us draw an egg for the first week. It is amazing that one can draw an egg in so many ways! Also, Life Drawing classes can help you, if you can find any near your area. Some of us started our own class, hiring models and critiqueing each other. The human form and portraiture are some of the most difficult to master. Do not give up. And practice! Good luck!

brianvds
10-23-2013, 10:57 PM
I think you're too hard on yourself.

I don't know if I'm being hard on myself. I really have tried all manner of methods and couldn't get any of them to work for me, though I suppose I inevitably learned in the process, if only what not to do! :-)

An interesting thing I discovered recently. . . I have drawn from life for a long time, but more figures than portraits. Suddenly I realized, after all this time, that my portraits from life are "better" (less problems that need correcting)! I had always thought that working from photos was "easier," and to some extent it is, but whenever I draw or paint portraits from photos, there's always a lot of things to correct (crooked here, too long there). Not that my portraits from life are flawless, but there are fewer weird things to correct. Another portrait artist I take classes with says the same thing. Working from photos is much harder for him.

(I thought I'd pass that along, since you had mentioned earlier that you seem to draw from life better than you do from photos. :) )

Well, it's good to hear that I am not the only one with that problem. :-)

I am currently making a point of trying to teach myself to draw from photos. reference photos really are very handy, endlessly patient, and give me access to subjects that would otherwise be difficult - I don't have access to models who can pose for figures or portraits, for example, and plein air landscape painting around here can be dangerous because of our high levels of crime.

I think I have already learned something: in working from a reference photo, patience is fundamentally important. It sounds like a trivial point, but it's amazing what kinds of things one has to discover for oneself when one does not have access to a teacher. :-)

ianuk
10-24-2013, 10:32 AM
Likeness and "correct shapes" are part of drawing well. Color, of course, could not be.
Colour is where most come unstuck with protraits, plus correct tones.


Norman Rockwell, an excellent draftsman, traced photos onto his canvas, but he already could draw really well. Other artists, not so much, and sooner or later (it is my belief) their lack of skill will get them into trouble. So will their lack of sense of colour after the drawing is perfect.

LOL, a lot of artists paint portraits and figures for the love of it, or the artistry of it. There's nothing unusual about that and certainly there's a "point" to it. :) Don't you mean a lot of leisure artists?
Of course, for practice if one wants to do portrait commissions or to paint the portrait of a relative or loved one. Other than that, what's the point?

Artyczar
10-24-2013, 08:25 PM
Colour is where most come unstuck with protraits, plus correct tones.

But no, no... This is where drawing is needed first, or at least will make color SO much easier - whether you are doing portraits or not, but especially in portraiture. You get the tone down in drawing. Wow, once you do that, your selection of color can be anything you want! You could essentially paint a crazy colored portrait in as much detail as you want, without a drop of flesh color because you learned tone, light, dark, shadow, perspective back when learning to draw. Now you can play with color better than you could had you not had that under your belt.


...for practice if one wants to do portrait commissions or to paint the portrait of a relative or loved one. Other than that, what's the point?

It seems to me that Mariposa answered you but you totally ignored her answer. I mean, what is the point of ART?

The point of portraiture has been probably THE most pointiest point and purpose of artists having any reason to live or having one iota of respect in the community from the beginning of time. There were no cameras. There were NO WAYS to see yourself , but in a mirror. Only an artist, a good artist could capture your essence in some small way. You, you and yours, or your family. The wealthy hired the greatest artists in the world to paint their portraits and these jobs kept those artists alive, the famous and the not so famous.

I can go on a big rant here, but what is the purpose of portraiture? Jeez. Some artists LOVE painting people. Some like the nudies, and some like the face.

I actually am a collector of art, and the photography, most of it anyway, are close ups of faces. Most people call it documentary photography, but to me it's fine art. I have a few painted portraits too. Not many though. Like Mariposa said, "Love of art." Both sides! The artists and the collector. Faces are amazing. :)

mariposa-art
10-24-2013, 09:11 PM
Of course, for practice if one wants to do portrait commissions or to paint the portrait of a relative or loved one. Other than that, what's the point?
What's the point of painting anything? ;)

I've sold paintings of random people (not someone known to the buyer). For whatever reason, the buyer wanted the painting. I guess I'll keep painting portraits. One of my favorite artists (http://larriva.blogspot.com/) does it too. Sells portraits of "somebody" and he always has buyers! Ask him what the point is? :lol:

Coming back to add: ArtyCzar answered you very well too. Love of art and painting. Both for collectors and artists. If someone asks what the "point" is to painting portraits, I'm going to ask them what the "point" is to listening to music. :lol:

brianvds
10-24-2013, 10:32 PM
One of my favorite artists (http://larriva.blogspot.com/) does it too. Sells portraits of "somebody" and he always has buyers! Ask him what the point is? :lol:

Very nice work. Interesting to see an artist who apparently specializes in non-commissioned portraits of random people!

Seems like some of them are partly from imagination; it is not clear to me where he gets all his reference material. There might be legal issues if you make recognizable portraits of random strangers for sale?

mariposa-art
10-24-2013, 10:47 PM
Very nice work. Interesting to see an artist who apparently specializes in non-commissioned portraits of random people!
He does other artworks too, but these small, affordable studies of faces seem to be popular for him!

Seems like some of them are partly from imagination; it is not clear to me where he gets all his reference material. There might be legal issues if you make recognizable portraits of random strangers for sale?
He uses stock photography from DeviantArt (used with permission). He also sometimes does imagination artwork as well as old public domain photos. He's been a great inspiration to me, and I've found some great stock photos on DeviantArt as well. :) The stock photographers are usually very pleased to see their photos used by artists, as long as proper respect and credit are given.

opainter
10-24-2013, 11:12 PM
He uses stock photography from DeviantArt (used with permission). . . . He's been a great inspiration to me, and I've found some great stock photos on DeviantArt as well. :) The stock photographers are usually very pleased to see their photos used by artists, as long as proper respect and credit are given.

That's a good tip. :thumbsup: Thanks!

ianuk
10-25-2013, 08:01 AM
The original poster showed a portrait that he wished to aspire to. I think my idea of a portrait artist is simply different from how others here think of a portrait artist.

I was writing artists in mind that paint portraits to a better standard than the basic. and that my own methods wouldn't be so dependent on drawing. Some that like drawing here cannot seem to except that, strange! :)

brianvds
10-25-2013, 11:39 AM
He uses stock photography from DeviantArt (used with permission). He also sometimes does imagination artwork as well as old public domain photos. He's been a great inspiration to me, and I've found some great stock photos on DeviantArt as well. :) The stock photographers are usually very pleased to see their photos used by artists, as long as proper respect and credit are given.

DeviantArt is indeed a very nice resource. Not just for reference photos either; there are some amazing artists active there, that serve to both inspire and make one fall into despair. :-)

mariposa-art
10-25-2013, 11:43 AM
The original poster showed a portrait that he wished to aspire to. I think my idea of a portrait artist is simply different from how others here think of a portrait artist.

I was writing artists in mind that paint portraits to a better standard than the basic. and that my own methods wouldn't be so dependent on drawing. Some that like drawing here cannot seem to except that, strange! :)
Portraits with a "better standard" still require good drawing skills. Whether the portrait be average, above average, or master class, drawing will still be fundamental for good likenesses and good portraits.

I don't get it. . . it seems like some artists don't want to acknowledge that drawing is fundamental?

Lately I've been doing a lot more drawing from life, and it strikes me how hard it can be, and how much I miss it when I don't do it enough. For the life of me I can't understand why anyone would want to downplay its importance. Though there are artists I know who don't enjoy drawing a lot (for practice or improvement) and I've found that they're more apt to act like it's a burden. :eek:

mariposa-art
10-25-2013, 11:49 AM
DeviantArt is indeed a very nice resource. Not just for reference photos either; there are some amazing artists active there, that serve to both inspire and make one fall into despair. :-)
NEVER fall into despair! All of us, if we looked around us for any small amount of time, COULD come to the conclusion that we are hopeless and can never raise ourselves to the level of some of the artists out there.

But there are others who are still trying, and maybe at this point might not be at the same skill level as we are. They are trying, why not us? They are trying, and because of that, may raise themselves to levels that we couldn't imagine!

Recently an artist I know of has been posting daily paintings. I admit that I've not been all that impressed with a lot of this artists' work, but wow, something must have busted loose during their daily painting sessions, because all of a sudden a lot of their works are looking really good!

You never know what might happen! So that is why I don't give up. "Still trying" should be everyone's mantra! :thumbsup:

brianvds
10-25-2013, 12:01 PM
Mariposa: You are quite right, and nowadays I mostly manage to avoid the despair bit. Despite the fact that I'll never in a million years be able to draw as well as you do. :-)

mariposa-art
10-25-2013, 12:11 PM
Mariposa: You are quite right, and nowadays I mostly manage to avoid the despair bit. Despite the fact that I'll never in a million years be able to draw as well as you do. :-)
You are so kind to me! :heart: But you flatter me too much. I think your drawing is coming along very nicely.

This is the way I see it: I have the highest respect for people who are trying. I have attended many drawing classes (from life, figures, that type) and there are always a few students who are at the "beginning" stage. (Which I hasten to add, you are not.) But anyway, regardless of their skill at the time they are taking the class, they are there, their butts planted in a seat, WORKING AT IT. They WILL get better. They always do.

Sometimes these more beginning students act down on themselves because they are new at it and their skills aren't very high yet. But I assure them that they will be fine, and always praise them for being there. Showing up is 90% of success, right? :D :thumbsup:

There's a lady I know, who is one of the most dedicated artists I know. She attends figure drawing sessions at least once a week, I think twice a week (I can't manage that and never have!). I've only known her for a couple of years, and the improvement in her skills is really noticeable. She hasn't had a ton of formal education, I don't think. She just loves to draw and she keeps doing it. She doesn't consider herself some grand talent (in truth none of us are in these classes) but she loves it so much. How can that love not bear fruit? That's how I see it, anyway! :)

brianvds
10-25-2013, 12:29 PM
You are so kind to me! :heart: But you flatter me too much. I think your drawing is coming along very nicely.

Thanks. I actually think so too, when I compare what I do now with how it used to be.

But I sometimes get frustrated not so much by hugely accomplished artists, but when I see series of drawings of people who started out at a lower level than the one on which I started out, and then go on to make more progress in six months than I could manage in over twenty years!

Then again, I simply do not have all that much time, and thus have not been able to put in as much practice as I would have liked.

I remain frustrated and perplexed by my continuing inability to get shapes and proportions right. I have improved much, but getting it right eludes me - somehow I never notice even glaring errors until the drawings is virtually done.

Makes no difference; I have been hooked for ages, progress or no progress, frustration or not. I guess one can choose worse drugs to get addicted to. :-)

olive oyl
10-25-2013, 01:24 PM
Brian, why not just give up trying to get proportions and shapes right, especially if it makes you frustrated? Maybe, deep at heart, you’re an abstract artist - or something - and you're not letting your “freak flag fly” (toward its more natural direction.)

Yes, yes, yes, yes, drawing is “important,” especially if you want to do art that looks like the portrait Deshy posted. But what if you don’t want to paint like that? What happens if you like to distort and flatten and create more abstraction in your painting? Wouldn’t drawing then maybe be less important to you? I think I can draw okay and could always be better I’m sure, but once I discovered oil paint, I never went back to pencil and charcoal again. It all felt too “pointy” and dry and picky-exact and to me, lifeless. In fact, I think if I tried to draw right now, it would seem like I was holding some alien unyielding creature in my hands. I like my oils…raw…with no sketches or studies beforehand. Despite the fact there have been a few times when I used charcoal to get some proportion marks in place first, I still just “draw” with paint on the canvas directly. And how is anybody here going to tell me that this method is “wrong?”

I would say: understand your weaknesses, and don’t beat yourself up over them. Also know your strengths and work with them as best you can. Lame advice, I know, but IMO human expression is too varied to boil it down into universal “shoulds.” (And this is why I don’t give advice often and would make the world’s worst teacher. I’d have a class full of spitball throwing, wild haired maniac kids. All free, but dumb).

Folio
10-25-2013, 02:15 PM
I remain frustrated and perplexed by my continuing inability to get shapes and proportions right.

That's a too-familiar feeling. I've wondered if constructing the head might be a better approach as in the Loomis book. I'm trying it anyway and there's more of a sense of getting there as long as I do tons and tons of practice.

JohnEmmett
10-25-2013, 02:48 PM
I remain frustrated and perplexed by my continuing inability to get shapes and proportions right. I have improved much, but getting it right eludes me - somehow I never notice even glaring errors until the drawings is virtually done.

Why not paint over a picture in Photoshop? (Adapting to available tools.)

mariposa-art
10-25-2013, 02:57 PM
Thanks. I actually think so too, when I compare what I do now with how it used to be.
There you go! :thumbsup:

But I sometimes get frustrated not so much by hugely accomplished artists, but when I see series of drawings of people who started out at a lower level than the one on which I started out, and then go on to make more progress in six months than I could manage in over twenty years!
I've had that too, in other things. There are other artists who are such quick studies and it seems so effortless for them! :crying: But all I can do is keep trying. In the end only I can do what I have a "vision" to do.

In some cases, the strengths you have in other areas can compensate for the things that come harder to you. (And olive oyl brings that up too! :thumbsup: )

Then again, I simply do not have all that much time, and thus have not been able to put in as much practice as I would have liked.
Ah, there you go! So that should tell you not to be so hard on yourself. It just takes time. Yes, I know how that is too. There are some amazing 17-year-old artists, far better than I was at that age (and sometimes far better than I am now!). I see them how and recall that when I was that age, I didn't have a lack of drive or love for art, but I didn't have access to the Internet, the many online tutorials and resources that we have today, and so many other ways to help get information. When I was 17 there was precious little. And no digital art, either! (Which can speed progress along with some artists.) And I've had times where other responsibilities got in the way of practicing drawing and painting as much as I'd like.

I remain frustrated and perplexed by my continuing inability to get shapes and proportions right. I have improved much, but getting it right eludes me - somehow I never notice even glaring errors until the drawings is virtually done.
I think you're too hard on yourself. I still get a lot of things wrong, and don't notice it until the next day, often. I use a mirror image (either mirror or flop the artwork on the computer) to help me with this. Sometimes it takes days before I fully realize how wrong the proportions are. It does get better with time, though.

Makes no difference; I have been hooked for ages, progress or no progress, frustration or not. I guess one can choose worse drugs to get addicted to. :-)
Your love and "addiction" will get you far in the end. Better to be that way, than someone for which it came very easy. Sometimes they don't appreciate it as much. I certainly have had my struggles with drawing, and while I might have an aptitude for it to some extent, there are many, many sketchbooks full of bad drawings which show that it wasn't something that happened overnight!

Brian, why not just give up trying to get proportions and shapes right, especially if it makes you frustrated? Maybe, deep at heart, you’re an abstract artist - or something - and you're not letting your “freak flag fly” (toward its more natural direction.)
I can't speak for Brian, but . . . I was told (or was momentarily tempted) to give up on several things in my life, but deep down I knew I very much wanted to do those things. I've had far less trouble giving up things that I never wanted that badly in the first place, or weren't already in my heart. It sounds like Brian really does love what he's doing, that's why he keeps on trying and trying. :)

(BTW, one of the things I was tempted to give up on? Figure drawing! :lol: I was very bad at it at first. I'm glad I didn't give up.)

I discovered oil paint, I never went back to pencil and charcoal again.
You "draw" with your brush. A lot of artists don't use charcoal or pencil as a drawing underneath a painting. I haven't for absolutely ages (I just start painting), yet I still call what I do "drawing." "Drawing," in my definition, can also mean creating shapes and proportions with some sort of tool or stylus. Just because someone is doing a painting, it doesn't mean that they shouldn't have a fundamental drawing skill (if they want to create convincing representation of something, that is). I also consider making marks with a computer (with a digital stylus and tablet) to be "drawing" as well. :)

Artyczar
10-25-2013, 02:57 PM
Some that like drawing here cannot seem to except that, strange! :)

I kind of hate drawing, but what I was saying about drawing before painting just happens to be true. I have a hard time drawing. It's certainly not easy. Painting is easier for me. If I was better at drawing, I'd be better at painting, and I know that, so every once and a while I go back to the drawing board - hardy har har - and try to brush up - oh hardy hardy har-har-har -on my drawing skills. It makes a difference.

...oh no more hardy hars. :(

stlukesguild
10-25-2013, 06:20 PM
Brian, why not just give up trying to get proportions and shapes right, especially if it makes you frustrated? Maybe, deep at heart, you’re an abstract artist - or something -

I'm going to agree with Olive here, Brian. On more than one occasion you have suggested that the artists you most admire tend to be those who are more "stylized"... "abstract"... stylized in their approach to painting/drawing. After a good number of years of intense life-drawing courses in art school I was able quite well in a "realistic" manner... but with time I found myself more drawn to those artists who employed a good deal of "expressive" distortions or abstraction:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-2.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-Botticelli-Sandro_Primavera_1482.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-57352470.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-bb2.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-Clytie-deMorgan-L_1.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-BeFunky_839472d1323288893860.medium.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-gauguin11.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-artwork-movie-poster-9999-1020710583.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-BeFunky_GustavKlimt-Hope-1903.jpg.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-mucha-1898ax.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-Munch_Ashes.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-gogh.roulin.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-modigliani72.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-tumblr_mc2dlzaXsw1qc19vuo1_500.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-matgreye.jpg

stlukesguild
10-25-2013, 06:21 PM
Whether Matisse or Modigliani or William Blake could draw in an academically "correct" manner is irrelevant. It's about as relevant as whether B.B. King or Muddy Waters could play a Bach Suite on guitar. Degas... who most certainly could draw in an academically "correct" manner famously stated that one should not confuse drawing well with rendering or delineating. These are masterful drawings:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-Christ-Preaching-drawing.small.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-rembrandt-drawing-2.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-Mu_Qi_6_Persimmons.s.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-1beachpines_469x546.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-4_Sages_of_Mt_Shang1.med.jpg

I would say understand your weaknesses...

I would say "Understand your limitations" or perhaps "Understand your abilities". One of my favorite Modern artists, Joseph Cornell, couldn't draw, paint, or even construct things incredibly well by the standards of skilled craftsmen...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-32_4_lg.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-Cornell-1_Lg.jpg

... but he found a visual vocabulary that worked for him and produced what I would argue are some of the most poetic works of Modern Art.

Celticme
10-25-2013, 06:34 PM
I think if you have been painting for just one year, attempting something like this would be a huge challenge for anyone. Here's my advice. What you want to paint needs certain tools and certain preparation. To begin with crop that image to just the face and work on that alone as a study. Draw the image repeatedly until you get it right. Transfer using a grid on a brown ground (pure white will be an obstacle to you) Now here is something you might not know about achieving subtle tones. If you are using Titanium white alone then you cannot paint this picture I am convinced of that. You need to mix plenty of Zinc into the white because it will help you control the values and allow you to create a broader range of values.

On your brown ground do what Rembrandt did. He used black and white on the brown ground to create a kind of sepia drawing which by itself is a good piece of art in itself. Then you can add the yellow tones. Dont overwork them. Leave to dry and then glaze with your yellow tones mixed with zinc (zinc is quite transparent so you will not hide what is underneath) Use an alkyd medium thinned with plenty of turps for the lower layers and more for the top layers. Take a look at some of Rembrandt's underpainting work.

________________________________________-

www.stevenbuddfineart.co.uk

stlukesguild
10-25-2013, 06:38 PM
I remain frustrated and perplexed by my continuing inability to get shapes and proportions right. I have improved much, but getting it right eludes me...

I found that after years of life drawing I could usually get this right (although I still make horrible distorted drawings more often than I would like to admit) when working on a small scale. When I move to the scale of my paintings... 7-feet plus tall... I find that I am dealing with a shift in the point of view from looking down at the bottom of the work to looking up at the top... which has led to some real problems. As a result, I have begun to employ mathematical grids or proportional guides as an aid in the work.

Unlike others here, I employ an under-drawing... rather gestural... but firmly establishing the contours:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-IMG_2238.small.edit.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/39499-Flora_and_Fauna.sm.jpg
-Flora and Fauna

But then I became seduced by pastels and the manner in which pastel allows me to combine drawing with painting... linear mark-making with color.

ianuk
10-25-2013, 07:30 PM
Here's a quick study, three hours or so, time is irrelevant of course. No drawing (I don't count drawing with paint as drawing) it's painting. This is the method I prefer, it gives me more leeway as to where I want to take it. It may not be the best. However, I do not consider myself anywhere near to being an artist, certainly not a portrait artist.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/70343-2-2.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/70343-4-2.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/70343-4-1.jpg

mariposa-art
10-25-2013, 07:52 PM
I kind of hate drawing, but what I was saying about drawing before painting just happens to be true. I have a hard time drawing. It's certainly not easy. Painting is easier for me. If I was better at drawing, I'd be better at painting, and I know that, so every once and a while I go back to the drawing board - hardy har har - and try to brush up - oh hardy hardy har-har-har -on my drawing skills. It makes a difference.

...oh no more hardy hars. :(
:lol:

You're right, the more you "brush up" on it, the better you get.

I think it's clear from the context of Brian's posts that he's talking about "drawing" as in using a tool (brush, pencil, charcoal, Wacom tablet stylus, does it matter?) to capture proportions, shapes, lines and contours in an accurate way, or rather, in a way that he has control over, to get the look that he wants. He's not doing that to his satisfaction yet, but he has seen improvement. I think he's in a state that many of us are in, as very few of us think we're so awesome that we can get no better. I also think he's harder on himself than he should be. He's steadfastly working and improving, and that should be considered to be time well spent and success, I believe. :thumbsup:

In a life drawing class I attend, some of the students regularly "draw" with a paintbrush, either in oils or acrylics, and then paint over or wipe off what they do for the next pose. I'm pretty sure what they're attempting to do is to get the gesture of the pose, proportion, line, to further understand the structure of the figure and the anatomy. They use their paintbrushes, the rest of us in class use our charcoal or pencils, but we're both after the same thing. Working on improving skills. Is that what Brian is talking about, when he talks about "drawing"? I believe so.

The people who like this process, or at least recognize its importance and strive to improve, will be the better for it. Even if they end up stylizing their work (which I think is often pretty awesome) the drawing practice they've had will make them more comfortable with that stylization. I think the key here is "comfortable," and the more you like doing something—or at least the more you do it—the more comfortable you are with it, and that has to be a good thing.

opainter
10-25-2013, 09:04 PM
I would simplify it further, and say that drawing pertains to borders, and that painting pertains to areas. Both drawing and painting are independent of medium used, because an artist can draw with a brush or paint with a pencil.

mariposa-art
10-25-2013, 09:17 PM
I would simplify it further, and say that drawing pertains to borders, and that painting pertains to areas. Both drawing and painting are independent of medium used, because an artist can draw with a brush or paint with a pencil.
You're right, I often "paint" with a pencil. :thumbsup:

jaka44
10-25-2013, 09:45 PM
yes

brianvds
10-25-2013, 10:11 PM
Brian, why not just give up trying to get proportions and shapes right, especially if it makes you frustrated?

Because I WANT to get them right. :-)

Well, call me an ARC clone, but your philosophy above would never be tolerated in any other art or craft. Why not just give up trying to play the right notes when practicing an instrument, especially if trying to hit the right ones frustrates you? Why not just give up trying to find the right word when writing poetry? Give up on sonnets and write "modern" poetry, where it doesn't matter if the poem rhymes or not.

There is a perfectly legitimate place for "noisy" music and poetry that doesn't rhyme. But it can also be very dangerously seductive to give up on craft. There are few things humans excel at quite as magnificently as fooling themselves. :-)

Both of the following portraits contains distortions and inaccuracies. In this one, the artists didn't get it right:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/142294-1-princess-diana-celeste-fonseca.jpg

This artist did get it right:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Oct-2013/142294-lady_diana_652255.jpg

See what I mean? If I go for "expressive" art because of an inability to do realistic work, I am fooling myself, I think.

brianvds
10-25-2013, 10:14 PM
Why not paint over a picture in Photoshop? (Adapting to available tools.)

Not sure what you mean by this.

brianvds
10-25-2013, 10:26 PM
I think you're too hard on yourself. I still get a lot of things wrong, and don't notice it until the next day, often. I use a mirror image (either mirror or flop the artwork on the computer) to help me with this. Sometimes it takes days before I fully realize how wrong the proportions are. It does get better with time, though.

Yes, nowadays, while I still do plenty of quick sketches, when I do something that I want to get right, I make a point of spreading it out over days or even weeks. I do the initial line drawing and then leave it for a day or two, and when I then come back to it, I find that at least the worst of the errors jump out at me. Seems to me patience is key, and one reason I never made much progress was because I fell into the habit of making gazillions of quick drawings but almost never trying to do a "finished" one.

Your love and "addiction" will get you far in the end. Better to be that way, than someone for which it came very easy. Sometimes they don't appreciate it as much.

I have noticed this. I have several friends who can, with seemingly no effort at all, make the most amazing photorealistic drawings. All of them could have become professional artists. All of them have not drawn anything in years. I shake my head in astonishment, but perhaps that is what happens when something comes too easily. :-)

I can't speak for Brian, but . . . I was told (or was momentarily tempted) to give up on several things in my life, but deep down I knew I very much wanted to do those things. I've had far less trouble giving up things that I never wanted that badly in the first place, or weren't already in my heart. It sounds like Brian really does love what he's doing, that's why he keeps on trying and trying. :)

Yup. As StLukesGuild points out, it is true that some of my favourite art is stylized and sometimes quite distorted (see, for example, my avatar image!). The thing is, expressive distortions and stylizations that happen by accident are not stylizations. They're mistakes.

My aesthetic philosophy seems to be that painting is for fun, but drawing is serious. When I draw, I want to get it "right." Whatever exactly that means - I can't easily say it in words, but I know it when I see it.

(BTW, one of the things I was tempted to give up on? Figure drawing! :lol: I was very bad at it at first. I'm glad I didn't give up.)

I am not sure whether I am particularly interested in portraiture and figure drawing, but there is nothing else that both tests and develops one's eye quite as much, so I often try my hand at it.

brianvds
10-25-2013, 10:30 PM
I'm going to agree with Olive here, Brian. On more than one occasion you have suggested that the artists you most admire tend to be those who are more "stylized"... "abstract"... stylized in their approach to painting/drawing.

True, but with the possible exception of Van Gogh, I don't think they stylized because of an inability to draw decent realistic work.

mariposa-art
10-25-2013, 11:11 PM
Seems to me patience is key, and one reason I never made much progress was because I fell into the habit of making gazillions of quick drawings but almost never trying to do a "finished" one.

You sound pretty normal, honestly. I look at your drawings and I don't think you are doing poorly at all. Just keep working at it and be patient with yourself. You love it, and because of that love, I really do believe you'll make it. I love it too! Sometimes other people mistake "love" for "talent," but I don't think I have that much talent. (I do have stubbornness, though! :lol: ) I look at those artists on DeviantArt and I think I have very little talent! :lol: But I do love it and think that's what will carry me through.

I have noticed this. I have several friends who can, with seemingly no effort at all, make the most amazing photorealistic drawings. All of them could have become professional artists. All of them have not drawn anything in years. I shake my head in astonishment, but perhaps that is what happens when something comes too easily. :-)
Yes, that and they don't love it enough. I know of someone who I think had a great aptitude for drawing; she took a semester or two in college, I gave her some advice and help, she did wonderfully (I think) but she scrapped it. Music was her love. Art was not. She also was too impatient with herself and I think felt she had no "talent" because after a semester or two, she wasn't as "advanced" as I was! (!!!) Well, no .... Sherlock! I have been drawing for years and years and have the crummy sketchbooks to prove it! :lol:

Yup. As StLukesGuild points out, it is true that some of my favourite art is stylized and sometimes quite distorted (see, for example, my avatar image!). The thing is, expressive distortions and stylizations that happen by accident are not stylizations. They're mistakes.
That's it! The caricature you show above (of Princess Diana) shows incredible drawing prowess. That person had to draw well before they could do that.

My aesthetic philosophy seems to be that painting is for fun, but drawing is serious. When I draw, I want to get it "right." Whatever exactly that means - I can't easily say it in words, but I know it when I see it.
Well, I'm not sure I agree with you there, because painting can be very hard too. But I consider drawing the underpinning of painting, so it's serious for that reason.

I am not sure whether I am particularly interested in portraiture and figure drawing, but there is nothing else that both tests and develops one's eye quite as much, so I often try my hand at it.
It is often said that it is the "hardest" thing to draw, and that's because we notice the flaws more. But I find that other subjects can be hard too. I have done some still lifes recently and they were much harder than I thought they'd be. The colors, the perspective . . . it can be hard too. But agreed, portraits and figures are less forgiving when it comes to mistakes in proportions.

stlukesguild
10-26-2013, 09:35 AM
Well, call me an ARC clone, but your philosophy above would never be tolerated in any other art or craft.

But that's not necessarily true. As I suggested, I doubt many of the finest singers or instrumentalists within the realm of jazz or blues or rock or bluegrass could sing of play even passably by the standards of classical music... but then not many classical singers/musicians have been able to perform well within the realm of jazz etc... in spite of their masterful skill level.

Why not just give up trying to play the right notes when practicing an instrument, especially if trying to hit the right ones frustrates you?

But what are the "right notes"? Is the ability to render the illusion of anatomically correct form the sole measure of being able to hit the right notes in art? I question that.

Why not just give up trying to find the right word when writing poetry? Give up on sonnets and write "modern" poetry, where it doesn't matter if the poem rhymes or not.

I'm not suggesting anyone take the easy way out, but I am suggesting that there is no single standard or body of skills that are necessary for any art of merit. I doubt there are many living poets who could compose sonnets of real merit according to the traditional rules... but that doesn't always mean that the language that they do employ is easier.

There is a perfectly legitimate place for "noisy" music and poetry that doesn't rhyme. But it can also be very dangerously seductive to give up on craft. There are few things humans excel at quite as magnificently as fooling themselves. :-)

Again... I'm not suggesting you give up on craft. What I am suggesting is that within the realm of art there is not a single body of skills that are necessary or relevant to all.

I wouldn't suggest that this artist was lacking skills:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/39499-2606188895_26fb3f0b25.jpg

or this one...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/39499-crucifixion_giotto.jpg

... but clearly neither had the skills to pull off something like this...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/39499-bernini_apollo_and_daphne2.small.jpg

... or this...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/39499-libyan2.med.jpg

It ultimately comes down to what your goals are and recognizing that you need to deal with your abilities and your limitations. I would love to create something on the scale of something like the great Renaissance cycles of fresco paintings... but I don't have the access to such a space or the financial wherewithal. I can work toward such... keep it as a goal in the back of my mind... but right now I have to work with what I have.

olive oyl
10-26-2013, 10:05 AM
Ha! SLG beat me to it but back to Brian's comments...

Well, call me an ARC clone, but your philosophy above would never be tolerated in any other art or craft. Yikes. "Never be tolerated?" You make art sound so Taliban-ish. If art isn't the place to have or develop your own philosophy, then where else? But it can also be very dangerously seductive to give up on craft. Who said, "give up on your craft?" I said give up on trying to do A PART OF THE CRAFT that frustrates you. I guess the difference between you and I (among several, I suppose) is that I don't see "giving up" or "letting go" (if you prefer a gentler way of saying it) as some horrible thing. But if you want to "get it right" as you said then...go for it and best of luck.

To my own point, I would like to be able to use paint like this:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/217202-frank1.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/217202-frank2.jpg

This is Natalie Frank (one of my current favs). She's got a pretty impressive resume and background and says: "I started drawing when I was very little, 4 or 5 years old, and even before this displayed a penchant for solitary activities! So, my mother would say she knew from the age of 4 or 5, as I always had markers in my hands and was fascinated by color and design. I started studying seriously when I was 16 years old in my first summer at the Slade School--I lived there alone for a few months and remember understanding in the life classes there that art could be a serious and life-long pursuit. In that experience of day long classes - we would draw from the model until the natural light was so dim our eyes hurt - I finally felt as though I had found a place to fit in, where I could put out all the things I wanted to express. I definitely do not feel that painting is dated or old fashioned; it all depends on how one is doing it! But, moving away from tradition and life study and into a realm that is personal and unique is something I think all artists strive for, painters or otherwise...."

And this (by way of an example) is what I mean by distortion and stylization...that we "move into a realm that is personal and unique." NOT that you distort, stylize or flatten because you can't draw something realistically. As if that should be THE GOAL for all. In any case, I can't paint like her and I'm sure as long as I live, I won't come anywhere close to it. That said, I don't "give up my craft" either. I put one foot (or hand?) in front of the other and keep moving along as best I can. Like we all do, I imagine.

ianuk
10-26-2013, 11:53 AM
Ha! SLG beat me to it but back to Brian's comments...

Well, call me an ARC clone, but your philosophy above would never be tolerated in any other art or craft. Yikes. "Never be tolerated?" You make art sound so Taliban-ish. If art isn't the place to have or develop your own philosophy, then where else? But it can also be very dangerously seductive to give up on craft. Who said, "give up on your craft?" I said give up on trying to do A PART OF THE CRAFT that frustrates you. I guess the difference between you and I (among several, I suppose) is that I don't see "giving up" or "letting go" (if you prefer a gentler way of saying it) as some horrible thing. But if you want to "get it right" as you said then...go for it and best of luck.

To my own point, I would like to be able to use paint like this:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/217202-frank1.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/217202-frank2.jpg

This is Natalie Frank (one of my current favs). She's got a pretty impressive resume and background and says: "I started drawing when I was very little, 4 or 5 years old, and even before this displayed a penchant for solitary activities! So, my mother would say she knew from the age of 4 or 5, as I always had markers in my hands and was fascinated by color and design. I started studying seriously when I was 16 years old in my first summer at the Slade School--I lived there alone for a few months and remember understanding in the life classes there that art could be a serious and life-long pursuit. In that experience of day long classes - we would draw from the model until the natural light was so dim our eyes hurt - I finally felt as though I had found a place to fit in, where I could put out all the things I wanted to express. I definitely do not feel that painting is dated or old fashioned; it all depends on how one is doing it! But, moving away from tradition and life study and into a realm that is personal and unique is something I think all artists strive for, painters or otherwise...."

And this (by way of an example) is what I mean by distortion and stylization...that we "move into a realm that is personal and unique." NOT that you distort, stylize or flatten because you can't draw something realistically. As if that should be THE GOAL for all. In any case, I can't paint like her and I'm sure as long as I live, I won't come anywhere close to it. That said, I don't "give up my craft" either. I put one foot (or hand?) in front of the other and keep moving along as best I can. Like we all do, I imagine.


You've basically written what I couldn't be bothered to write in reply. That's the only thing that irks me about art, not art itself, I love art for art sake, but when someone says, you have to do it this way, or that way. If you can't do this, you can't do that. You have to be able to do certain things before you can do others. Whilst what these people are really saying is that. They have to do things this way, it's difficult for some to accept any other way to accomplish something and art for me is not about drawing or painting or sculpture. It is about expressing oneself, perhaps giving others an insight into ourselves. How we do that is irrelevant for me and the more rules and have to do's the less freedom to create great art. There's more bureaucracy among theoretical artists, than there is in governments.

By the way. Love that first posted painting, it's freely expressive.

mariposa-art
10-26-2013, 12:01 PM
He says HE wants to do it a particular way. He knows what HE wants. I don't think he will be dissuaded from continuing to try.

What he wants to do is not so out of reach. He wants to draw "better" and he's been getting closer and closer to that all the time. If he had more patience (as he describes it) he'd probably be closer still. And if he had more time to work on it (as is true with any skill).

I wanted to "give up" on figure drawing because I was very bad at it in the beginning, and it was very frustrating. Why couldn't I have been satisfied with using photo reference, which I was doing pretty well? Because that's not what I wanted. I'm glad I worked through the frustration of figure drawing until I finally got better.

He acts as if my drawing skills are the type he'd like to have. (Correct me if I'm wrong, Brian . . . I'm not saying that my skills are some lofty goal or I'm the ultimate! :lol: ) Well, if that's what he'd like to have, I'd say it's quite a realistic goal. A lot of artists can draw at my level, I'm hardly that remarkable or unique, or special or all that good. I'm a run-of-the-mill artist who loves to draw and I've got a lot more improvement I'd like to do. I look online and it's incredibly easy to see artists that surpass me!

So, given that, I think Brian will get to where he wants to go, or at least a lot closer than he feels he is right now. He won't draw just like me or anyone else, but he surely can get "better" in the way that pleases him.

ianuk
10-26-2013, 12:06 PM
I agree, I have written drawing is important, I just think there are other methods too, as does W H Martin. Yet then the response seems to be, no you are wrong, drawing is the only way, there is never, only ever one way.

mariposa-art
10-26-2013, 12:16 PM
I agree, I have written drawing is important, I just think there are other methods too, as does W H Martin. Yet then the response seems to be, no you are wrong, drawing is the only way, there is never, only ever one way.
W H Martin is approaching painting in a way that still gets him an end result that equals "correct proportions" and good shapes, and so forth. I thought I'd already talked about the blur between the lines of painting and drawing.

I never thought there would be such controversy about drawing, of all things, drawing! There are few art teachers who would pooh-pooh the study of drawing. And I certainly will not believe I'm suggesting something radical or beyond anyone's reach.

"Do more drawing, get better at drawing (meaning the capturing of "accurate" proportions and shapes with some sort of stylus or tool)!" Horrors! Don't suggest that! How terrible! Of all the things . . . :lol:

ianuk
10-26-2013, 12:22 PM
No one here is arguing against drawing, just stating that other methods have merit, there's really no need for sarcasm...

mariposa-art
10-26-2013, 01:54 PM
No one here is arguing against drawing, just stating that other methods have merit, there's really no need for sarcasm...
"No need for sarcasm"? You're no fun! :lol:

I don't get what the argument is here, then. Is "drawing" (capturing accurate and representational shapes, contours, proportions with some sort of stylus or tool) important or isn't it?

You wrote this a few days ago:

and that my own methods wouldn't be so dependent on drawing. Some that like drawing here cannot seem to except that, strange!
Are you capturing lines, shapes and proportions with some sort of tool or stylus, or aren't you? What is so wrong with being "dependent" on drawing? And it almost sounds like you think there's something wrong with being one of the artists who "likes" drawing. ("Some that like drawing" . . . oh no! Not that! And I'm one of the ones who is guilty of "liking" drawing, how closed-minded of me! :lol: )

Yeah, there I go being sarcastic again. :lol:

I'm just saying, "drawing" on canvas, "painting" with pencil . . . whatever you call it, at the end of the day, if you want to represent an image with some accuracy, in a convincing way, you're going to have to work to acquire "drawing" skills. By using that term "drawing," I mean you look at something, you use your stylus or tool of choice, you pick it up with your hand (or your mouth, or whatever) and you place it on a surface of some kind and you create shapes and lines and whatever until it looks "proportional" and convincing as being that thing that you're looking at.

Brian wants to do this. The OP wants to do this. There's a skill that's required to do it, and I see nothing wrong with being "dependent" on this skill, since it kind of comes with the territory. Without this skill, you either scrap doing representational art completely (which is not a horrible thing, if that's what makes you happy—but it wouldn't make Brian happy). Or you trace photos. This has limitations and also wouldn't make Brian happy.

JohnEmmett
10-26-2013, 02:58 PM
Why not paint over a picture in Photoshop?

Not sure what you mean by this.

Directly painting over a person's photograph, arriving at the correct proportions.

Because the fact is, almost no portrait is correct.

AllisonR
10-26-2013, 03:48 PM
There is a perfectly legitimate place for "noisy" music and poetry that doesn't rhyme. But it can also be very dangerously seductive to give up on craft. There are few things humans excel at quite as magnificently as fooling themselves. :-)...

If I go for "expressive" art because of an inability to do realistic work, I am fooling myself, I think.

I agree with this. If you can push ego to the side and be honest with yourself, you will know what you want. Maybe it will be drawing, studying anatomy... maybe it will be accepting that you don't enjoy drawing and doing it anyway to improve, maybe it will be realizing how frustrated it makes you and deciding that it isn't worth the stress, that you would rather use photos or a projector or do collage or whatever instead.

True, but with the possible exception of Van Gogh, I don't think they stylized because of an inability to draw decent realistic work.

And I disagree with this. Van Gogh knew how to draw. He did Charles Bargues Drawings, all of the plates, twice. Show me a painter, just one, that painted WELL, realistic or at least semi-realistic scenes, that did not know how to draw.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/133314-Vincent_Van_Gogh_Seated_Woman_Drawing.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/133314-Vincent_Van_Gogh_albertina_Drawing.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/133314-Vincent_Van_Gogh_three-hands-two-with-knives_Drawing.jpg

You need to know how to draw well in order to make almost all art, except maybe abstract or pure calligraphy. Not saying abstract or calligraphy is worse or less, just that you can get by without having to draw well. But paint a portrait, or even an apple, with no sense of anatomy or structure and you're dead in the water.

kevinwueste
10-26-2013, 04:30 PM
The essential ability to see shapes and craft them on your canvas or paper - can be considered "good drawing skill" no matter how you get there - be it by beginning with blobs of light and dark or a block-in. I also believe that practicing and working directly from life, with out any projecting, overlay or tracing help will empower your skill and both seeing and the coordination of drawing.

Expect about 10,000 hours of consistent practice if you want to get to a place similar to the work in the original post. If there's a shortcut - I would love to hear about it!

Kevin

brianvds
10-26-2013, 11:38 PM
Well, call me an ARC clone, but your philosophy above would never be tolerated in any other art or craft.

But that's not necessarily true. As I suggested, I doubt many of the finest singers or instrumentalists within the realm of jazz or blues or rock or bluegrass could sing of play even passably by the standards of classical music...

I quite agree - I am not arguing that only the standards of classical music are valid. But there has to be some sort of standard. I don't think jazz players, when they hit a wrong note, fool themselves into thinking they are being expressive. (Incidentally, while I don't really like jazz, I have absolutely boundless admiration for the skill of jazz players).


It ultimately comes down to what your goals are and recognizing that you need to deal with your abilities and your limitations.

I agree. My argument is not that there is only one single valid standard (which is precisely why I disagree with the ARC on this point). But one has to have some sort of goal, and if you fail to reach it, be careful not to convince yourself that you were in fact being very original and expressive.

This is likely true even in abstract expressionism - as you have shown before, some ab-ex pieces just "work" better than others. A wise artist is one who will not exhibit work that doesn't meet his standards in at least some measure.

brianvds
10-26-2013, 11:53 PM
I guess the difference between you and I (among several, I suppose) is that I don't see "giving up" or "letting go" (if you prefer a gentler way of saying it) as some horrible thing. But if you want to "get it right" as you said then...go for it and best of luck.

I have a feeling I'll need all the luck I can get. :lol:

To my own point, I would like to be able to use paint like this:...

You possibly can, but looking at those paintings, it is pretty clear to me that you will not paint like that until you have a very solid grounding in traditional figure drawing and anatomy.

And this (by way of an example) is what I mean by distortion and stylization...that we "move into a realm that is personal and unique." NOT that you distort, stylize or flatten because you can't draw something realistically.

In that case, we are in fact in agreement. My goal is not necessarily to become a photorealist. But it is pretty clear to me that the best "distorted art" is produced by artists who have a reasonably solid grounding in realism, and can, if needs be, accurately draw what they see.

brianvds
10-26-2013, 11:59 PM
He says HE wants to do it a particular way. He knows what HE wants. I don't think he will be dissuaded from continuing to try.

I will succeed or die trying. :D

He acts as if my drawing skills are the type he'd like to have. (Correct me if I'm wrong, Brian . . . I'm not saying that my skills are some lofty goal or I'm the ultimate! :lol: )

Yup - I want to get to the kind of thing you have on that portrait drawing site of yours - a solid, accurate piece of representational art. I'm not there yet.

I actually wouldn't mind being able to do portraits and figures from imagination either (I am quite a fan of some comic books, notably Tintin) but I think that will have to wait. I have this feeling that the ability to draw accurately must come first.

brianvds
10-27-2013, 12:05 AM
Why not paint over a picture in Photoshop?



Directly painting over a person's photograph, arriving at the correct proportions.

Because the fact is, almost no portrait is correct.


Oh I see what you mean - a sort of digital equivalent of tracing a photo (or using a grid to transfer it).

Well, for one thing I can't afford the required tools (I assume one would need a tablet for that). I have on occasion tried it with traditional tools, only to find to my own amazement that when I use a grid or trace, my resulting portrait is typically LESS of a likeness than one I draw by just eyeballing.

But I find that whenever I report this on message boards, no one believes me.

brianvds
10-27-2013, 12:37 AM
And I disagree with this. Van Gogh knew how to draw. He did Charles Bargues Drawings, all of the plates, twice. Show me a painter, just one, that painted WELL, realistic or at least semi-realistic scenes, that did not know how to draw.

I meant no insult to Van Gogh - he is one of my favourite artists. But he himself sometimes lamented his inability to draw "pretty things" like the academics of the day, and looking at some of his paintings, I think he might have benefited greatly from more knowledge of representational drawing:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/142294-Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Portret_van_de_postbode_Joseph_Roulin.jpg

It's beautifully expressive, but my eye keeps on stealing back to that horrible hand (the one on the chair's armrest). Forgive me Vincent, but that's not expressive. It's plain bad.

Incidentally, I have also heard that he copied the Bargue plates twice. But do we have any solid evidence for this, or is it one of those things that become true by being repeated often enough?

Either way, his copies of the Bargue plates that I have seen are not very impressive by the standards of his time:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/142294-vincent-van-gogh-drawing-seated-nude-after-bargues_1890.jpg

I don't think the plates were intended to be copied in their totality. At least nowadays, in the classical schools, instead of making quick copies of all the plates, like Van Gogh apparently did, the students pick two or three at increasing levels of difficulty and attempt to make absolutely perfect copies of them. That is the whole point of classical training.

Van Gogh did get to the point where he could get the contours accurate (a skill I have yet to master!). And eventually developed his own unique style, with its own set of goals and standards. He still managed to produce a number of profoundly bad, bad paintings, in between the great ones.

Anyway, aspiring artists should understand how unique Van Gogh's position is.
In the primary school where I teach (not art!) I often hear similar arguments from the kids: why is is necessary to get a conventional school education? After all, Bill Gates was a dropout and he's the richest man in the world. Our own President Zuma formally only completed grade three and he's PRESIDENT, fer cryin' out loud!

Yes, the above examples do illustrate that you can get very far without following the conventional route. But for every person who succeeds that way, there are literally thousands who don't make it, and who WOULD have made it in at least some modest way if only they had gotten themselves a proper education/training.

It is all very well to decide to follow the unique road never traveled on before, but one has to understand that the stats are very, very much against you. Your chances of being the next Van Gogh/Gates/Zuma are rather smaller than your chances of being the next guy on the street corner with a badly spelled placard around his neck.

mariposa-art
10-27-2013, 03:03 AM
It's beautifully expressive, but my eye keeps on stealing back to that horrible hand (the one on the chair's armrest). Forgive me Vincent, but that's not expressive. It's plain bad.
Yes, it's not right.

We can be forgiving of Van Gogh because of his other strengths, but I think that Van Gogh himself was striving to be better, and he did show improvement over time. He kept trying. He didn't say, "Well this is just my style" and stop studying. :rolleyes:

In the primary school where I teach (not art!) I often hear similar arguments from the kids: why is is necessary to get a conventional school education? After all, Bill Gates was a dropout and he's the richest man in the world. Our own President Zuma formally only completed grade three and he's PRESIDENT, fer cryin' out loud!

Yes, the above examples do illustrate that you can get very far without following the conventional route. But for every person who succeeds that way, there are literally thousands who don't make it, and who WOULD have made it in at least some modest way if only they had gotten themselves a proper education/training.

I think the key here is that the information/education MUST be had in some form. It can be given in a school, where the student gets a degree, or it may be given in private classes, private study, tutorials, somehow or some way it has to get into the student's head.

Those who are successful without a formal education are not ignorant, unskilled people. They still acquired the education and knowledge, but just in a different way. They still had the SKILLS.

In art especially you'll see people with the formal education but with poor skills, and people without the "formal" education but with the skills. Those with the skills did get an education, they just got it somewhere or somehow else. Those with the formal education but without the skills either had bad teachers, or were not dedicated in applying what was presented to them in school. Either way, they don't have the skill, and without that, there's a limit to how far they'll go.

AllisonR
10-27-2013, 09:28 AM
I quite agree - I am not arguing that only the standards of classical music are valid. But there has to be some sort of standard. I don't think jazz players, when they hit a wrong note, fool themselves into thinking they are being expressive. (Incidentally, while I don't really like jazz, I have absolutely boundless admiration for the skill of jazz players).

I agree. My argument is not that there is only one single valid standard (which is precisely why I disagree with the ARC on this point). But one has to have some sort of goal, and if you fail to reach it, be careful not to convince yourself that you were in fact being very original and expressive.

This is likely true even in abstract expressionism - as you have shown before, some ab-ex pieces just "work" better than others. A wise artist is one who will not exhibit work that doesn't meet his standards in at least some measure.

You have hit the nail on the head. I think quite a few artists end up convincing themselves that the concept is the only valid standard, and if they can't draw, make a decent composition, know how to use color... than that is ok because it is the concept that matters. Because it is really hard to do these things well, and it takes time and continuous practice. People want to find out why they are not ahead after painting for a year. Hence the reason for this post. This idea would never work in any other industry or profession. But it sometimes works in the art field, which means it isn't really odd that an artist asks the question. Because it is possible. We see examples where it has happened. And on top of it a lot of galleries, museums, curators, critics... will agree that the concept is the most important part and the rest can be irrelevant.

Maybe it is, maybe movies, videos, concept art, installation art... is very important and drawing and painting from life or plein air or realistically is all now irrelevant. Or maybe it isn't. There is no one alive who can tell us what the art scene will look like in 200, 500 or 1000 years, not the people who agree with me, nor the ones who do not. Only time will tell.

In the meantime I do find it refreshing that there has started to be a backlash against all this concept art - hence ARC and all the atelier academys. Could be that these people see the emperors clothes. Or could be a last, desperate straw to hold on to what was. Again, only time will tell.

I have on occasion tried it with traditional tools, only to find to my own amazement that when I use a grid or trace, my resulting portrait is typically LESS of a likeness than one I draw by just eyeballing.

But I find that whenever I report this on message boards, no one believes me.

Let me say I absolutely agree with you. I even had to convince myself of what I saw. I draw decently, certainly not well. And I learned the sight-size method at the Florence Academy during the summer session. Which absolutely has it's benefits. Including double-checking. I find it very helpful, for example when I am using foreshortening, because my eyeball guess is not as good as measuring. I took the sight-size to heart. Measuring, measuring, measuring, connecting, measuring more... but it actually gives me less accurate a drawing. Because I am not really seeing. In concentrating on all the measuring, I miss seeing some of the details - the angle on the nut below the screw, the seam in the wrench handle... And the drawing has little "life". But if I eyeball it first, I am looking at distances between objects and planes, angle of one edge compared to the other... and all those details. Then comes in the good with sight-size, because along the way I supplement my eyeball with proper measurements - both length and angle... I end up with an accurate, more detailed, and more lifelike drawing.

FWIW I have also used grid method, tracing, projector... all of them work, and sometimes make life faster and easier, but they have never taught me much about what I was actually looking at, and none of these methods produce "life" in a drawing or painting, at least not for me.

AllisonR
10-27-2013, 09:41 AM
I don't think the plates were intended to be copied in their totality. At least nowadays, in the classical schools, instead of making quick copies of all the plates, like Van Gogh apparently did, the students pick two or three at increasing levels of difficulty and attempt to make absolutely perfect copies of them. That is the whole point of classical training.

Well, I am doing them, as accurately as I can. I'm up to plate 20 something. And I am pretty sure it is helping my drawing. Helping me see the subtlety of curves for example. See the rounding of shadows. Here is an example, so you can see it is OK, I can draw at least, but it is certainly not good. Tons of room for improvement. And OP, if you are still reading, if you want to draw well, I highly recommend the Charles Bargue plates - with Nitram charcoal on Canson, not pencil.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/133314-CB_plate_sample.jpg
And yes, maybe Van Gogh doing them twice is a rumor. No idea.

stlukesguild
10-27-2013, 12:15 PM
Olive- To my own point, I would like to be able to use paint like this:...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-natalie-frank-21.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-2_20_Exorcism.jpg

I'm not overly enthralled by these. The works are clearly modeled on the juicy paint handling of human flesh as seen in the works of Jenny Saville...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-saville_reverse_2003.small.JPG

Cecily Brown...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-days-of-heaven-2001-c-brown.jpg

and the "School of Cake Frosting" style of Dana Schutz (Frank's "art star" predecessor at Colombia):

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-Dana-Schutz-Albino.small.jpg

Her use of space and fragmentation certainly dates back to Francis Bacon...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-cruc62_centersmall.JPG

... and can be found in the work of any number of contemporary painters... such as Karim Hamid:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-fafn251.jpg

Honestly, Olive, with your drawing chops I don't see why painting like Frank should pose much of a problem at all.

Brian- You possibly can, but looking at those paintings, it is pretty clear to me that you will not paint like that until you have a very solid grounding in traditional figure drawing and anatomy.

I certainly agree. Looking especially at the torso of the reclining girl in the second painting... the grasp of the underlying rib cage, etc... the artist certainly has a solid grasp of drawing in an academically correct manner. Intriguingly, however, I suspect most would recognize that Francis Bacon is a far better artist:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-triptych73.jpg

... and yet Bacon admittedly could never master drawing. He spoke of his personal embarrassment at being asked by a restaurant-owner to make a drawing for him. The result was so plainly amateurish that Bacon ended up paying twice the bill and rushing out. Yet when it came to the manipulation of paint, he was masterful... and more than capable of even capturing a likeness in spite of a great deal of abstraction:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-8_babinh_jager_432.jpg

My goal is not necessarily to become a photorealist. But it is pretty clear to me that the best "distorted art" is produced by artists who have a reasonably solid grounding in realism, and can, if needs be, accurately draw what they see.

You are right... in that the best of the late 19th century Expressionists and early 20th century Modernists had a firm rooting in the academic approach to drawing and painting that is better than that of most contemporary artists. Still... there are any number of resulting works that show little of such mastery... and really don't require such. The artists, rather, were fascinated in the endless possibilities beyond what might be achieved with a "realistic" approach:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-150.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-tumblr_mlz8j1oh1T1re12ono1_500.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-Georges_Rouault_18.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-soutine13.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-art-henri-matisse-music.sm.JPG

Again you also have the examples of medieval artists, African and Pre Columbian sculptors, Japanese print-makers, etc... for whom rendering in an academic manner was never an issue.

Of course it all comes down to what you are striving toward. On more than one occasion you have suggested that what you are after is more akin to the stylized "realism" of William Blake, the painters of the Early Renaissance, and Post-Impressionists ala Maurice Denis, etc...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-6677255_231371d7ef_2.jpg

JohnEmmett
10-27-2013, 01:12 PM
Oh I see what you mean - a sort of digital equivalent of tracing a photo (or using a grid to transfer it).

Well, for one thing I can't afford the required tools (I assume one would need a tablet for that). I have on occasion tried it with traditional tools, only to find to my own amazement that when I use a grid or trace, my resulting portrait is typically LESS of a likeness than one I draw by just eyeballing.

But I find that whenever I report this on message boards, no one believes me.

Well, the required tool is improving a particular image until it can no longer be improved.

Doug Nykoe
10-27-2013, 03:08 PM
There’s more to the story about Van Gogh and these Charles Bargue plates is that he went to his brother stating he wanted to paint so his brother sent him to a teacher and the teacher told him to do these Charles Bargue plates and he did for a short time and got very upset and said why do these silly things and threw them down and said I want people to feel and to feel my passion and on and on and the rest was history but no he did not respect the plates at all, they got in his way according to my research but you will never hear that from those pushing a certain agenda.

brianvds
10-27-2013, 10:40 PM
Well, I am doing them, as accurately as I can. I'm up to plate 20 something. And I am pretty sure it is helping my drawing. Helping me see the subtlety of curves for example. See the rounding of shadows.

Yes, I'm sure it will not hurt to do them all. As far as I can work out, in the classical ateliers, students spend weeks drawing one, so there won't be time to do them all, which is likely why they only do a few. But that definitely doesn't mean one shouldn't do more.

I have a feeling though that simply using monochrome reference photos might achieve the same thing. At least, I hope so, seeing as I cannot remotely afford to buy the whole set of Bargue plates. :-)

Here is an example, so you can see it is OK, I can draw at least, but it is certainly not good. Tons of room for improvement. And OP, if you are still reading, if you want to draw well, I highly recommend the Charles Bargue plates - with Nitram charcoal on Canson, not pencil.

Can't work out how to draw with charcoal. An awkward, powdery mess that has its place in fast and loose drawings, but I am always astonished to see tightly rendered drawings done with charcoal. :-)

brianvds
10-27-2013, 11:02 PM
Intriguingly, however, I suspect most would recognize that Francis Bacon is a far better artist:...

I never could work up any enthusiasm for Bacon...

... and yet Bacon admittedly could never master drawing.

...and now I understand why. :-)

Still, "incapable of mastering drawing" is a relative term, and he might well have been way better than one might think.

Yet when it came to the manipulation of paint, he was masterful... and more than capable of even capturing a likeness in spite of a great deal of abstraction:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/39499-8_babinh_jager_432.jpg

Seems to display a knowledge of the underlying anatomy. Perhaps he was not THAT bad at drawing!

Still... there are any number of resulting works that show little of such mastery... and really don't require such. The artists, rather, were fascinated in the endless possibilities beyond what might be achieved with a "realistic" approach:

I do not recognize all the artists you posted. The ones I do recognize were all well versed in classical drawing, as far as I know. It is true that with some styles you don't necessarily have to be able to draw like those ARC artists, but I think you still need at least some basic competency.

Again you also have the examples of medieval artists, African and Pre Columbian sculptors, Japanese print-makers, etc... for whom rendering in an academic manner was never an issue.

True, though looking at some of their work, it seems to me that some of them were very talented and would not have struggled much to master drawing. In some cases, like Japanese and Chinese art, they had their own set of rules and aesthetic notions - Chinese brush painting is decidedly not slapdash, for all the loose look, and the best artists in that style are wonderful observers of the world around them. I.e. their work is not realistic in the western academic sense, but it is still very much based on systematic, intense and meaningful observation of the world:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/142294-Xu_Beihong_roaring_lion_small.jpg

Perhaps the above, by Xu Beihong, is not the best example, because as it turned out he was perfectly competent in the western manner as well. :-)

Of course it all comes down to what you are striving toward. On more than one occasion you have suggested that what you are after is more akin to the stylized "realism" of William Blake, the painters of the Early Renaissance, and Post-Impressionists ala Maurice Denis, etc...

Indeed - but most of the above were highly competent in academic drawing. Perhaps they didn't need to be. Perhaps one needs no more competency for this sort of style than accuracy in the contours. I have never been able to tell for sure.

As you perhaps also know, another artistic hero of mine is Hergé, who created the Tintin comics. I grew up with them, and that is perhaps why I tend to draw outlines around everything! :-)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2013/142294-whisky_rain.jpg

Anyway, I have always wondered to what extent one can learn to draw that sort of thing without first learning academic drawing. The Disney artists are all very well versed in classical figure drawing, and it shows in their work.

AllisonR
10-28-2013, 03:56 AM
Doug Nykoe - perhaps your story is true. Who knows, but it is a really fun story, more interesting than the one I read.

SLG, IN MY OPINION (Before I get my head ripped off), that is the ugliest group of pictures I have ever seen you post. I don't think a single one is appealing. The Jenny Saville painting is the only one that shows decent anatomy/drawing knowledge, but then it totally creeps me out.

Yes, I'm sure it will not hurt to do them all. As far as I can work out, in the classical ateliers, students spend weeks drawing one, so there won't be time to do them all, which is likely why they only do a few. But that definitely doesn't mean one shouldn't do more.

I have a feeling though that simply using monochrome reference photos might achieve the same thing. At least, I hope so, seeing as I cannot remotely afford to buy the whole set of Bargue plates. :-)

OMG - NOT the same at all. Take an ugly photo and draw it, you get an ugly drawing. Take a drawing of a sculpture - Michaelangelo's sculpture to be exact, and some older greek sculptures, and you may end up with a nice drawing. And you might also learn something about the subtlety of the sculptures - the tiny extra baby fat under the chin of the youth, the elegant bridge of the nose. Even if you want to draw and paint totally differently afterwards, this knowledge is still in you then.

And the drawings don't take weeks. A couple of hours for the arms, legs... I expect the full body ones, which I haven't gotten to yet, to take much more time, but I am not going to spend weeks on it, though I technically could.

Can't work out how to draw with charcoal. An awkward, powdery mess that has its place in fast and loose drawings, but I am always astonished to see tightly rendered drawings done with charcoal. :-)

I had never used charcoal before starting on these (I could never understand how charcoal worked, always so fat and gross lines, didn't know how to sharpen it... so I think the only time I used it was maybe once in art school in the 80s when the teacher made us use it one session, end of session and the charcoal when in the bin.) Then someone showed me how to sharpen, and then I could use it.

You get Nitram charcoal, H, HB and B, for me cheap from Germany. It really is the best. You sand to a thin, tapering point on a wood block covered with sandpaper. Start w H, build up w lines - there is thorough description of how to do in the beginning of the book. Really only use lines, curves come later. Shades are made up of hatching.

And, you don't have to buy the book. An, um, good google search should provide you with a link to a forum with this discussion with some very nice very high res images that take a while to download but are worth it.

stlukesguild
10-28-2013, 10:53 PM
Brian- I do not recognize all the artists you posted.

http://i1245.photobucket.com/albums/gg581/StlukesguildOhio/Paintings_zpse9bd36a7.jpg (http://s1245.photobucket.com/user/StlukesguildOhio/media/Paintings_zpse9bd36a7.jpg.html)

Clockwise from top left: 1. Max Beckmann 2. Kees van Dongen 3. Georges Rouault 4. Maurice Denis 5. Chaim Soutine 6. Henri Matisse

The ones I do recognize were all well versed in classical drawing, as far as I know.

They all were. As I suggested, training in traditional academic realism was far more intense in the past than at present. The Impressionists were frequently taken to task for the incompleteness and lack of academic realism of their paintings... and yet every last one of them could draw and draw well. The same was true of the majority of the early Modernists. The abandonment of such skills took place with the dominance of abstraction... especially with Abstract Expressionism... and later with the photo-derived work of Pop Art and Photo-Realism.

Personally, I valued the skills of drawing from life in a "realistic" manner as simply offering me so many more possibilities. Clearly, these skills were of little importance when I was working in abstract collage:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2013/39499-102BachSuite7Ghost_Sonata.forshow.jpg

Although I continued to draw in my sketchbooks. Drawing was referred to by the Italians as Disegno. The term was used when speaking of the battle between drawing and color... the Florentines vs the Venetians... and later Ingres vs Delacroix. But the term means not merely "drawing" but also design or composition... and indeed, I have always thought of drawing as a means of developing the composition or design of an image in terms of lines, shapes, mass, and value.

It is true that with some styles you don't necessarily have to be able to draw like those ARC artists, but I think you still need at least some basic competency.

But the question is a competency with regard to what skills?

SLG- Again you also have the examples of medieval artists, African and Pre Columbian sculptors, Japanese print-makers, etc... for whom rendering in an academic manner was never an issue.

True, though looking at some of their work, it seems to me that some of them were very talented and would not have struggled much to master drawing. In some cases, like Japanese and Chinese art, they had their own set of rules and aesthetic notions...

Arguably, this is what we have with the development of Modernism... artists have developed alternative standards and aesthetic notions beyond that of the Western Post-Renaissance ideal of rendering the illusion of realistic form and space.

Chinese brush painting is decidedly not slapdash...

And neither are the finest examples of Western Modernist abstraction. Certainly there are those... even some here at WC! :rolleyes: who imagine that abstraction entails nothing more than throwing paint around with the intention of expressing one's emotions and feelings, but this most certainly isn't true. I think one of the things that has helped me the most with my own paintings was coming to the realization that all paintings are abstract... all function as an organization of lines, shapes, colors, values, textures, etc...

...the best artists in that style are wonderful observers of the world around them. I.e. their work is not realistic in the western academic sense, but it is still very much based on systematic, intense and meaningful observation of the world:

I suspect that all art (OK... with the exclusion of some Conceptual Art) is based upon observation... looking. But the goal isn't always to mimic the way things look. A novelist or poet may aim to suggest or simply allude to how a thing feels (in a tactile sense) or tastes or smells... or feels (in an emotional sense. Certainly an artist may be more interested in suggesting a mood or a sense of musical harmony than he or she is in mimicking the visual appearance.

stlukesguild
10-28-2013, 11:05 PM
SLG, IN MY OPINION (Before I get my head ripped off), that is the ugliest group of pictures I have ever seen you post. I don't think a single one is appealing. The Jenny Saville painting is the only one that shows decent anatomy/drawing knowledge, but then it totally creeps me out.

I can't say I really like any of the artworks or artists posted with regard to Olive's post... with the exception of the Francis Bacon. I had the chance to see a great majority of his oeuvre in person at a retrospective at the Met a few years back... and I was absolutely stunned as to just how powerful and fresh they appeared in real life.

As for the others (Beckmann, Van Dongen, Rouault, Soutine, Denis and Matisse... they are all marvelous paintings IMO... in spite of the fact that they employ little or no skills suggestive of mastery of academic realism. But then I don't find academic realism to be the end-all/be all. Indeed, I find most examples of contemporary academic realism to be rather dead and boring.

megalon
10-29-2013, 01:06 AM
It's simple. If you want to get good you're going to have to work really hard. Learn how to draw. If your goal is to do classical-type portraits you need to get your anatomy down-faces,hands(hands are always tough to get right,even Goya apparently struggled with hands!)

I don't think it's wrong to aim high but you have to be realistic too. If, in the next year you put in 2-3 hours a day by next year you might be amazed at how far you've come.

olive oyl
10-29-2013, 10:56 AM
Okay, this is bugging me so skip over this whiny defensive rant if you must.

Natalie Frank does NOT belong in SLG's grouping of crap artists above and she is not simply a "juicy-flesh" painter in the style of Jenny Saville. (Bacon and Ensor are better comparisons). Yes, she does sometimes paint grotesque heads but I think they're more like quick studies and not totally representative of the work she does. There are "prettier" head examples than the one he used here, but that's besides the point. What's interesting in those faces is that she always paints one sharply focused eyeball which I believe is a reference to her dimensional blindness. Until last year, she was blind in her left eye and saw her three dimensional world as flat 2D images. Knowing that, I find her work with figures inside dreamlike spaces more interesting, like "Exorcism" posted above and the one below. Her mother once worked in a sex change clinic and her father is a doctor and so I can understand her fascination with bodies (and maybe our own human nature?) being formed, taken apart or transforming from one thing into another. She says her work has always been about narratives having to do with sex, gender, identity, power, violence and women whose "beauty is never simple." She speaks to intimacy, boundaries and privacy, and as a viewer, I feel like I shouldn't be looking "into" the world she's showing us but if I do, I'm not totally sure what I'm seeing, anyway. I feel, and they are...ambiguous.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2013/217202-nf6.jpg

Her way of working, as mentioned, is firmly rooted in tradition and she started as a photorealist, journalistic-style painter. Personally, I find her work from this part of her career...boring...even more so than the faces. In any case, she now incorporates more abstraction and for me, its a satisfying mix of both, as well as a mix of fantasy and reality. She works quickly - wet into wet - and makes on average 1 painting every 2 weeks. Relying on both memory and photos, she "wrangles flatness and figuration," scrapes-scratches-draws-paints, adds in some geometric patterning, goofiness and visual puns, either somber/jewel-like/cartoonish colors, and nods to literature as she creates what she calls "loose morality tales." Her "characters" are filled with depraved, dark and irrational desires and in turn, (the people who like her work), are left feeling disturbed and tense. Probably not surprising, I like this little haunted house ride and gives me what I'm looking for in contemporary painting.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2013/217202-nf8.jpg

Finally: she's lectured and taught, has been reviewed all over the place, has won a dozen awards, is in public collections, has had lots of group and solo shows over the past 11 years, and has a damn impressive educational background. She knows what she's doing. Oh and yeah...she's only 33. So, you may or may not like her work which is totally your preference and means nothing to what I'm saying here. And what I'm not saying is that she's god's gift to creation (that would be reserved for some man, I'm sure) and I'm not even saying I like everything she does. It's that...she's not somebody to be dismissed just because SLG is not "overly enthralled" with her and lumps her into some arbitrarily assigned group. He can go back to the entire art history of mankind and find hundreds or thousands of artists that can enthrall him to his hearts content. But please do me a favor, SLG...be a good forum buddy...and don't come back and post 3000 examples as to why she's NOT good and why somebody else does it better. I'm sure you're right. I don't enthrall all that easily and can count on two hands the artists I like. Here, I found one that makes total sense to me. She's talented and skillful and worthy of respect. Ignore her if you want ("you" meaning, anybody reading) but please don't dismiss her work as just another example of contemporary painting crap. It's not.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2013/217202-nf7.jpg

End of rant.

Sorry (not really) but carry on, please.

ianuk
10-29-2013, 11:20 AM
The bottom line here for me is a simple one. An artist can have the best drawing skills in the world, can spend hours practising over and over at measuring, anatomy and everything else possible. yet! even with all those skills, few would be able to paint the portrait posted by the original poster. That's the reality. That's what I am trying to say.

There are excellent artists here on WC, they have drawn for hours and hours and honed their skill and yet I doubt there would be more than one or two in their whole lifetime that could emulate such a portrait.

That's not saying it's not good to try, or encourage others to try to aspire to painting an excellent portrait, although few will succeed, everyone here, already knows that :)

I'm just a practical type that likes to write of reality rather than fantasy.

snoball
10-29-2013, 01:14 PM
Uh oh, you've thrown down the gauntlet! I suspect we will see versions of that portrait cropping up here and there now. When I find the time, I may attempt it myself. :)

mariposa-art
10-29-2013, 02:15 PM
The bottom line here for me is a simple one. An artist can have the best drawing skills in the world, can spend hours practising over and over at measuring, anatomy and everything else possible. yet! even with all those skills, few would be able to paint the portrait posted by the original poster. That's the reality. That's what I am trying to say.
No it wasn't. Good try, though. :D (What was all the BS about "don't be so dependent on drawing," huh? :lol: )

Sure, few here are Old Masters.

But drawing is never a bad idea. And aiming for improvement, through drawing better (which is vital for portraits) is a good thing. Very good thing.

And Kevin W (whose name I cannot remember how to spell) is an awesome artist and he paints and draws wonderfully. On a much higher plane of excellence than most of us can reach. He understands the importance of drawing and how it is necessary in painting. Someone like him does know what he's talking about.

ianuk
10-29-2013, 02:24 PM
No it wasn't. Good try, though. :D (What was all the BS about "don't be so dependent on drawing," huh? :lol: )
.

What you think and, what I mean, are two seperate entities, I am justifying for me, not you!

ianuk
10-29-2013, 02:26 PM
And Kevin W (whose name I cannot remember how to spell) is an awesome artist and he paints and draws wonderfully. On a much higher plane of excellence than most of us can reach. He understands the importance of drawing and how it is necessary in painting. Someone like him does know what he's talking about.

And of course, more importantly, he agrees with you! :lol:

JimR-OCDS
10-29-2013, 04:18 PM
I haven't read all the posts, but has anyone mentioned the fact that there are people who are born with natural talent ?


They begin showing their talent when they're children and their artwork can't be matched by those of use who have to work to develop satisfactory skills, but never become masters.


Jim

AllisonR
10-29-2013, 06:26 PM
I haven't read all the posts, but has anyone mentioned the fact that there are people who are born with natural talent ?

They begin showing their talent when they're children and their artwork can't be matched by those of use who have to work to develop satisfactory skills, but never become masters.

Jim

This is the biggest load of bunk I have ever heard. So you, and me, and Dear Jane all work at our art to develop our skills, while others with talent have artwork just gushing out of them? What lazy bums they must be. Bunk. Even if one agrees with the premise that some are more talented than others, those that become masters did so IN ADDITION TO - they busted their butts every day - they drew, and drew, and drew, and painted, over and over.

My thought is there are a million with talent, there are few who put in the hours, and fewer still that put in the right kind of hours - real learning, access to other highly skilled artisans, access to materials, being in the right culture at the right point...

The bottom line here for me is a simple one. An artist can have the best drawing skills in the world, can spend hours practising over and over at measuring, anatomy and everything else possible. yet! even with all those skills, few would be able to paint the portrait posted by the original poster. That's the reality. That's what I am trying to say.

There are excellent artists here on WC, they have drawn for hours and hours and honed their skill and yet I doubt there would be more than one or two in their whole lifetime that could emulate such a portrait.

That's not saying it's not good to try, or encourage others to try to aspire to painting an excellent portrait, although few will succeed, everyone here, already knows that :)

I'm just a practical type that likes to write of reality rather than fantasy.

I agree with your premise that after a 10,000 hours, few will be able to have the grace to make such a portrait. You can put in a million hours, but were they useful hours? I'd say for art it must be quantity and quality. YOu have to do it, over and over, and you have to do it where you are very often learning and therefore improving. Access to a superior teacher for 5 days may be worth more in learning than on your own for a year. Painting a master study may be worth more than painting 3 common still lives. Or the opposite may be true, too many factors to make any one rule. I don't think there is a shortcut - you have to really see, really mix paint on the palette, really draw a ton of faces...

mariposa-art
10-29-2013, 07:23 PM
And of course, more importantly, he agrees with you! :lol:
And he's an excellent artist, who specializes in portraits, teaches figures and portraits, and frankly, I take great stock in his opinion, for all these reasons. Should I take greater stock in yours instead? :lol:

ianuk
10-29-2013, 07:34 PM
And he's an excellent artist, who specializes in portraits, teaches figures and portraits, and frankly, I take great stock in his opinion, for all these reasons. Should I take greater stock in yours instead? :lol:

I don't recall anywhere I've written here that anyone take stock in anything I've written. What I write is my opinion, I neither think it right or wrong.

Do you think I should take stock in your opinion? What are your credentials regarding painting old masters portraits?

I openly admit, to having none, except what I've read. :lol:

mariposa-art
10-29-2013, 07:44 PM
I don't recall anywhere I've written here that anyone take stock in anything I've written. What I write is my opinion, I neither think it right or wrong.

Do you think I should take stock in your opinion? What are your credentials regarding painting old masters portraits?

I openly admit, to having none, except what I've read. :lol:
I have no expectation that you should take my opinion seriously. That I fully expect. But we're both offering our opinion to the OP, who asks about painting portraits. I'll align my opinion with Kevin, whose skills and expertise I admire, and who I think is far, far closer to "Master" than many here. So whose opinion will the OP take more seriously? I would advise they look at samples of all our works (in particular Kevin's) and that can help them decide. :D :thumbsup:

If you want to believe that you don't want to be "so dependent on drawing," then you go ahead and keep doing that. I'll continue to "like" drawing (horrors! :lol: ) and I'll continue to take seriously the advice of someone like Kevin, who is an accomplished portrait artist (and teacher at an atelier, I believe). I'll advise the OP to do the same, as I believe they'll be the better for that, and will end up far closer to "mastery" (though we all know few of us will reach that truly).

ianuk
10-29-2013, 07:51 PM
And me! I'll just keep drawing until I get better and reach a standard that is my own, not in comparison with others and I will continue to learn with paint and colour and tone, which in my opinion, even with expert drawing skills, is the crux of any good portrait. I don't think many could learn much from looking at my work here as it's mediocre to say the least. However, I know that

mariposa-art
10-29-2013, 08:03 PM
And me! I'll just keep drawing until I get better and reach a standard that is my own, not in comparison with others and I will continue to learn with paint and colour and tone, which in my opinion, even with expert drawing skills, is the crux of any good portrait. I don't think many could learn much from looking at my work here as it's mediocre to say the least. However, I know that
So I don't know why you were so vigorously arguing about being "too dependent on drawing."

In order to reach proficiency, especially with something as exacting as portraiture, a lot of practice is required. Practicing on cheap newsprint is probably more affordable for the OP than doing this practice with paint on canvas. Naturally when the OP progresses to a certain point, they'll start to explore flesh tones and so forth with painting. But for those first several thousand practice sketches, probably not.

You keep doing what makes you happy! Your future is in your own hands. :) :wave:

ianuk
10-29-2013, 08:14 PM
I wasn't arguing vigorously against drawing. I was implying that even with the best drawing skills, without being able to paint, drawing isn't worth a light on the finished portrait. My example was to give ten artists perfectly drawn portraits and, few of those would be painted to make excellent portraits.

I think the handling of colour, tone and other aspects of paint is more important than the drawing skills (which most artists have), because drawing is a different skill from painting. Whereas you suggest that if one can draw to an excellent standard, then one can paint, that's just not the case in my opinion.

stlukesguild
10-29-2013, 08:19 PM
Natalie Frank does NOT belong in SLG's grouping of crap artists above and she is not simply a "juicy-flesh" painter in the style of Jenny Saville...

Her way of working, as mentioned, is firmly rooted in tradition...

Finally: she's lectured and taught, has been reviewed all over the place, has won a dozen awards, is in public collections, has had lots of group and solo shows over the past 11 years, and has a damn impressive educational background. She knows what she's doing.

And your point is...? We are to be impressed by her bio? Do you really imagine it surpasses that of any of the "crap artists" I posted?

Dana Schutz has a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA from Columbia. She was rapidly picked up by Saatchi and currently shows with Friedrich Petzel Gallery in New York and at Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin. She's shown in Paris, Berlin, Miami, New York, etc...

Cecily Brown is the Daughter of the well-known art critic/historian David Sylvester (best known for his book on Francis Bacon). Brown has a profound knowledge and love of art history and studied at the Slade School, London, has been featured in the Whitney Biennial, the Contemporary Museum of Fine Arts, Berlin, PS1, showed in The Triumph of Painting at Saatchi, London, and exhibits with Gagosian Galleries.

Karim Hamid is the youngest of the artists I posted, and has the least impressive bio... yet still he has a BFA from Brighton University, UK and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and has shown in Miami, Paris Basel, Chicago, New York and currently exhibits with Aureus Gallery, NY.

Jenny Saville is of course the biggest "art star" among those I posted (although neither Schutz nor Brown are far behind). She studied at Glasgow, the University of Cincinnati, and the Slade. Her entire graduate exhibition was bought by Charles Saatchi and she has repeatedly shown with Saatchi as well as at the Royal Academy of Art, London, and is currently one of Gagosian's staple artists... regularly featured in the major art press: Art News, Art in America, etc...

All of this is meaningless as to whether the work is any good... or whether you or I like it.

What's interesting (to you) in those faces is that she always paints one sharply focused eyeball which I believe is a reference to her dimensional blindness. Until last year, she was blind in her left eye and saw her three dimensional world as flat 2D images. Knowing that, I find her work with figures inside dreamlike spaces more interesting... Her mother once worked in a sex change clinic and her father is a doctor and so I can understand her fascination with bodies (and maybe our own human nature?) being formed, taken apart or transforming from one thing into another.

I have no interest in the cult of personality... or the notion that the artist's biography should make his or her work more "interesting". It either succeeds or fails visually. Of course after I find a work visually enthralling I am open to learning more about the artist.

She says her work has always been about narratives having to do with sex, gender, identity, power, violence and women whose "beauty is never simple."

Sounds like the usual BS artist's statement. "Im interested in identity and gender issues."

Again I'm reminded of William Gass' quote:

"I think it is one of the artist's obligations to create as perfectly as he or she can, not regardless of all other consequences, but in full awareness, nevertheless, that in pursuing other values -- in championing Israel or fighting for the rights of women, or defending the faith, or exposing capitalism, supporting your sexual preferences, or speaking for your race -- you may simply be putting on a saving scientific, religious, political mask to disguise your failure as an artist. Neither the world's truth nor a god's goodness will win you beauty's prize."

...she's not somebody to be dismissed just because SLG is not "overly enthralled" with her and lumps her into some arbitrarily assigned group.

Oh but Olive if Olive likes her she must be good... while she can lump all the artists I compared with her into a category of "crap artists". I suggested I wasn't overly thrilled with Frank's work... and compared he with a number of other "juicy" painters that I'm not overly thrilled with either. I certainly don't recall calling her a "crap artist".

Here, I found one that makes total sense to me.

That's fine. Should we then all either agree or hold our peace?

She's talented and skillful and worthy of respect.

Certainly she has a talent and a body of real skills... but that doesn't mean that the use she puts these to are going to impress everyone. Is she worthy of respect? I suspect no more or less than any other artist. Every artist who puts his or her work out there is open to criticism. That's simply reality.

mariposa-art
10-29-2013, 08:34 PM
I wasn't arguing vigorously against drawing. I was implying that even with the best drawing skills, without being able to paint, drawing isn't worth a light on the finished portrait. My example was to give ten artists perfectly drawn portraits and, few of those would be painted to make excellent portraits.
You seem to go around in circles. I can quote you where you try to downplay drawing, as if it has no part in it. Why argue about it at this stage of the game, with a new artist who doesn't yet have the drawing skills? IF drawing skills are important, then at some point the new artist will have to acquire these skills. You show a step-by-step portrait you did, where you "sketch" with the paint. What was the point of that? The OP hasn't done enough drawing practice yet with portraits. What is better, to "practice" drawing on an expensive canvas with expensive paints, or cheap newsprint?

I think the handling of colour, tone and other aspects of paint is more important than the drawing skills (which most artists have),
No. They don't. Many artists don't draw as well as they could. I can think of many excellent landscape painters who "can't" or "won't" paint portraits. The few times I've seen them try, the reason is obvious—their drawing skills are not as good as they should be (for portraits).
because drawing is a different skill from painting. Whereas you suggest that if one can draw to an excellent standard, then one can paint, that's just not the case in my opinion.
I never said that "if you can draw, you can paint," (because I know some people who can draw but are horrible with color), but I said that absent tracing a photograph (which has its own drawbacks and I wouldn't recommend) a "good" portrait painter WILL be able to draw, i.e. will be able to place shapes, lines, contours and these will be in proportion and recognizable as the portrait subject. Someone who can't draw well (i.e. place shapes, lines, contours in proportion) will have more problems. Like the aforementioned landscape painters, who are awesome at color, composition, brushstrokes, all that good stuff, are awesome landscape painters, but are horrible at portraits. Because their drawing skills are not good enough for that.

But go ahead and keep arguing if you like. :lol: If you really think that "most" artists can draw well enough, ask 10 artists who specialize in landscapes (you never see them do portraits) to draw a portrait of you, from life. See how many of them can bang out a moderately decent likeness in an hour. ;) (No doubt a few will, but probably not "most.") (I'm not suggesting that an artist who can't draw from life is bad at drawing, but I do think there's a connection between drawing from life frequently and having "better" drawing skills.)

Yes, just my opinion again, but then again, Kevin (the highly skilled artist who teaches) does recommend drawing from life. :D So it's not just my opinion . . . And I'm far from alone in recommending drawing from life, frequently.

stlukesguild
10-29-2013, 08:37 PM
JimR-OCDS- I haven't read all the posts, but has anyone mentioned the fact that there are people who are born with natural talent ?

They begin showing their talent when they're children and their artwork can't be matched by those of use who have to work to develop satisfactory skills, but never become masters.

What is "talent"? Most scientific studies suggest that we may be born with a predisposition to master or rapidly learn a certain body of skills, knowledge, etc... but in no way is anyone born with a talent for art any more than one is born with a talent for speaking French. Art is a language or rather a collection of languages... and as such it must be learned. Where the dispute here lies is in the fact that no single artistic language is inherently better (and thus essential). The skills needed to paint like the scribes who illuminated the Book of Kells is not the same body of skills needed by Michelangelo to carve the David.

By the way... as a teacher who works everyday with children, I can quite assure you that the finest art of children does not surpass that of the skilled "master". Yes, artists like Paul Klee and Picasso and Dubuffet found inspiration in the art of children. Children's art offered ideas with regard to unused abstractions and ideas that might have been rejected by the adult artist as too absurd... but the resulting works of children... as much as I have been inspired by it myself... in no way rivals the work of Dubuffet, Picasso, Beckmann, Klee and other masters who built upon it.

My thought is there are a million with talent, there are few who put in the hours, and fewer still that put in the right kind of hours - real learning, access to other highly skilled artisans, access to materials, being in the right culture at the right point...

True. Most of my teacher and professor friends will tell you that they would rather have a highly motivated and disciplined student than the student with outstanding abilities... but little discipline/motivation.

ianuk
10-29-2013, 08:39 PM
Someone mentioned Van Gogh earlier. So below are examples of Van Gogh's drawings and his (supposed) painting from those drawings. It could be suggested that he painted in a certain style. It could also be suggested that he was excellent with a pencil and, crap at painting what he had drawn so well.

That people have endeared themselves to his style later and his paintings have sold at high value is not the question. For me his painting skills did not match his drawing skills and he simply, improvised :)


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2013/70343-Sower-after-Millet.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2013/70343-Sower,-The.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2013/70343-Worn-Out.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2013/70343-Old-Man-in-Sorrow-On-the-Threshold-of-Eternity.jpg

mariposa-art
10-29-2013, 08:47 PM
Van Gogh draws much better than many landscape painters I know. :D Some of his paintings do have "bad" drawing and anatomy flaws, which I won't defend and call "good" drawing. (Even though he's one of my favorite artists.) But even with the bad drawing areas (not all of his drawing is bad), he did draw (and did work to improve), which many artists don't/can't/won't.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/arts/artsspecial/van-gogh-and-his-paris-years-at-the-denver-art-museum.html

“We all think he’s a genius, but he placed a lot of value on craftsmanship. When he started, he had no talent for drawing. If you look at his early drawings, they’re horrible. So how did he develop?”

The answer, Mr. Van Tilborgh said, was persistence. “If he couldn’t do it, he tried it 50 more times. He was one of those rare artists who had the energy to work through the fear of failure.”

It kind of sounds like he worked harder until he got better. Which is what we all should do, no? :D

ianuk
10-29-2013, 08:51 PM
Van Gogh draws much better than many landscape painters I know. :D Some of his paintings do have "bad" drawing and anatomy flaws, which I won't defend and call "good" drawing. (Even though he's one of my favorite artists.) But even with the bad drawing areas (not all of his drawing is bad), he did draw (and did work to improve), which many artists don't/can't/won't.

We are not writing of landscapes or people that want to paint landscapes, which do so because they probably have no interest in painting portraits, why do you keep bringing them into the equation?

I can't and wouldn't recognise Van Gogh's drawing flaws as I'm really not that much of an expert. However, I'll take your expert word for it :lol:

mariposa-art
10-29-2013, 09:00 PM
We are not writing of landscapes or people that want to paint landscapes, which do so because they probably have no interest in painting portraits, why do you keep bringing them into the equation?
Oh right, they have "no interest" in portraits? Occasionally, sure, but the artists I've encountered can't, it's not a matter of "don't want to." They attempt it and their drawing skills are not good enough. If they could draw well, it wouldn't matter what they drew or painted, it would all have the same level of accuracy.

You're the one who claimed that most artists can draw well. I was addressing that.

Occasionally an artist will specialize in landscapes or still lives, even though they can do portraits and figures wonderfully. They're not as rare as hen's teeth. But there are not as many out there as there could be, and that's because drawing isn't emphasized as much as it should be. (In my opinion, and again I'm not alone in this.)

I can't and wouldn't recognise Van Gogh's drawing flaws as I'm really not that much of an expert. However, I'll take your expert word for it :lol:
I quoted an article from the NY Times too, so it's not just my opinion. :D

If you can't recognize good and bad drawing on at least some basic level, then that is your issue. Most of us here seem to have opinions on it, though . . .:lol:

ianuk
10-29-2013, 09:07 PM
Well I don't class myself as an artist, more of a hobbyist that paints mediocre portraits to say the least.

I'd love you teach me by first drawing the original posted portrait and then painting it and posting as a WIP. I'm sure we would all would learn much from you. I'm sure I would be enthralled, pretty please :D

mariposa-art
10-29-2013, 09:15 PM
Well I don't class myself as an artist, more of a hobbyist that paints mediocre portraits to say the least.

I'd love you teach me by first drawing the original posted portrait and then painting it and posting as a WIP. I'm sure we would all would learn much from you. I'm sure I would be enthralled, pretty please :D
I would recommend a tutorial from someone on the level of Kevin, over myself. But you would know that if you read my posts! :lol:

Though you don't seem to be that invested in being an "artist," you are always downplaying yourself, you claim you don't know enough to have an opinion on Van Gogh's drawing skills (while most of the rest of us here do) but yet you still seem to have strong opinions about painting vs. drawing, what consists of a master painting (the one posted in the OP) and you seem confident that you know what makes a great painting (and you know that no one here could do it) . . . are you perhaps conflicted in some way? You seem to go around in circles. . . :D

ianuk
10-29-2013, 09:17 PM
I would recommend a tutorial from someone on the level of Kevin, over myself. But you would know that if you read my posts! :lol:

Though you don't seem to be that invested in being an "artist," you are always downplaying yourself, you claim you don't know enough to have an opinion on Van Gogh's drawing skills (while most of the rest of us here do) but yet you still seem to have strong opinions about painting vs. drawing, what consists of a master painting (the one posted in the OP) . . . are you perhaps conflicted in some way? You seem to go around in circles. . . :D

No, not conflicted at all, I know my limitations regarding art, do you?

mariposa-art
10-29-2013, 09:32 PM
No, not conflicted at all, I know my limitations regarding art, do you?
If you truly comprehended your self-proclaimed limitations, I'd think that you wouldn't on one hand say you don't have an opinion about Van Gogh's drawing skills, but yet still felt that you knew that the artwork that the OP showed was beyond most here. That doesn't add up. But, oh well.

I don't recall claiming what my limitations were, or where I was as an artist. I do say that I love to draw. (How horrible! :lol: ) I refer to Kevin W as someone whose work I admire and whose opinions I respect. His opinions about this subject (asked by the OP) are the ones I'll cite.

I'm not going to frequently repeat that I'm a hobbyist and not a "real" artist. I daresay that most people participating on this thread do fancy themselves as "real" artists in some respect, and I'm no different from them.

There are some artists and teachers whose skills and talents and knowledge I respect, and I'd be interested in hearing their opinions on the level I'm at right now, as an artist. For example, Kevin has graciously given me a few tips about how to improve my work (I'm sure he knows of many more ways I could improve) and I lap those tidbits of advice up gratefully. :) But there are others whose opinions wouldn't really matter to me, either way. :) But we're kind of getting off the point, aren't we?

ianuk
10-29-2013, 09:40 PM
We agree on the fact that few here could do the portrait in the original post. We agree that drawing skills are important, what we disagree on is, how important, because I think painting is as important if not more so than drawing. However, I do respect your belief that drawing is the what is needed for a good portrait, with of course paint after.

I most certainly agree that we have used several posts that have nothing to do with the original question (for this, my most humble apologies to the original poster)

And to you, Mariposa, happy drawing, happy painting. :)

stlukesguild
10-29-2013, 09:41 PM
Someone mentioned Van Gogh earlier. So below are examples of Van Gogh's drawings and his (supposed) painting from those drawings. It could be suggested that he painted in a certain style. It could also be suggested that he was excellent with a pencil and, crap at painting what he had drawn so well.

It could also be suggested that you are wrong. Indeed, it might even be suggested that one might question you eye with regard to "good drawing" if you honestly think those drawings rate as such.

Personally, I find Van Gogh's "Sower" to be among his most stunning paintings. The color brilliantly conveys the sense of heat and humidity:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2013/39499-the-sower-sower-with-setting-sun-1888.med.jpg

ianuk
10-29-2013, 09:48 PM
I've seen the original painting STG, this image has been enhanced digitally colour wise and posted on the net. The original is dull and was probably painted dull.

Yes, I quite admire his drawing skills, but that's because they are far better than mine.

Nevertheless, I love Van Gogh's work, every piece of it.

AllisonR
10-30-2013, 08:00 AM
Just want to point out that a lot of Van Goghs works are dull and yellow, entire red sections almost completely faded, but were not painted that way. His paintings have not survived time well.

stlukesguild
10-30-2013, 08:49 PM
Honestly, of the great many Van Gogh paintings I have seen in person, I really haven't noticed that they were dull or faded. In most instances the are far more subtle (less garish) than they appear in reproduction. I don't think Van Gogh was shooting for the sort of raw color employed later by the Fauves... who shocked the critics and audience. Gauguin's paintings often disappoint more in real life due to his use of burlap and other truly crappy painting surfaces. Painted almost wholly wet into wet they haven't suffered from the cracking or the darkening that many old master works suffered... often as a result of crappy varnishes or the use of materials such as bitumen.

I did a little looking around on the net and found that there are reports that Van Gogh's yellows... or rather some of his yellows have been mysteriously fading over the years. They have discovered that in some instances this is due to his use of an extender, barium sulphate, which has a negative reaction when combined with chrome yellow and light. Researchers are pointing especially to energy-efficient lights commonly used in museums as the culprit. They have found that paintings employing chrome yellow... especially those painted between 1887 and 1890... become unstable under LED lights and begin to deteriorate, turning a shade of brownish green. Almost surely the result of an extender employed by paint manufacturers during those years.

ianuk
10-30-2013, 09:34 PM
{Off subject, but}
I prefer the dullness of Van Goghs work to the highly glazed paintings in most museums, especially some of the very early works, the artists of the time must of had mountains of varnish to use (they obviously loved the stuff). The dullness gives them a feel that they just left the studio, they already shine, they don't need additional glazes.

snoball
11-05-2013, 01:47 PM
There are excellent artists here on WC, they have drawn for hours and hours and honed their skill and yet I doubt there would be more than one or two in their whole lifetime that could emulate such a portrait.



OK, maybe you are right (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=19846945#post19846945) but you'll have to cut me some slack, the only drawing I did was 2 lines to divide the support into fourths. :p

ianuk
11-05-2013, 02:56 PM
OK, maybe you are right (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=19846945#post19846945) but you'll have to cut me some slack, the only drawing I did was 2 lines to divide the support into fourths. :p

Beautiful portrait, you're obviously one of the few, it's something I never doubted :heart: Are you also familiar with the word 'bait'? :)

snoball
11-05-2013, 03:29 PM
Thank you kind sir. Yes, I am quite familiar with the term. Seems that is why I had to paint this one. :)

JimR-OCDS
11-05-2013, 05:19 PM
AllisonR



This is the biggest load of bunk I have ever heard. So you, and me, and Dear Jane all work at our art to develop our skills, while others with talent have artwork just gushing out of them? What lazy bums they must be. Bunk. Even if one agrees with the premise that some are more talented than others, those that become masters did so IN ADDITION TO - they busted their butts every day - they drew, and drew, and drew, and painted, over and over.


Well Allison, was a little reluctant to reply to your post, fearing you're carrying too much emotional baggage to have a rational conversation, but let me try.

People who have natural born talent also work to develop themselves in which they become world renown masters.

I can't speak for others, but yeah I work to develop my skills and have improved them. But I start at a different place than the masters do.

I know, I've seen such skill in child prodigies whether it's in music or art.

Those prodigies who work to develop their skills from the natural skills they have, go beyond others who have to begin with far lesser skills.

This is a fact of life, and I'm glad God makes such people, I'm not jealous of them or begrudge them.

Regards
Jim

stlukesguild
11-05-2013, 06:30 PM
People who have natural born talent also work to develop themselves in which they become world renown masters.

I can't speak for others, but yeah I work to develop my skills and have improved them. But I start at a different place than the masters do.

I know, I've seen such skill in child prodigies whether it's in music or art.

Those prodigies who work to develop their skills from the natural skills they have, go beyond others who have to begin with far lesser skills.

This is a fact of life, and I'm glad God makes such people, I'm not jealous of them or begrudge them.

I think it was Clement Greenberg who suggested that child prodigies are wholly irrelevant to art... and only really seem to matter to music. How many "masters" can you name who began as child prodigies? For all my background in Art History I can name but 3 or 4.

Most child prodigies in art are advanced for their age... but rarely continue to develop at an advanced rate beyond others.

ianuk
11-05-2013, 06:35 PM
People who have natural born talent also work to develop themselves in which they become world renown masters.

I can't speak for others, but yeah I work to develop my skills and have improved them. But I start at a different place than the masters do.

I know, I've seen such skill in child prodigies whether it's in music or art.

Those prodigies who work to develop their skills from the natural skills they have, go beyond others who have to begin with far lesser skills.

This is a fact of life, and I'm glad God makes such people, I'm not jealous of them or begrudge them.

I think it was Clement Greenberg who suggested that child prodigies are wholly irrelevant to art... and only really seem to matter to music. How many "masters" can you name who began as child prodigies? For all my background in Art History I can name but 3 or 4.

Most child prodigies in art are advanced for their age... but rarely continue to develop at an advanced rate beyond others.


I agree and don't think there are many child prodigies in the world of art. I do however believe, there are those with more natural talent that are able to achieve higher results and I think to deny such is a little banal.. If not even verging on ludicrous....

JimR-OCDS
11-05-2013, 06:37 PM
stlukesguild

I think it was Clement Greenberg who suggested that child prodigies are wholly irrelevant to art... and only really seem to matter to music. How many "masters" can you name who began as child prodigies? For all my background in Art History I can name but 3 or 4.


I don't know, but it could be that masters of the past, their work when they were kids wasn't kept ? Many grew up poor and keeping a child's work wasn't common practice for some reason.

Most child prodigies in art are advanced for their age... but rarely continue to develop at an advanced rate beyond others.


Well, I only know one, who did go on to art college and became a professional artist. I saw his work when he was in the 5th grade, and I wish I could produce stuff as good as that today.

Jim

ArtSavesLives
11-05-2013, 06:46 PM
The best way to perfect your skill is to spend more time with your sketchbook, and hopefully a live model (even your own reflection) . . . and less time reading about how to draw or watching how-to videos! I have a book-shelf full of books that actually contributed very little to my development compared to the volume of paper I have messed up with endless trial and error . . . and once in a great while a break-through success.

mariposa-art
11-05-2013, 07:37 PM
The best way to perfect your skill is to spend more time with your sketchbook, and hopefully a live model (even your own reflection) . . . and less time reading about how to draw or watching how-to videos! I have a book-shelf full of books that actually contributed very little to my development compared to the volume of paper I have messed up with endless trial and error . . . and once in a great while a break-through success.
:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

brianvds
11-05-2013, 09:47 PM
I think it was Clement Greenberg who suggested that child prodigies are wholly irrelevant to art... and only really seem to matter to music. How many "masters" can you name who began as child prodigies? For all my background in Art History I can name but 3 or 4.

Most child prodigies in art are advanced for their age... but rarely continue to develop at an advanced rate beyond others.

Well, I don't know, when I read through biographies of the great masters of the past, whenever there are any pictures available that they did in their youth, almost all of them seem pretty much like child prodigies to me.

It is noteworthy, mind you, that in all fields one phenomenon is very common: the child prodigies almost all either burn out, or become successful but relatively unremarkable in their field.

Apparently, prodigious talent is not the only ingredient of genius.

ianuk
11-06-2013, 08:39 AM
Well didn't your parents tell you 'If it's easy it never lasts?' Take talent, hard work, dedication and throw in a bit of tenacity and perseverance, self belief and practice, practice, practice and voilla, you got yourself a master. Simple.

bleu
11-06-2013, 10:48 AM
stlukesguild



I don't know, but it could be that masters of the past, their work when they were kids wasn't kept ? Many grew up poor and keeping a child's work wasn't common practice for some reason.

Jim

I'd guess this might be the reason they didn't keep the "child's' art work in the past -- because for long periods there were apprenticeships. Very young kids with great talent were apprenticed or worked in artist studios because there was money in it eventually. Some of these teenagers became great artists and probably most were very good artists. Child prodigies in our time have no work to continue past childhood. They aren't grabbed by a desire to create or a necessity to create.

JimR-OCDS
11-06-2013, 11:05 AM
I'd guess this might be the reason they didn't keep the "child's' art work in the past -- because for long periods there were apprenticeships. Very young kids with great talent were apprenticed or worked in artist studios because there was money in it eventually. Some of these teenagers became great artists and probably most were very good artists. Child prodigies in our time have no work to continue past childhood. They aren't grabbed by a desire to create or a necessity to create.

Well, I see your point.

Just doing a google search for child prodigy artist, brought up 10 who are exceptional.

Will we see these kids as adult artists ? I don't know, I hope so.

Of course none of this stops the rest of us from working on developing our skills and our love for art.

Love of art is what motivates most of us and if you do something with passion, you'll get positive results even among the weeds you produce in the process.




Jim

stlukesguild
11-06-2013, 08:13 PM
Well, I don't know, when I read through biographies of the great masters of the past, whenever there are any pictures available that they did in their youth, almost all of them seem pretty much like child prodigies to me.

That's not "prodigy" you are looking at. That's training. During the Middle Ages, the Renaissance... on through the end of the guild system... individuals showing artistic talent would be apprenticed to masters at age 14 or younger. If we look at one of the most gifted artists of all time, we find that he was certainly more skilled than the average adolescent...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-Buonarotti-scala.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-Battle_Centaurs.jpg

... we find that they are certainly impressive for a 17-year old... but then again, the artist had already been studying under Domenico Ghirlandaio and was then afforded the greatest honor of being selected for Lorenzo de' Medici new school based upon Humanist and Neo-PLatonic ideals which gave the young artist access to works by Donatello, Ghiberti, and other Renaissance masters... as well as Greco-Roman originals. Nevertheless, no one would mistake either of these works for a masterpiece.

Michelangelo's first real masterpiece was probably the Bacchus, begun at age 21:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-Michelangelo_Bacchus_2.jpg

Even looking at the early sections of the Sistine... begun at age 33... we find the artist far from masterful:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-sistine-judith-holofernes-wga.med.jpg

... unlike his efforts a short time later:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-Ezekiel.sm.JPG

One of the true prodigies among the old masters was Albrecht Durer. His self portrait, age 13, is quite impressive... all the more so considering the rarity of self-portraiture at the time:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-01self13.med.jpg

Still it remains the work of a talented child in comparison with his self portraits age 18...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-BeFunky_05self26.jpg.jpg

... or 21

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-BeFunky_1self28.jpg

It is noteworthy, mind you, that in all fields one phenomenon is very common: the child prodigies almost all either burn out, or become successful but relatively unremarkable in their field.

Again, I would argue that the sole exception is in the realm of music where we find any number of child prodigies among composers (Mozart being but the most famous) but even more prodigies among performers: violinists, pianists, cellists, etc...

Apparently, prodigious talent is not the only ingredient of genius.

One might suspect that after being pushed for years by parents, many prodigies lack the self-drive... or become tired of being pushed... when they are left to their own devices.

kebohs
11-06-2013, 08:42 PM
We'll said, it takes many hours and years to become an accomplished artist. Don't give up, we all struggle.

brianvds
11-06-2013, 09:46 PM
That's not "prodigy" you are looking at. That's training. During the Middle Ages, the Renaissance... on through the end of the guild system... individuals showing artistic talent would be apprenticed to masters at age 14 or younger. If we look at one of the most gifted artists of all time, we find that he was certainly more skilled than the average adolescent...

I'd be curious to see the work of other 17 year-old apprentices from the same time period. Is it all at that kind of level, I wonder? And of course, they would all have been very talented, because I do not think that in those days a master artist would take on as pupil any kids that were not at least above average.

[COLOR="DarkRed"]It is noteworthy, mind you, that in all fields one phenomenon is very common: the child prodigies almost all either burn out, or become successful but relatively unremarkable in their field.

Again, I would argue that the sole exception is in the realm of music where we find any number of child prodigies among composers (Mozart being but the most famous) but even more prodigies among performers: violinists, pianists, cellists, etc...

I think most or many of those performers would fall under my category of people who became successful but relatively unremarkable. One can play an instrument only so well - some learn to do it in a few years, and some take twenty years, but both eventually get there.

I do find it interesting that performance has become a skill that is nowadays often very separate from composition. In the days of Mozart and Beethoven, composers were very frequently also top notch performers; off the top of my head I cannot think of a single of our current prominent composers who are also famous as performers.

One might suspect that after being pushed for years by parents, many prodigies lack the self-drive... or become tired of being pushed... when they are left to their own devices.

This may well be part of it, though perhaps not the whole story.

I like the study of genius, precisely because there are no very solid answers yet. :-)

JimR-OCDS
11-06-2013, 10:00 PM
Well, I don't know, when I read through biographies of the great masters of the past, whenever there are any pictures available that they did in their youth, almost all of them seem pretty much like child prodigies to me.

That's not "prodigy" you are looking at. That's training. During the Middle Ages, the Renaissance... on through the end of the guild system... individuals showing artistic talent would be apprenticed to masters at age 14 or younger. If we look at one of the most gifted artists of all time, we find that he was certainly more skilled than the average adolescent...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-Buonarotti-scala.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-Battle_Centaurs.jpg

... we find that they are certainly impressive for a 17-year old... but then again, the artist had already been studying under Domenico Ghirlandaio and was then afforded the greatest honor of being selected for Lorenzo de' Medici new school based upon Humanist and Neo-PLatonic ideals which gave the young artist access to works by Donatello, Ghiberti, and other Renaissance masters... as well as Greco-Roman originals. Nevertheless, no one would mistake either of these works for a masterpiece.

Michelangelo's first real masterpiece was probably the Bacchus, begun at age 21:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-Michelangelo_Bacchus_2.jpg

Even looking at the early sections of the Sistine... begun at age 33... we find the artist far from masterful:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-sistine-judith-holofernes-wga.med.jpg

... unlike his efforts a short time later:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-Ezekiel.sm.JPG

One of the true prodigies among the old masters was Albrecht Durer. His self portrait, age 13, is quite impressive... all the more so considering the rarity of self-portraiture at the time:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-01self13.med.jpg

Still it remains the work of a talented child in comparison with his self portraits age 18...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-BeFunky_05self26.jpg.jpg

... or 21

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/39499-BeFunky_1self28.jpg

It is noteworthy, mind you, that in all fields one phenomenon is very common: the child prodigies almost all either burn out, or become successful but relatively unremarkable in their field.

Again, I would argue that the sole exception is in the realm of music where we find any number of child prodigies among composers (Mozart being but the most famous) but even more prodigies among performers: violinists, pianists, cellists, etc...

Apparently, prodigious talent is not the only ingredient of genius.

One might suspect that after being pushed for years by parents, many prodigies lack the self-drive... or become tired of being pushed... when they are left to their own devices.

But were they not only accepted as apprentices because of the natural abilities a master saw in them to begin with ?

Not everyone was accepted into apprenticeships just out of desire.

It was actually one of the flaws of such a system.

Jim

DavidPriestley
11-07-2013, 07:05 AM
Is portraiture a specialised area that I might not have a talent for? If I am to reach this level of sophistication, how should I start? Any video tutorials I can follow or a process... I don't even know where to start.

Personaly, I've found that it's just the same as with anything else, the more you do something then the better you get at doing it. It's not that portraiture is a specialised area that you might not have a talent for, it's more that portraiture is a specialised area that you haven't become experienced at yet.

Practice, keep doing portaits, look at yourself in a mirror and paint what you see, find or take photos of people and paint them. You may not be completely happy with the first ones you do but you will gradualy develop into a competant portrait artist.

Be patient and keep persevering and it'll happen for you eventualy.

mariposa-art
11-07-2013, 01:42 PM
There are people who are masterful and brilliant at art; some started at a young age and were prodigies, others started a little older but are still brilliant. All you need to do is go to DeviantArt.com and you'll see lots of "kids" (age 13-17) who show some amazing ability. True, most of them are doing cartooning/anime, but underneath that you can see excellent line, color, drawing . . . (though I think that a truer test of their "raw" ability can be to see them paint/draw what they see accurately). But still, undoubtedly these kids are amazing. Are all of them prodigies? How many of them will go on to be great masters? There are so many of them.

I was ahead for my age. I have some artworks I did at 13 that were pretty good. But I just loved art and I worked at it a lot. I was no prodigy, and if I were, how depressing, because see where I am now! :lol: But I was not.

I think sometimes others will throw around claims of "talent" and "prodigy" to get themselves off the hook. YES, there are people with talent, with a genuine aptitude, but most of it is hard work. If you don't want to struggle, cry, do hundreds of sketches or paintings that suck before you get to something decent, then maybe you can just say you're not "talented" and leave it at that. But if you are willing to struggle, cry, study and do all those sketches, who knows where you might end up? :D

jaka44
11-07-2013, 04:20 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Nov-2013/980050-IMG_3915_-_Copy.JPG




http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Nov-2013/980050-IMG_3912.JPG






Acrylics, 2.5 x 3.5 inches. I'm not going to let Snoball have all the fun. :D

ianuk
11-07-2013, 05:41 PM
I could do better than both, not going to though :evil: :evil:

snoball
11-07-2013, 05:46 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Nov-2013/980050-IMG_3915_-_Copy.JPG




http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Nov-2013/980050-IMG_3912.JPG






Acrylics, 2.5 x 3.5 inches. I'm not going to let Snoball have all the fun. :D

Excellent!

snoball
11-07-2013, 05:47 PM
I could do better than both, not going to though :evil: :evil:
Of course you could, if you just would!:angel:

Or you could just finish up the old master copies you have already started. :evil:

jaka44
11-07-2013, 05:50 PM
Thanks Snoball!


Ianuk, don't worry, we'll do your light work for you.

ianuk
11-07-2013, 05:56 PM
Thank you Jaka! I love this place (at times) :) By the way, great portrait, even more so at that size, incredible!

stlukesguild
11-07-2013, 08:43 PM
I'd be curious to see the work of other 17 year-old apprentices from the same time period. Is it all at that kind of level, I wonder? And of course, they would all have been very talented, because I do not think that in those days a master artist would take on as pupil any kids that were not at least above average.

The question might be just how did they judge who was worthy or not worthy to take on as an apprentice? We should remember that there were no amateur artists. Art was not a hobby. Art materials were quite expensive... even paper... and unless a child had an artist parent he likely would have had little experience with art of any sort prior to the apprenticeship. Parents often paid to place their children under a talented master, although there were a few rare circumstances where the pupil proved so talented that the master would take him on gratis... or even pay a small stipend to the parent.

SLG (quote)- Again, I would argue that the sole exception is in the realm of music where we find any number of child prodigies among composers (Mozart being but the most famous) but even more prodigies among performers: violinists, pianists, cellists, etc...

I think most or many of those performers would fall under my category of people who became successful but relatively unremarkable. One can play an instrument only so well - some learn to do it in a few years, and some take twenty years, but both eventually get there.

Most classical musicians... like ballerinas or gymnasts... begin quite young. Just a few child prodigies in the world of classical music:

W.A. Mozart
Charles Alkan
Martha Argerich
Claudio Arrau
Daniel Barenboim
Vincenzo Bellini
Georges Bizet
Lili Boulanger
Frédéric Chopin
Georges Cziffra
Glenn Gould
Evgeny Kissin
Franz Liszt
Sergei Prokofiev
Camille Saint-Saëns
Jacqueline du Pré
Sarah Chang
Yo-Yo Ma
Yehudi Menuhin
Anne-Sophie Mutter
Gregor Piatigorsky
Ruggiero Ricci
Samuel Barber
Felix Mendelssohn
Erich Korngold
Lorin Maazel
Gian Carlo Menotti
Niccolò Paganini
Henry Purcell

I do find it interesting that performance has become a skill that is nowadays often very separate from composition. In the days of Mozart and Beethoven, composers were very frequently also top notch performers; off the top of my head I cannot think of a single of our current prominent composers who are also famous as performers.

I think in part this is due to the fact that genre demanding a virtuoso performer (the piano concerto, violin concerto, piano/violin sonata) are no longer as central to musical composition as they once were. Symphonic music is far more important. Indeed, I'd have a hard time naming many contemporary composers known for writing works that demand virtuoso soloists.

Berlioz and Wagner... two of the most innovative composers in terms of orchestration... were but mediocre pianists at best.

DavidPriestley
11-13-2013, 06:37 AM
There are people who are masterful and brilliant at art; some started at a young age and were prodigies, others started a little older but are still brilliant. All you need to do is go to DeviantArt.com and you'll see lots of "kids" (age 13-17) who show some amazing ability. True, most of them are doing cartooning/anime, but underneath that you can see excellent line, color, drawing . . . (though I think that a truer test of their "raw" ability can be to see them paint/draw what they see accurately). But still, undoubtedly these kids are amazing. Are all of them prodigies? How many of them will go on to be great masters? There are so many of them.

I was ahead for my age. I have some artworks I did at 13 that were pretty good. But I just loved art and I worked at it a lot. I was no prodigy, and if I were, how depressing, because see where I am now! :lol: But I was not.

I think sometimes others will throw around claims of "talent" and "prodigy" to get themselves off the hook. YES, there are people with talent, with a genuine aptitude, but most of it is hard work. If you don't want to struggle, cry, do hundreds of sketches or paintings that suck before you get to something decent, then maybe you can just say you're not "talented" and leave it at that. But if you are willing to struggle, cry, study and do all those sketches, who knows where you might end up? :D

I completely agree with all of this.

slingbladefan
11-19-2013, 05:13 PM
I am soooo going to try out this method! Its kind of like when teachers tell you to squint at an image and rough in the darks you see I think

JimR-OCDS
11-19-2013, 05:44 PM
There are people who are masterful and brilliant at art; some started at a young age and were prodigies, others started a little older but are still brilliant. All you need to do is go to DeviantArt.com and you'll see lots of "kids" (age 13-17) who show some amazing ability. True, most of them are doing cartooning/anime, but underneath that you can see excellent line, color, drawing . . . (though I think that a truer test of their "raw" ability can be to see them paint/draw what they see accurately). But still, undoubtedly these kids are amazing. Are all of them prodigies? How many of them will go on to be great masters? There are so many of them.

I was ahead for my age. I have some artworks I did at 13 that were pretty good. But I just loved art and I worked at it a lot. I was no prodigy, and if I were, how depressing, because see where I am now! :lol: But I was not.

I think sometimes others will throw around claims of "talent" and "prodigy" to get themselves off the hook. YES, there are people with talent, with a genuine aptitude, but most of it is hard work. If you don't want to struggle, cry, do hundreds of sketches or paintings that suck before you get to something decent, then maybe you can just say you're not "talented" and leave it at that. But if you are willing to struggle, cry, study and do all those sketches, who knows where you might end up? :D

Just visited DeviantArt.com. Now I want to burn all my paintings and chock all my ideas on painting up to stupidity. :D

Just kidding of course.

The traditional art there is unbelievable.

Jim

Jody Schmidt
11-20-2013, 08:15 AM
I read through 1/2 the comments here before posting and see it has already been hinted at by Olive, among others, but lack of aptitude to produce naturalistic portrait paintings is only a shortcoming if it is something you value that you cannot yet do. If you want to paint realistic portraits, then it is a personal quest and you should put whatever time and effort you can afford into it to improve this technical skill.

With no disrespect intended, I believe such an effort to be a great waste of time. My suggestion is to de-value realistic portrait painting. Yes, a photorealistic portrait gets a few oohs and ahhs, but that's about it. Unless new ground is broken in the style and method of painting and composition, it is pretty much useless. Maybe resume padding for some commission or for your art school application portfolio, but not much else.

Originality is all that matters. In style, medium, method, subject, whatever. Many try to argue this point over and over again, but when the centuries pass, it always holds up, no exceptions. Close seconds are an understanding of the human condition, expressive force and other stuff like that.

Detach yourself from all the fury and mire of daily petty art struggles and get broader about it. Return to and revisit the true masters, such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Picasso, Pollock, Monet, Michelangelo, Cezanne, and toss a few writers in there for good measure, such as Dante, Shakespeare, Melville, Milton and Keats, and maybe a few cinematic masterworks while you are at it, such as Mothlight and Breathless. Stay aware of what is happening now, but don't be obsessed with following current trends. Very few of the true masters ever followed or chased trends. They were aware of the larger contemporary currents and may have painted in a current style, and also typically deeply respected a few past masters but, for the most part, they created trends.

Maybe focus on 5 great masters you admire and 2 current painting styles that capture your interest and go from there. Be exclusive not inclusive in this, otherwise, you will scatter your efforts and learning all over the place and will end up thinking too much is happening that you cannot hope to follow and may feel hopeless. This is a great deception that has caused many greats to stray. Many find their way back. Some do not.

stlukesguild
11-20-2013, 05:53 PM
I read through 1/2 the comments here before posting and see it has already been hinted at by Olive, among others, but lack of aptitude to produce naturalistic portrait paintings is only a shortcoming if it is something you value that you cannot yet do. If you want to paint realistic portraits, then it is a personal quest and you should put whatever time and effort you can afford into it to improve this technical skill.

With no disrespect intended, I believe such an effort to be a great waste of time.

Why? Certainly there are many artists of real merit who continue to value such skills... and many among the art audience who do the same.

My suggestion is to de-value realistic portrait painting.

Again, why?

Yes, a photorealistic portrait gets a few oohs and ahhs, but that's about it.

Really? So that's all the response afforded to Chuck Close:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2013/39499-artwork_images_826_156624_chuck-close.jpg

Jacques Henri Lartigue:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2013/39499-artwork_images_423824018_435721_hubert-delartigue.jpg

Gerhard Richter:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2013/39499-4760.jpg

Gottfried Helnwein:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2013/39499-gh2160s.jpg

Daniel Sprick:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2013/39499-08a-DSC03782.med.jpg

"Photorealism" is a specific style of realism rooted in the near mechanical reproduction of photographic imagery. It should not be confused with Realism as a whole or Naturalism.

Unless new ground is broken in the style and method of painting and composition, it is pretty much useless.

According to whom? Lets look at a few sculpture:

This was carved in the 4th century BC:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2013/39499-hermes_by_praxiteles.s.JPG

This was carved nearly 2000 years later, in 1497:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2013/39499-12.JPG

This was carved yet another 250 years later:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2013/39499-NG_2626.jpg

... and this was carved c. 1938:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2013/39499-6a00e39826d2c788330105369c1387970b-500wi.jpg

Now there are certainly stylistic differences that one would expect looking at the works of different artists, and there are surely small elements suggestive of the time and place in which they were made... but I fail to see any dramatic stylistic or compositional break... in spite of the fact that all of the works in question are major works by major artists.

The problem is that your very idea of necessity of continually breaking new ground stylistically is an out-dated concept rooted in Modernist theory. Arthur C. Danto suggested that our period witnessed the "end of art"... his idea being not that Art would no longer be created, but rather there was no longer a clear notion of what Art was... anything could be Art. Donald Kuspit preferred to speak of "Post-Aesthetic Art" and suggested that the notion that "anything could be art" had led to the plethora of crap like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. Kuspit championed what he termed the "New Old Masterism"... or art rooted in the traditional skills and values of Western Art History. This need not mean a reactionary pastiche of 19th century academicism, ala the art promoted by the ARC.

Maybe resume padding for some commission or for your art school application portfolio, but not much else. Originality is all that matters.

Really? Again, according to whom? Let's look at one near contemporary artist:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2013/39499-BeFunky_06iuzqlx.jpg.jpg

At the time of his death, in 2001, Balthus was the most highly priced artist in the world. His paintings sold for millions. He was championed by fellow artists including André Malraux, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, André Masson, Federico Fellini, Henri Cartier-Bresson & Jan Saudek. He has a painting in the Louvre and has been honored with exhibitions in MoMA NY, Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, the Tate Gallery, London, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY... including a current exhibition.

Balthus' influences include primarily: Courbet, Edgar Degas, Félix Vallotton, Paul Cézanne, Ingres, Poussin, Japanese art, and especially the painters of the early Italian Renaissance: Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Simone Martini, Fra Angelico, etc... In spite of the fact that his art is clearly rooted in older traditions and offers little suggestive of dramatically breaking new ground with regard to style, he remains an important 20th century painter.

One could say the same... to an even greater extent... of Lucian Freud:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2013/39499-NakedPortraitwithReflectionsmall.JPG

Freud's paintings owe more to older traditional masters such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Velazquez than he does to any Modern artists... and yet he stands as one of the dominant figures in late 20th century painting influencing artists such as Anne Gale, Paul Fenniak, Alex Kanevsky, and Jenny Saville.

Great art always exudes something of the artist's unique vision... something that makes it immediately recognizable... but this is something different from mere novelty or originality of style.

Many try to argue this point over and over again, but when the centuries pass, it always holds up, no exceptions.

It is easy to make such statement... yet I have already drawn them into question with but a few examples. I will gladly bombard you with endless examples of artists whose works have survived regardless of a lack of some dramatic breaking away from tradition. There are but few real ground-breaking shifts in Art History and these are brought about by individuals such as Giotto, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Monet, Picasso, etc... But around each of these artists are any number of others who built upon these innovations... or upon early traditions... and achieved a body of art that still stands among the finest.

Detach yourself from all the fury and mire of daily petty art struggles and get broader about it. Return to and revisit the true masters, such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Picasso, Pollock, Monet, Michelangelo, Cezanne, and toss a few writers in there for good measure, such as Dante, Shakespeare, Melville, Milton and Keats, and maybe a few cinematic masterworks while you are at it, such as Mothlight and Breathless. Stay aware of what is happening now, but don't be obsessed with following current trends. Very few of the true masters ever followed or chased trends. They were aware of the larger contemporary currents and may have painted in a current style, and also typically deeply respected a few past masters but, for the most part, they created trends.

No artist creates trends. Trends are created when other artists... and subsequent artists... deem that a given artist's innovations are important and something to build upon. In the 1950s the average well-informed art lover would have burst out laughing at the suggestion that Duchamp be seen as an equal to Matisse or Picasso. Today, as a result of the spread of Conceptual Art, Duchamp is revered as one of the great father figures. In another 50 years he might again be seen as little more than a clown and a wannabe.

There is nothing wrong with desiring to copy the works of a beloved master. Such can be a great learning experience. I made any number of copies after Michelangelo and Leonardo. I learned much about how to make the viewer see and understand the forms I was drawing and this helped me immensely when I turned to drawing from life. My own personal work is rooted in a degree of realism... but is also quite stylized. My "style" is something that evolved over time... rather the same way that my signature evolved. It was not the result of consciously deciding that I wished to be an Impressionists, or Expressionist or Realist. It was the result of all the art I admired, the colors I prefer, the subjects I am drawn to, the choices I make with regard to composition, etc...

brianvds
11-20-2013, 09:25 PM
Why? Certainly there are many artists of real merit who continue to value such skills... and many among the art audience who do the same.

Indeed; in my experience, the people who most denigrate technical skill are almost always the people who do not possess such skills themselves.

mariposa-art
11-20-2013, 09:51 PM
Indeed; in my experience, the people who most denigrate technical skill are almost always the people who do not possess such skills themselves.
I came here to say the same thing.

ianuk
11-21-2013, 12:46 AM
Indeed; in my experience, the people who most denigrate technical skill are almost always the people who do not possess such skills themselves.

I admire any technical skill. However, one could say the same of people that praise technical skill, that they themselves have little or no technical skill, is there a difference?

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 01:34 AM
I'm pretty sure guys like Richard Schmid (http://www.richardschmid.com/) value technical skill. I know he thinks drawing is important. Is he someone with little or no technical skill?

ianuk
11-21-2013, 02:02 AM
I'm pretty sure guys like Richard Schmid (http://www.richardschmid.com/) value technical skill. I know he thinks drawing is important. Is he someone with little or no technical skill?

I don't understand how Richard Schmid has anything to do with people who value or don't value technical skill as having it themselves, that's kind of crazy. It's kind of like saying only people that have technical skills can value such in others, whilst those with no technical skills denigrate. weird.

As an add on, technical skill is indeed important. However, regardless of how much technical skill one has, without all the other ingredients, imagination, emotion, passion, innovation, soul and whatever else there may be that goes into a work of art (notice 'work of art'). Technical skill is no more than a way of producing something that is technically correct.

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 02:23 AM
Dude, whatever, sometimes it's hard to figure out what you're saying. :lol:

Brian was observing that those who often denigrate technical skill have none of it themselves. Sure, there are probably those who don't have technical skill but value it. But that's not what we're talking about here.

WHEN someone is denigrating technical skill, Brian notes that MOST OFTEN it is someone who doesn't have skill themselves. (I'm sure there are exceptions to this, as there always are.) Those who worked to possess a technical skill, are excellent at it, understand the depths of expression they can attain due to it (it makes it possible to do things that they could not otherwise do), and so forth and so on, those who have an UNDERSTANDING of the skill, are far less likely denigrate it and discourage others from attaining it.

I would venture to guess that most of the time, those who denigrate it do so because they do NOT possess the skill, are NOT able to understand the different ways of expressing themselves that is only possible through that skill, and therefore are talking about something that they themselves cannot possibly truly comprehend. (They may think they do, in fact they may protest loudly that they do. But often, they actually don't. :lol: )

On the other hand, someone like Richard Schmid is less likely to denigrate technical skill, because he knows how valuable it's been to him to create art. His work is not JUST about technical skill, as he's considered a brilliant artist and not just a soulless technician. But he does understand what the value is in technical skill, since he actually does things with it.

ianuk
11-21-2013, 02:24 AM
Just for the record. Several years ago, I conversed for a while with Molly Schmid (daughter of said third party) she told me to just paint however I wanted, to enjoy it, be bold and not get too hung up on the fine details...

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 02:27 AM
Just for the record. Several years ago, I conversed for a while with Molly Schmid (daughter of said third party) she told me to just paint however I wanted, to enjoy it, be bold and not get too hung up on the fine details...
Well, I'm sure Richard would tell you to enjoy and be bold too. But did Molly tell you to eschew attaining skill? And even if she did, do you think she spoke for her father?

(BTW, sometimes a person who is advising us can discern something about our personality, and adjust their advice due to that. It very well may be that Molly would tell someone else something completely different. . . Who knows?)

ianuk
11-21-2013, 02:39 AM
(BTW, sometimes a person who is advising us can discern something about our personality, and adjust their advice due to that. It very well may be that Molly would tell someone else something completely different. . . Who knows?)

That's quite a slight there, but I don't mind at all, I'm not deluded about my skills or my prowess concerning technical skill or art, as some are, nor do I denigrate those that have such skill. I do however, not have much time for those that think that they possess great technical skill because they've read a few books.

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 02:55 AM
That's quite a slight there, but I don't mind at all, I'm not deluded about my skills or my prowess concerning technical skill or art, as some are, nor do I denigrate those that have such skill. I do however, not have much time for those that think that they possess great technical skill because they've read a few books.
You took it that way, and that's on you, not me.

When I was writing that, I was thinking, "This is a guy who constantly says he's 'not an artist' and just a hobbyist."

So why wouldn't you be told to just have fun with it? That's what I'd want to be told if I was enjoying a hobby.

And if you are trying to make some dig at me (not sure if you are or not) then you missed the point. (What's all this with "read a few books" as if that has a lot to do with this? :confused: ) Regardless, I've already stated that there are some whose advice and opinions I seek out and value, and there are others whose opinions mean nothing either way to me, remember? :D That's how we all should be. No need to take every random person's opinion too much to heart, you know? :lol:

ianuk
11-21-2013, 03:04 AM
I don't take every persons opinion to heart, there are those that I admire for their technical skill and, I follow their advice. Others, I just take with a pinch of salt.
(not personal to you of course) :lol:

jaka44
11-21-2013, 03:27 AM
Man....you two should date...jk

ianuk
11-21-2013, 03:33 AM
I'm sure Mariposa would love to date me, unfortunatley, I'm unavailable at the moment! Seems sometimes the heavens, just can't get it right! :(

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 03:45 AM
I'm sure Mariposa would love to date me, unfortunatley, I'm unavailable at the moment! Seems sometimes the heavens, just can't get it right! :(
No, the heavens are just right! :wave: :thumbsup:

ianuk
11-21-2013, 03:56 AM
No, the heavens are just right! :wave: :thumbsup:I agree, my girlfriend just dumped me, whoa!!! How spooky is that? :lol:

brianvds
11-21-2013, 08:40 AM
Brian was observing that those who often denigrate technical skill have none of it themselves. Sure, there are probably those who don't have technical skill but value it. But that's not what we're talking about here.

Yes. I was trying to be polite. Put more bluntly, very often people who denigrate "mere" technical skill are plain jealous. :-)

JimR-OCDS
11-21-2013, 10:04 AM
I think the bottom line here is, whatever you do with passion, will turn out well in the end.



Jim

Jody Schmidt
11-21-2013, 12:07 PM
Yes. I was trying to be polite. Put more bluntly, very often people who denigrate "mere" technical skill are plain jealous. :-) Poor Jackson Pollock! He must be looking down with jealousy at all the technically endowed on these forums! Kidding. Sarcastic, but called for considering the narrowness of the accusation.

Some are purposeful primitives, who willfully prevent any technical development beyond the bare basics, hoping that their limited skills will compel them to tap into something different to get their visions across. Use any thing, any way.

I have a reasonable amount of guitar and drum playing skill (developed when I sweated Jimmy Page and Neal Peart back in the 1980s), but detune it, detach from it, abandon it, do whatever I can to get away from it whenever I dabble in experimental music. For me, it is constricting. I cannot speak for everyone, though, and realize that.

Same with sketching and painting style. I took it to a certain degree several years back, but will never ever ever again try to paint anything whatsoever in a realistic or representative style. It just seems small-minded, especially since photography eliminated the need to record portraits, landscapes and so on. Just seems wasteful. Call it envy all you want. Maybe it is at some root level, since I deliberately abruptly halted all technical development and never intend to resume it. Maybe some part of me regrets that decision. Not sure

Jody Schmidt
11-21-2013, 12:29 PM
To follow up just a bit more:
There may indeed be that moment when Jay-Z has a flash of envy for the classical cellist whom he watches play at the fundraising recital. So, considering the likelihood that something like that scenario has occured for Jay-Z, Eminem, Kanye West or 50 Cent, I guess it is possible that some have occasional pangs of envy here and there at prodigies and so on, but if their vision is strong, it will never likely affect them beyond a moment or two.

The issue then becomes:
Does that flash of envy from Jay-Z say anything whatsoever about who is the superior creative and musical talent between him and the cellist?
Of course not. Jay-Z is almost certainly universes above every second rate, fossilized classical musician in every symphony orchestra on the planet. And, he has nothing more than his supremely talented and unique voice and his vision. Otherwise, it is simply predatory to pounce upon feelings of inadequacy or envy, since they afflict just about every artist at some point in their lives and, as history has shown, feelings of jealousy between artists often says little about the relative artistic greatness of one or the other.

jaka44
11-21-2013, 12:53 PM
Poor Jackson Pollock! He must be looking down with jealousy at all the technically endowed on these forums! Kidding. Sarcastic, but called for considering the narrowness of the accusation.

Some are purposeful primitives, who willfully prevent any technical development beyond the bare basics, hoping that their limited skills will compel them to tap into something different to get their visions across. Use any thing, any way.

I have a reasonable amount of guitar and drum playing skill (developed when I sweated Jimmy Page and Neal Peart back in the 1980s), but detune it, detach from it, abandon it, do whatever I can to get away from it whenever I dabble in experimental music. For me, it is constricting. I cannot speak for everyone, though, and realize that.

Same with sketching and painting style. I took it to a certain degree several years back, but will never ever ever again try to paint anything whatsoever in a realistic or representative style. It just seems small-minded, especially since photography eliminated the need to record portraits, landscapes and so on. Just seems wasteful. Call it envy all you want. Maybe it is at some root level, since I deliberately abruptly halted all technical development and never intend to resume it. Maybe some part of me regrets that decision. Not sure

So instead of gaining skill sets, you feel that you're being open minded by eliminating them? And the people who pursue or have superior rendering abilities are being closed minded?

Jody Schmidt
11-21-2013, 01:04 PM
So instead of gaining skill sets, you feel that you're being open minded by eliminating them? And the people who pursue or have superior rendering abilities are being closed minded? No. It is definitely personal. Not sure if it works for everyone. And, some have vision that absolutely requires technical skill to properly execute. In those instances, it is a necessity to obtain them. Others want technical skill 'in the bank' so to speak, in case they drift away from pure abstraction in the years ahead. Any number of combinations is possible.

And, unfortunately, envy works both ways...big time. One of my relatives is a classical musician, and has spent years, if not, decades, mastering her instrument. She must have a pang or two of jealousy when some rough-hewn noobie with no instrumental talent comes along and breaks ground in experimental classical music, while she spent her whole life learning her instrument and got nowhere for it.

The problem with those who are guarded about technical skill is that they have a vested interest in making sure it still matters, cause they spent sooo much time on it. They would hate for a mass wake-up to happen that consciously puts it at the bottom of the art totem, a craftsman's ability, like a good carpenter, a fossil of a time when such skill was necessary. And, while this has more or less already happened in critical circles and at most galleries, there are still enough rank and file who respect technical skill to assert that it has not yet happened en masse. It takes a leap of faith and an overcoming of dread to admit you may have wasted the last 10 years of your life on some pursuit and that some wank working with a few video cameras and paint splotches for an installation is more likely to end up in art history textbooks in a century, but that is personal to each individual. So, again, this can work both ways.

stlukesguild
11-21-2013, 01:33 PM
Poor Jackson Pollock! He must be looking down with jealousy at all the technically endowed on these forums! Kidding. Sarcastic, but called for considering the narrowness of the accusation.

Pollock was lucky in that he came upon the art scene at just such a time that his lack of technical skills was not a crippling disability. At the same time, he developed skills that others did not have. Anyone attempting a drip painting will rapidly discover just how difficult it is to achieve the elegance that Pollock had in his finest works.

Some are purposeful primitives, who willfully prevent any technical development beyond the bare basics, hoping that their limited skills will compel them to tap into something different to get their visions across. Use any thing, any way.

Are there really purposeful primitives who consciously avoid developing their abilities? The only such that I know of are misguided art school students who imagine that a lack of ability will make their work more "expressive" and "real". Henri Rousseau frequently studied the works of masters at the Louvre and strove to emulate Bouguereau. True "primitives" such as Adolf Wölfli, Edward Hicks, George Widener, Joseph Yoakum, Lee Godie, Madge Gill, Martin Ramirez, etc... simply employed whatever limited skills they did have to the best of their abilities. Until the decline in traditional academic art education in the mid-20th century, most artists who we see as Expressionists or even Abstract painters had a solid under-pinning of traditional academic skills. Even Dekooning, Guston, Gorky, and other Abstract Expressionists had formidable skills in drawing/painting in an academic manner.

I have a reasonable amount of guitar and drum playing skill (developed when I sweated Jimmy Page and Neal Peart back in the 1980s), but detune it, detach from it, abandon it, do whatever I can to get away from it whenever I dabble in experimental music. For me, it is constricting. I cannot speak for everyone, though, and realize that.

The great blues or bluegrass musicians may not be able to tackle the more difficult passages of Bach and Beethoven... but they still have developed a masterful body of skills within their own genre. Some may have imagined that Picasso, Matisse, and Dubuffet offered little more than feigned incompetence in comparison to the traditional Western "realism", but anyone with a solid background in looking at art will recognize the virtuosity in their handling of line, color, composition, etc...

Same with sketching and painting style. I took it to a certain degree several years back, but will never ever ever again try to paint anything whatsoever in a realistic or representative style. It just seems small-minded, especially since photography eliminated the need to record portraits, landscapes and so on.

Photography eliminated the practicality of needing to use painting to record and preserve the illusion of visual reality... to a certain extent. A rudimentary perusal of truly talented photographic artists will challenge the notion of photographic "reality".

Painting has always been about something more than a mere reproduction of visual reality. If we look to the Baroque... the period in which Western art most fully mastered the skills needed to create the illusion of visual reality... you find vastly differing portrayals of "reality":

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-BeFunky_rubens__susanna1335898062910.jpg.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-BeFunky_22pearl.jpg.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-coymans.med.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-rembrandt.1669.med.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-SASSOFERRATO_-_Virgen_rezando_National_Gallery,_Londres,_1640-50.smallest.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-0712vela.jpg

Just seems wasteful.

In what way? It is simply naive to imagine that having certain skills hampers or handicaps an artist. Contrarily, the more abilities you have, the more options are open to you.

Call it envy all you want. Maybe it is at some root level, since I deliberately abruptly halted all technical development and never intend to resume it. Maybe some part of me regrets that decision. Not sure

I spent some 5 years working abstractly in collage. Not once did I imagine that this demanded that I halt developing my skills. I simply focused upon a different body of skills... as well as many of the same skills with regard to composition, color harmonies, etc... that I employed when I was painting in a realistic manner.

stlukesguild
11-21-2013, 01:46 PM
To follow up just a bit more:
There may indeed be that moment when Jay-Z has a flash of envy for the classical cellist whom he watches play at the fundraising recital. So, considering the likelihood that something like that scenario has occured for Jay-Z, Eminem, Kanye West or 50 Cent, I guess it is possible that some have occasional pangs of envy here and there at prodigies and so on, but if their vision is strong, it will never likely affect them beyond a moment or two.

Jay-Z works within a far different genre than Yo-Yo Ma, Anner Bylsma,
Steven Isserlis, or Truls Mørk. One might as well compare a painter to an architect. Their skill sets are that far different.

The issue then becomes:
Does that flash of envy from Jay-Z say anything whatsoever about who is the superior creative and musical talent between him and the cellist?
Of course not. Jay-Z is almost certainly universes above every second rate, fossilized classical musician in every symphony orchestra on the planet.

In what way? Do you honestly imagine he is the better musician? Certainly, a given small percentage of what we deem "popular music" will survive, but the odds that Jay-Z will still be played after the generation who grew up listening to his music is dead and gone is slim-to-none.

And, he has nothing more than his supremely talented and unique voice and his vision.

Pop music is nearly impossible to judge objectively due to the effects of mass marketing. Is Jay-Z even all that talented within his own genre? Certainly there are endless musicians within his own genre whose abilities are mediocre or worse in comparison. But at the same time there are likely far more talented individuals who simply lack the support of the mass marketing machine.

stlukesguild
11-21-2013, 01:51 PM
One of my relatives is a classical musician, and has spent years, if not, decades, mastering her instrument. She must have a pang or two of jealousy when some rough-hewn noobie with no instrumental talent comes along and breaks ground in experimental classical music, while she spent her whole life learning her instrument and got nowhere for it.

Please give me an example of such a musician. Of course we can always find examples of the artist with mediocre (or worse) skills who becomes a star (Tracey Emin?) and those with real skills might envy the wealth and fame such an artist achieves... but it is more than likely that they feel little envy whatsoever concerning such an individual's "ground-breaking" innovations.

The problem with those who are guarded about technical skill is that they have a vested interest in making sure it still matters, cause they spent sooo much time on it. They would hate for a mass wake-up to happen that consciously puts it at the bottom of the art totem, a craftsman's ability, like a good carpenter, a fossil of a time when such skill was necessary. And, while this has more or less already happened in critical circles and at most galleries, there are still enough rank and file who respect technical skill to assert that it has not yet happened en masse. It takes a leap of faith and an overcoming of dread to admit you may have wasted the last 10 years of your life on some pursuit and that some wank working with a few video cameras and paint splotches for an installation is more likely to end up in art history textbooks in a century, but that is personal to each individual. So, again, this can work both ways.

Is it not equally... if not far more likely that you might spend your entire career fooling yourself into thinking you have some unique and brilliant vision that will set the art world on fire only to find no one else thinks so... or that you lack the skills needed to realize such a vision? For someone who has warned others against following the latest trends and fads, you seem far too concerned with what directions this illusory "art world" is taking as opposed to what directions your true artistic passions are pointing toward.

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 01:55 PM
Just seems wasteful.

In what way? It is simply naive to imagine that having certain skills hampers or handicaps an artist. Contrarily, the more abilities you have, the more options are open to you.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I don't understand how it's "wasteful" to cultivate skills. Skills have use, should you decide to use them.

I spent some time learning the piano. I hardly play the piano now, and never was destined to become a professional piano player anyway. But I did enjoy learning and all these years later, I don't regret that time spent. I know I can go back to what I learned (and brush up on it) any time I need to. It's a good feeling.

Once I was discussing drawing with someone who regarded it as an effort and a chore and wanted to get away from it as soon as possible. (Evidently.) I was extolling the virtues of drawing, and brought up drawing and painting from life, and the joy of doing that, the connection you have with the model, the things you discover about the model (or whatever it is you are painting or drawing). This person went "yeah yeah" and pretended (I believe) to understand what I was talking about, or maybe pretended isn't the right word, maybe it's thought they understood. But they didn't. They had no clue. I gather because they never did enough painting and drawing from life to experience what I was talking about. But that didn't stop them from dismissing it anyway, as something useless.

You mention, Jody, that traditional skills are something to put on a resume, maybe like it's something to "say" you have, or brag about having. It's not the first time I've heard that claim made about such skills. Those who say that usually haven't understood, in full, why some artists work so hard to gain those skills in the first place.

These artists love it, it gives them something and even if they never made any money, they'd still be happy they have the skill. If I worked at WalMart for the rest of my life (I don't work there now :lol: ) I wouldn't consider my time learning some measure of traditional skill to be a waste of my time, for all that it's given me.

I don't know if it's "jealousy" or not that causes some artists to denigrate traditional skills, I don't know. I do know that it seems presumptuous to KNOW that it's a "waste of time" when you can't even really do it yourself. How do you know what those with traditional skills feel about that skill, what they've done with it, how they express themselves with it? You limited yourself by cutting that part of your education short (and I'm not reproaching you for it, you should take your own path, absolutely!). But how can you know what it is for others and know that it's a waste of time, passe, or whatever else? How can you encourage everyone to devalue it, merely because you devalue it, and that is in no small way because you have never understood the joys it can bring?

Where I am right now, realistic art is alive and thriving, I am associating with like-minded artists, learning from them, and they are doing just fine with the level of high traditional skill they've worked to attain, and they feel not one iota of regret, I assure you. Furthermore, I don't hear them saying that those who are happy and successful taking another path (one that does not employ traditional skills) are "wasting" their time. Whatever floats your boat, whatever path you enjoy and gives you gratification is fine.

ianuk
11-21-2013, 01:59 PM
So what is the reference point for the set of skills one must have to be able to create art to a high technical level? This is where I become confused. There are people with amazing drawing skills that have no idea of colour and there are people with no drawing skills that produce wonderful colour. There are abstract artists that wouldn't need to be able to draw anything at all.

So where is this skill set and who defines the terms? Art for me is more about creativity, rather than having a certain set of skills required to create (what I can only presume being written of here is, realism). It would seem here in this thread that the creation of realism is what one defines as being a technically skilled artist. However, only a small part of art requires realism. I would say the majority of art produced in the present time, doesn't. I realise the original OP asked about being able to paint a portrait like the one posted. However, even if he can draw to a high level (and that will certainly help) it in no way guarantees that the level of painting, will be anywhere near as good as the drawing.

ianuk
11-21-2013, 02:09 PM
:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Once I was discussing drawing with someone who regarded it as an effort and a chore and wanted to get away from it as soon as possible. (Evidently.) I was extolling the virtues of drawing, and brought up drawing and painting from life, and the joy of doing that, the connection you have with the model, the things you discover about the model (or whatever it is you are painting or drawing). This person went "yeah yeah" and pretended (I believe) to understand what I was talking about, or maybe pretended isn't the right word, maybe it's thought they understood. But they didn't. They had no clue. I gather because they never did enough painting and drawing from life to experience what I was talking about. But that didn't stop them from dismissing it anyway, as something useless.



I'm sure just as they couldn't understand, you too could not understand them. To believe that everyone should feel the same whilst drawing from life is just never going to happen. Maybe it wasn't because they never did enough drawing or painting though, maybe they just didn't like it the same as you do.

stlukesguild
11-21-2013, 02:11 PM
You mention, Jody, that traditional skills are something to put on a resume, maybe like it's something to "say" you have, or brag about having. It's not the first time I've heard that claim made about such skills. Those who say that usually haven't understood, in full, why some artists work so hard to gain those skills in the first place.

These artists love it, it gives them something and even if they never made any money, they'd still be happy they have the skill. If I worked at WalMart for the rest of my life (I don't work there now ) I wouldn't consider my time learning some measure of traditional skill to be a waste of my time, for all that it's given me.

I might not go all the way toward being satisfied even if I had to work at Wal-Mart to the end of my days...:lol: ... but I quite agree that most who have mastered a given body of artistic skills that they feel essential to their vision... and feel passionate about... are in no way going to feel that it was a waste of time simply because another "artist" can put poop in a can and make the art magazines. The very concept of Contemporary Art History is absurd... and even more so considering the current financial realities and conflicts of interest involving collectors, critics, the press, and even arts institutions. That fact that Artist X... who first came on the scene 10 years ago... has been featured in Art News and might be given a blurb in the latest tome on Contemporary Art History in no way assures us that he or she will be even a footnote in Art History 100 years from now. Certainly you can argue that your goal is to achieve fame and fortune and beautiful groupies here and now... but considering the limited number of avant-garde shock artists who "make it" you have a far better chance of making a comfortable living as an artist having mastered the traditional academic skills of painting.

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 02:14 PM
I'm sure just as they couldn't understand, you too could not understand them. To believe that everyone should feel the same whilst drawing from life is just never going to happen. Maybe it wasn't because they never did enough drawing or painting though, maybe they just didn't like it the same as you do.
Sure, they didn't like it as much as I did, and I can't demand that they should. But they can't say that "it's all just busywork" for everyone, just because it is for them. Their lack of understanding of what it was, why many of us do it, caused them to come to the conclusion that there was nothing more to it, and spending time drawing was being needlessly busy.

Jody is saying "it's a waste." Maybe it's a waste of Jody, but Jody is telling ALL OF US that it's a "waste" and is encouraging us all to stop wasting our time with it.

Do you agree with this?

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 02:25 PM
Certainly you can argue that your goal is to achieve fame and fortune and beautiful groupies here and now... but considering the limited number of avant-garde shock artists who "make it" you have a far better chance of making a comfortable living as an artist having mastered the traditional academic skills of painting.:thumbsup:

It's never been only about money and fame for many artists.

I know a guy who is a young, self-sufficient artist, he loves to paint what he sees, he has a luminous, gorgeous painting style. I don't think he spends his days worrying about whether or not he'll make the big time in contemporary art. I don't think he feels anger and jealousy that someone who poops in a can is on the cover of one of those magazines and he's not. He just wants to support himself and his family (and so far he's successfully doing that). Painting gives him joy. It also gives his collectors joy. He happens to be a portrait artist, and has no shortage of people interested in buying his work.

How is that a waste of his time? He seems very happy and fulfilled to me. Of course it's not his goal to be hugely famous and make all the magazines! :lol:

Jody Schmidt
11-21-2013, 02:39 PM
Does anyone here really think that, as of 2013, Technical Artist A is more likely than Splotch Artist B to end up in art history textbooks in a century??

And, Jackson Pollock didn't just come along at an opportune moment. Look at Damien Hirst in the 1990s or Basquiat and Haring in the 1980s, minimalists, neo-expressionists, Rothko, Mondrian (yes, I know he had skillz, but they had nothing to do with his best work), Frankenthaler, Hodgkin, Stella, Dubuffet, Schnabel, and too many others to list. It goes on and on and on. They are the exciting ones.

They just make my pulse race. Whereas realistic artists just do nothing for me. Sorry.

I cannot fast forward to 2113, but cannot reasonably expect that the 100000s of those toiling away at developing technical skill will wind up in the galleries and textbooks. Just seems ridiculous. It'll just be a handful, some of them with skills, some not. Maybe half and half.

Plain and simply, some like a vetting process to try to make the art establishment exclusionary, so any one with a paint brush can't just pick it up and make a go at it. It's too random, unpredictable, and non-rewarding of hard work. But, it's just the way it is. I tell that to anyone psyched out by thinking they are 'miles and miles' away from creating artwork. That is mindfaucking 101. For those people, I try to show up at their homes with an acrylic set and pack of 5 canvases and say: PUT PAINT ON CANVAS. REPEAT.

Yes, you can learn galaxies or nothing subsequently, but don't ever think you can't just pick up a brush at any time you want and start painting, that there is something wrong with that, or not properly vetted about it.

That is just the old-school hanging onto anything to prevent a wide open free for all, which will leave everyone not already at Hockney's and Hirst's level on equal footing.

Interesting article: http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/15728/1/the-return-of-abstract-art

ianuk
11-21-2013, 02:51 PM
No, I do not agree that anything is a waste of time, everything in life creates experience and from experience we learn (hopefully). Whatever makes a person happy and content in this life, is fine by me. However, I don't read into Jody's words as you do. I just take it that is how Jody sees things and his view is as valid as the next persons.

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 03:12 PM
No, I do not agree that anything is a waste of time, everything in life creates experience and from experience we learn (hopefully). Whatever makes a person happy and content in this life, is fine by me. However, I don't read into Jody's words as you do. I just take it that is how Jody sees things and his view is as valid as the next persons.
In post #149, Jody wrote this:

If you want to paint realistic portraits, then it is a personal quest and you should put whatever time and effort you can afford into it to improve this technical skill.

With no disrespect intended, I believe such an effort to be a great waste of time. My suggestion is to de-value realistic portrait painting. Yes, a photorealistic portrait gets a few oohs and ahhs, but that's about it. Unless new ground is broken in the style and method of painting and composition, it is pretty much useless. Maybe resume padding for some commission or for your art school application portfolio, but not much else.
He does say "go ahead and do it if you want to" but then goes on to say "it's a waste of time" and "my suggestion is to devalue portrait painting."

He is clearly suggesting to us (he uses "you" which in this case is commonly taken to mean anyone reading) to devalue realistic portrait painting, and that's because it's a waste of time and "pretty much useless."

I think that goes beyond just saying, "I would do this." He says YOU, meaning all of us reading.

So you can take it as whatever you like, but I think his words are very clear. I was saying that he's advising us to give it up. He clearly is. And I'm asking, "What do you know about what we do, that you believe that we are wasting our time?"

Of course he's entitled to his opinion—that we artists are wasting our time and pursuing something "useless" if we choose to cultivate traditional art skills—but some of us are going to disagree and reject the suggestion he's given us. And in part we'll reject it because we don't think he's in a position to understand what exactly we get out of what we are doing, or why we are learning this skill, since he doesn't have that skill himself (not so much, anyway). Is that clearer? :)

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 03:20 PM
Does anyone here really think that, as of 2013, Technical Artist A is more likely than Splotch Artist B to end up in art history textbooks in a century??
I don't think that's why all artists who work in a realistic style are painting in that style. They do it because they love it, and their collectors appreciate it and love it too.

And, Jackson Pollock didn't just come along at an opportune moment. Look at Damien Hirst in the 1990s or Basquiat and Haring in the 1980s, minimalists, neo-expressionists, Rothko, Mondrian (yes, I know he had skillz, but they had nothing to do with his best work), Frankenthaler, Hodgkin, Stella, Dubuffet, Schnabel, and too many others to list. It goes on and on and on. They are the exciting ones.
To you. To others, but not to everyone.

They just make my pulse race. Whereas realistic artists just do nothing for me. Sorry.
You have nothing to apologize for! :thumbsup: That's your opinion, and no one wishes to deprive you of it. But you cannot speak for everyone, and you cannot know what makes other people's pulses race. You cannot know something that you cannot do, and you cannot know how it affects those who can do it. (Anymore than we can understand how what you do, affects you!)

I cannot fast forward to 2113, but cannot reasonably expect that the 100000s of those toiling away at developing technical skill will wind up in the galleries and textbooks. Just seems ridiculous. It'll just be a handful, some of them with skills, some not. Maybe half and half.
SO WHAT?!?!


Who says that is the goal of each and every artist out there? I'll guess that many of them don't care, they just want to live their lives and be happy, and painting realistically makes them happy.

Do you suppose that everyone who smacks feces (figuratively) on a canvas will make it to the text books a hundred years ago? Only a small fraction will. Those are very poor odds. But it doesn't stop many artists who paint in that style, who feel their vision "speaks" to that style, it doesn't stop them from trying, does it?

So if you are right, the odds of getting into the textbooks a hundred years from now, when we're all dead, is slightly higher if you do contemporary art. But the odds are pretty poor to begin with, for anyone. Odds are that almost no one reading this thread will be in the text books a hundred years from now.

So why bother worrying about it, and why not do what we love to do, especially if what we love to do is appreciated by others, and ideally, appreciated by others with money in their pocket that they're willing to give us? :D

ianuk
11-21-2013, 03:29 PM
If that's how Jody feels about portrait painting, that's Jody's prerogative. In some ways I agree with him and some ways I agree with you, nothing's written in stone in this life and there are ways and means that do not necessarily take into account following traditions blindly without question. These set of instructions have been passed down since the early centuries and like many laws, much research and in other areas, sometimes one needs to take a different track, a different path and that's what makes art so unique.

The only thing I find controversial is people tell me everything has to be done in a certain way and, that one way, has more validity than another. One artist has more validity because they learned the correct way. Take Vettriano for instance, he's not recognised as an artist in the true sense of the word by the hallowed halls of the elite, and yet, his art is some of the most popular in history. I do find that people that knock his art are basically as Jody says, jealous because they could never achieve what he has achieved and they resent that because, they have been taught 'the proper way'....

Jody Schmidt
11-21-2013, 03:31 PM
I don't think that's why all artists who work in a realistic style are painting in that style. They do it because they love it, and their collectors appreciate it and love it too.


To you. To others, but not to everyone.


You have nothing to apologize for! :thumbsup: That's your opinion, and no one wishes to deprive you of it. But you cannot speak for everyone, and you cannot know what makes other people's pulses race. You cannot know something that you cannot do, and you cannot know how it affects those who can do it. (Anymore than we can understand how what you do, affects you!)


SO WHAT?!?!


Who says that is the goal of each and every artist out there? I'll guess that many of them don't care, they just want to live their lives and be happy, and painting realistically makes them happy.

Do you suppose that everyone who smacks feces (figuratively) on a canvas will make it to the text books a hundred years ago? Only a small fraction will. Those are very poor odds. But it doesn't stop many artists who paint in that style, who feel their vision "speaks" to that style, it doesn't stop them from trying, does it?

So if you are right, the odds of getting into the textbooks a hundred years from now, when we're all dead, is slightly higher if you do contemporary art. But the odds are pretty poor to begin with, for anyone. Odds are that almost no one reading this thread will be in the text books a hundred years from now.

So why bother worrying about it, and why not do what we love to do, especially if what we love to do is appreciated by others, and ideally, appreciated by others with money in their pocket that they're willing to give us? :DThis reply is too reasonable. Does not compute. :wink2:
I was just having an old fashioned emotive outburst with no intention to be consistent, comprehensive or reliable. Was just blurting it out as fast as the fingers could type, which I do often in Cafe Guerbois. It's almost therapy. I may disagree with any and all of this in a week, month or year. Particularly since someone tossed up Vermeer, Rembrandt and, I think, Fragonard, among others, and that hits a soft spot, cause I love those Baroque and Rococo painters. Watteau, Boucher, Rubens, Caravaggio. Great stuff. But, that is the temptation. Guess I'm ideologically setting myself in a certain direction and going for broke pursuing it. A gamble: can't be and do everything in a lifetime, though DaVinci came close! Just going a certain route. And, you are right. More than likely, none of us will be in the books. Kind of sucks, but then again doesn't really suck too much.

Jody Schmidt
11-21-2013, 03:36 PM
If that's how Jody feels about portrait painting, that's Jody's prerogative. In some ways I agree with him and some ways I agree with you, nothing's written in stone in this life and there are ways and means that do not necessarily take into account following traditions blindly without question. These set of instructions have been passed down since the early centuries and like many laws, much research and in other areas, sometimes one needs to take a different track, a different path and that's what makes art so unique.

The only thing I find controversial is people tell me everything has to be done in a certain way and, that one way, has more validity than another. One artist has more validity because they learned the correct way. Take Vettriano for instance, he's not recognised as an artist in the true sense of the word by the hallowed halls of the elite, and yet, his art is some of the most popular in history. I do find that people that knock his art are basically as Jody says, jealous because they could never achieve what he has achieved and they resent that because, they have been taught 'the proper way'....Disclaimer: Despite the instructive or didactic tone in my previous posts in this thread (and a bunch of others, I'm sure), I am not trying to tell anyone to do anything any way or another. I would be shocked and a bit put off if anyone actually heeded anything I am saying! I like spouting in a consequence-free setting. Is that so bad??

ianuk
11-21-2013, 03:47 PM
On the contrary, I think what you write has credence. There was a thread here in the cafe showing portraits of the queen of England. Now the guy that painted them has amazing technical skills and if he hadn't, he simply wouldn't have got the commissions, not at that level... Anyway, many people that speak of skills actually wrote in the thread that the portraits weren't anything special even though they admired the artists skills. I'm just basically saying, one can have all the skills in the world, and still not be able to paint a good portrait, or other genres either.

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 04:13 PM
This reply is too reasonable. Does not compute. :wink2:
:lol: :thumbsup:
I was just having an old fashioned emotive outburst with no intention to be consistent, comprehensive or reliable. Was just blurting it out as fast as the fingers could type, which I do often in Cafe Guerbois. It's almost therapy. I may disagree with any and all of this in a week, month or year. Particularly since someone tossed up Vermeer, Rembrandt and, I think, Fragonard, among others, and that hits a soft spot, cause I love those Baroque and Rococo painters. Watteau, Boucher, Rubens, Caravaggio. Great stuff. But, that is the temptation. Guess I'm ideologically setting myself in a certain direction and going for broke pursuing it. A gamble: can't be and do everything in a lifetime, though DaVinci came close! Just going a certain route. And, you are right. More than likely, none of us will be in the books. Kind of sucks, but then again doesn't really suck too much.
No, it doesn't really suck too much. We won't be around to know or care!

I think most of us just want to be happy, expressing ourselves in our own chosen way, and also to be appreciated. We'll never be appreciated by everyone, but at least if some appreciate us, that's enough. :thumbsup:

mariposa-art
11-21-2013, 04:15 PM
I'm just basically saying, one can have all the skills in the world, and still not be able to paint a good portrait, or other genres either.
No one would disagree with that. Skills without heart are blech, are dead.

But "heart" without skills, or poor skills, can be the death of some types of artwork.

stlukesguild
11-21-2013, 04:51 PM
So what is the reference point for the set of skills one must have to be able to create art to a high technical level? This is where I become confused.

The reference point, if you want to call it that, is usually to be able to draw what you want to draw. Having the sort of skills seen here:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-first-communion-1896.jpg

... in no way limited the same artist from producing art like this:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-aficiona.med.jpg

or this:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Steers_Skull_Pablo_Picassosmall.JPG

Indeed, one might argue that it was far easier to break a great many of the rules once this artist had already mastered the same.

There are people with amazing drawing skills that have no idea of colour and there are people with no drawing skills that produce wonderful colour.

As much of a colorist as I am, I would never kid myself into thinking that one can make great art on color alone. You might argue that someone like Joseph Albers did just that...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Josef_Alberss_painting_Homage_to_the_Square,_1965.jpg

... but I suspect a good many might question just how "great" such art is relative to the greatest achievements of art history.

There are abstract or conceptual artists that wouldn't need to be able to draw anything at all.

Honestly, how many artists begin knowing they will become abstract artists with no need for any drawing skills? Most of those who go into art have spent years drawing or painting or sculpting on their own. They have developed a love of drawing/painting/sculpting images. As they develop... on their own or through formal art studies they may become fascinated by other alternatives... but quite honestly... with a few exceptions over the past couple of decades... I don't know many artists of any real merit, regardless of the direction they eventually took, who lack basic, rudimentary skills in drawing.

So where is this skill set and who defines the terms? Art for me is more about creativity, rather than having a certain set of skills required to create (what I can only presume being written of here is, realism).

What is your "creativity" and how is it separate from the mechanical craft skills needed to realize it? Everyone has ideas and concepts. Art involves the ability to realize these in such a manner as to resonate (visually) with others.

It would seem here in this thread that the creation of realism is what one defines as being a technically skilled artist. However, only a small part of art requires realism.

"Realism" is a vague term. Degas spoke of recognizing the difference between "drawing" or the Italian Disegno and "rendering". This is a masterful drawing...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Back.jpg

as is this...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Helena_Fourment.sm.JPG

and this...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-rembrandt-drawing-2.jpg

and this:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-wash.sm2.JPG

and this:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-dekooning9.jpg

Drawing is all about learning to be able to see. It's about balance and composition and visual weight and touch. Most artists I know who work "figuratively" have a very good eye when it comes to looking at and appreciating abstract art. I'm not certain I can say the inverse is also true.

I would say the majority of art produced in the present time, doesn't.

This, of course, is based upon your vast grasp of the art of the present and what is or is not of any real merit... or what is or is not selling.

I realise the original OP asked about being able to paint a portrait like the one posted. However, even if he can draw to a high level (and that will certainly help) it in no way guarantees that the level of painting, will be anywhere near as good as the drawing.

On the other hand, without such skills he'll never be able to achieve such.

stlukesguild
11-21-2013, 05:49 PM
Does anyone here really think that, as of 2013, Technical Artist A is more likely than Splotch Artist B to end up in art history textbooks in a century??

There is no telling. On the other hand I greatly suspect that the artist with the most abilities will have a far greater chance of achieving something of real merit for the simple reason that more possibilities are open to him or her.

And, Jackson Pollock didn't just come along at an opportune moment.

Please. If you are going to debate the events of art history you need to do far better than this.

Look at Damien Hirst in the 1990s or Basquiat and Haring in the 1980s...

Yes. What about them? In my personal opinion they both are little more than hacks promoted by the market. Basquiat fit the mold of the "great Black hope". Hirst was but the latest in a stream of "bad boys" of the art market. Are they important artists? Great artists? Highly debatable. A great many critics would laugh at the very idea. Honestly, we are too near in time to offer any real assessment as to whether they will survive. Again, the concept of Contemporary Art History is rather laughable itself. Anyone with the least knowledge of Art History over the ages can site endless examples of fashionable art stars who are now molding away in museum warehouses, while artists unknown in their own lifetime have become icons. This will be even more true of the present... a period in which the standards and values in art are no longer something largely agreed upon.

minimalists...

Do you honestly think Minimalism would have been accepted without the prior examples of Paul Klee and Mondrian and Kandinsky... who could all draw quite well? Personally, I studied under three different Minimalists... one of whom is already in the history books as you put it... and all three could draw more than adequately well. Indeed, all three swore to the importance of continually drawing as a means of working out ideas, developing an eye for composition and visual weight, and value, and line. Do a little more art historical research and you will find that DeKooning, a masterful draftsman, insisted while teaching at Black Mountain College that students learn to draw the most mundane still life images before they think of taking off exploring abstraction.

neo-expressionists-

Which ones. Most have been well forgotten in but a few decades. Clemente is a rather good draftsman...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-jerry_1734712c.jpg

His images are quite sylized... but clearly show a solid understanding of drawing... as one would expect of many European artists.

ERic Fischl? The artist himself has more than bemoaned his own lack of formal drawing ability as a result of the poor education he received... but his work surely exhibits that over time he has developed a solid mastery of drawing:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Fischl15.jpg

Anselm Kiefer? Kiefer's work rarely employs traditional drawing skills... but he certainly has such abilities...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-kiefer-sunflowers.jpg

Rothko, Mondrian (yes, I know he had skillz, but they had nothing to do with his best work)...

Really? This would seem to assume that you know which of Mondrian's works are or are not his "best".

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-61.1589_ph_web.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-tumblr_lstcw9WWPb1qahuhjo1_500.jpg

His early flower drawings are quite admired... while his tree paintings are an essential cycle of work exhibiting the artist's slow transition to abstraction:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-tumblr_msrjtuBGtK1qcg3zwo3_1280.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-study-for-blue-apple-tree-series.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-tree3.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-tree4_1.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Piet_Mondrian-965644.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-destij_mond.trees.lg.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-mondrian2b.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-gray-lt-brown.med.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-01-mondrian2-325.jpg

A rudimentary perusal of the surface of art history may lead the individual to the assumption that a given artist only becomes "great" or "important" upon the realization of his or her mature style... but art history is primarily concerned with the narrative of the development of art... it has little to do with what is "good" or "bad". Those who delve deeper into the wealth of art from across the ages will find endless artists of the greatest merit who were largely overlooked because they don't fit into the prevailing narrative. But this narrative is forever changing.

Mondrian wasn't a nobody who suddenly became a "great" artist the day he hit upon the red, yellow, and blue squares in a grid. He was already an artist of real merit... and he never would have come to his late works without mastering the skills needed to achieve the early work through which he worked his way toward the final work. By the same token, Picasso of the Blue and Rose Periods was already a artist of great merit.

Frankenthaler, Hodgkin, Stella, Dubuffet, Schnabel, and too many others to list. It goes on and on and on. They are the exciting ones.

According to? I'm sorry, but Schnabel is little more than a joke who only became an art star as a result of 80s Wall Street millionaires who didn't get abstract art and wanted something figurative that they thought was profound. The best critique of Schnabel (besides those of Robert Hughes):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCZuYS-9qaw

I quite like Hodgkin, Frankenthaler, and Dubuffet (especially)... but are they the finest artists of our time...?

I cannot fast forward to 2113, but cannot reasonably expect that the 100000s of those toiling away at developing technical skill will wind up in the galleries and textbooks. Just seems ridiculous. It'll just be a handful, some of them with skills, some not. Maybe half and half.

I suspect that most of those who do end up achieving something of real merit do so because they are doing what they are truly passionate about... and are willing to forth whatever effort is needed to realize their vision... not because they are playing the odds of what is currently fashionable or hip.

Plain and simply, some like a vetting process to try to make the art establishment exclusionary, so any one with a paint brush can't just pick it up and make a go at it.

Art is open to anyone. Anyone can make art. That doesn't mean anyone will be able to achieve something of real merit. Only some individuals have the combination of vision and the abilities needed to realize this vision. Only have the self-motivation and the persistence to keep at it.

That is just the old-school hanging onto anything to prevent a wide open free for all, which will leave everyone not already at Hockney's and Hirst's level on equal footing.

Oh please!:rolleyes:

stlukesguild
11-21-2013, 06:01 PM
I'm just basically saying, one can have all the skills in the world, and still not be able to paint a good portrait, or other genres either.

Again, the skills needed to achieve a masterful "realistic" portrait are more than just the ability to render the illusion of 3-D form in an academically "correct" manner. There were many artists in the past who never rose to the level of Rembrandt or Rubens. There are many now who rarely achieve anything that really resonates with me. Looking at a "realistic" painting that falls short we usually find that there is something missing... something that falls short.

Jody Schmidt
11-21-2013, 07:15 PM
Does anyone here really think that, as of 2013, Technical Artist A is more likely than Splotch Artist B to end up in art history textbooks in a century??

There is no telling. On the other hand I greatly suspect that the artist with the most abilities will have a far greater chance of achieving something of real merit for the simple reason that more possibilities are open to him or her. My better half, who was casually observing my participation, chimed in with something, so I cannot take credit for it:

She is a dancer and spoke of some super trained ballet dancer who tried to break into the combination of urban street dancing, break dancing and off-broadway interpretive dancing her small group of friends engages in, and notes that it looks like a ballet dancer trying to break dance: bad. Overtraining may have permanently killed this person's chances of doing something like break dancing if she one day had inspiration to do it for the rest of her life. I disagree with the 'permanently' part. But, it would take a few years for her to knock all the technical ballet and classical dance training out of her system in order to effectively 'get' urban dance styles.

Look at Damien Hirst in the 1990s or Basquiat and Haring in the 1980s...

Yes. What about them? In my personal opinion they both are little more than hacks promoted by the market. But, they are in the books and 100000 super-technically trained painters are not and will not be, and that will probably not change in 100 years. Maybe 10 super realistic painters will eventually join them, side by side (not replace them), but look at the horrible road they'll have to take next to Hirst's almost too-easy path. Then again, I do love the suffering artist tales, and Van Gogh is my all time favorite. A suffering technically great painter of the 21st century? That tale has some possibilities!

Do you honestly think Minimalism would have been accepted without the prior examples of Paul Klee and Mondrian and Kandinsky... who could all draw quite well? Personally, I studied under three different Minimalists... one of whom is already in the history books as you put it... and all three could draw more than adequately well. Indeed, all three swore to the importance of continually drawing as a means of working out ideas, developing an eye for composition and visual weight, and value, and line. Do a little more art historical research and you will find that DeKooning, a masterful draftsman, insisted while teaching at Black Mountain College that students learn to draw the most mundane still life images before they think of taking off exploring abstraction. I realize that old school painters, even abstract ones, are often abhorred by the loss of discipline and dues paying exhibited by some of the more recent upstarts, especially the Saatchi 90s upstarts. It's always that way. Kerouac looked with disgust upon those who took his beat writings and ran with them, but he let the djinni out of the bottle and couldnt put it back inside, even if his artistic descendants completely turned him off in style, form and politics.

I quite like Hodgkin, Frankenthaler, and Dubuffet (especially)... but are they the finest artists of our time...? Maybe not, but those more recognized or considered better will drift toward less representational.

I suspect that most of those who do end up achieving something of real merit do so because they are doing what they are truly passionate about... and are willing to forth whatever effort is needed to realize their vision... not because they are playing the odds of what is currently fashionable or hip. Again, like the example of the musician and dancer. It also applies to the painter and sculptor. Learn that over-trained style in any field from day one and try to get down, try to do rap or pure abstraction and see what happens. Aint as easy as people think. Some with skillz think they can do abstraction at any time they want and it will be as good as those who have done it for their whole lives. Is there a chance of this? Of course, but same chance as someone picking up a brush for the 1st time and giving it a go. Same as anyone's: small, but definite.

And, since I'm talking a lot of smack, I'll note...this is the most representational I will get as long as I live. Was just done as a practice sketch in order to incorporate a recognizable face into a larger surface. Done and quickly forgotten, worked up to something resembling being able to render a semi-recognizable face and then put it out of my mind as fast as I could. If it's wrong to post links to my own stuff, for any reason, then please fee free an Guide or Moderator out there, to remove this paragraph and link. It's to demonstrate, not promote, since the sketch sucks b_llz anyway!: http://alwaysmadness.tumblr.com/image/34377309448

By the way, I love your image narratives/progressions: informing while debating is a great combo.

brianvds
11-21-2013, 09:03 PM
Poor Jackson Pollock! He must be looking down with jealousy at all the technically endowed on these forums!

It wouldn't surprise me if he did.

Kidding. Sarcastic, but called for considering the narrowness of the accusation.

Yes, it was indeed a bit too sweeping. Just as advice that no one should bother with technical skill would be too sweeping. Expressive paintings hanging on walls are not the only form of art: nowadays, the vast majority of professional artists make their living as illustrators, a field in which technical skill is pretty much fundamental.

Some are purposeful primitives, who willfully prevent any technical development beyond the bare basics, hoping that their limited skills will compel them to tap into something different to get their visions across. Use any thing, any way.

Yes, some primitives have indeed produced very charming work. Rousseau and Grandma Moses come to mind, and one has to wonder whether they would have produced anything of note had they gone through classical training. It is difficult to say. But then, I am not sure either of them would advise a would-be artist to forego any training at all cost.

Same with sketching and painting style. I took it to a certain degree several years back, but will never ever ever again try to paint anything whatsoever in a realistic or representative style. It just seems small-minded, especially since photography eliminated the need to record portraits, landscapes and so on.

You are quite mistaken in this: there are whole universes of visual illustration where the camera simply cannot replace an artist, or can do so only to a very limited extent. Medical texts, comic books, field guides to plants and animals, children's books, fashion design... the list goes on. Our entire cultural (and indeed even scientific) life would become greatly impoverished if we reduced representational art to nothing more than photography.

I do not reject the validity of non-representational art or begrudge the likes of Pollock a place in the sun, mind you. But I find it a tad arrogant when they refer to someone's hard-won skills as "mere illustration" (as if there is anything "mere" about such skills!) or advise people not to try acquire some of those skills. Apart from, possibly, a few primitives, I am not aware of any cases where acquiring a bit of technical skill has done harm to any artist's career or prospects, or so poisoned them with classicism that they could no longer function as expressive artists. Gauguin comes to mind (unbeknownst to many of his fans, he was quite skillful at representational art in the classical style of his day).

brianvds
11-21-2013, 09:16 PM
To follow up just a bit more:
There may indeed be that moment when Jay-Z has a flash of envy for the classical cellist whom he watches play at the fundraising recital. So, considering the likelihood that something like that scenario has occured for Jay-Z, Eminem, Kanye West or 50 Cent, I guess it is possible that some have occasional pangs of envy here and there at prodigies and so on, but if their vision is strong, it will never likely affect them beyond a moment or two.

I am not an expert on rap, but as far as I can work out, rappers like Eminem are hugely skilled exponents of that art form, to the point where many a classical cellist may well admire them.

Now imagine Eminem advised a young would-be rapper not to bother learning English or how to rhyme or reading any rap lyrics by other prominent rap artist, but to just "find his own unique voice." Such advice would strike me as inappropriate - most pop stars start out emulating and learning a very great deal about their craft from other, established pop stars. In that sense, they too go through an apprenticeship in which they learn the basic skills of their trade, because in their style of music there are also criteria.

The problem with some styles of visual art is that there simply are no other criteria than who the artist knows and what outrageous things he does or says to attract attention. It seems to me more meaningful to learn the basic skills of one's chosen art form than to hope you'll be noticed by Charles Saatchi. :-)

JimR-OCDS
11-21-2013, 09:45 PM
Please don't use rap in an art forum.

Rap is not art, it's an excuse for art by the talentless.


Jim

JimR-OCDS
11-21-2013, 09:46 PM
Never mind.

Jim

stlukesguild
11-21-2013, 09:52 PM
My better half, who was casually observing my participation, chimed in with something, so I cannot take credit for it:

She is a dancer and spoke of some super trained ballet dancer who tried to break into the combination of urban street dancing, break dancing and off-broadway interpretive dancing her small group of friends engages in, and notes that it looks like a ballet dancer trying to break dance: bad. Overtraining may have permanently killed this person's chances of doing something like break dancing if she one day had inspiration to do it for the rest of her life.

The problem is that the classical ballet dancer likely invested years... perhaps an entire decade... to her true passion. Can she turn around and expect to be masterful at another art form that has caught her fancy after a short period of time? There are any number of classical singers who have made a foray into jazz or blues or popular music. Most are very competent... but lack the right feel. On the other hand, how many pop singers or instrumentalists can take on classical music without coming off as an embarrassment? I know of few musicians in any genre who were overnight sensations. The vast majority spent years mastering their craft. The same is true of art. Rothko may never have mastered the ability to draw in an academic manner... but he also spent years developing his work...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-tumblr_lperzzkkYs1qjy996o1_1280.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-rothko11.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-subway255.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-boy342.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Rothko_UndergroundFantasy1940.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Rothko_RitesOfLilith1945.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Rothko_MultiformComposition.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-EXHI003852P_600.jpg

Rothko was born in 1903 and first became interested in painting in 1923. He spent the next 25 years struggling to develop his own artistic language. As a Jewish communist politically active he rejected academic realism as "elitist"... He struggled to build upon the work of Paul Klee, the German Expressionists, Matisse, and later Milton Avery. It isn't until nearly 1950 that his works show real promise. It would seem to me that this shows a dedication as real and time-consuming as that of the artists dedicated to learning traditional skills of drawing.

Look at Damien Hirst in the 1990s or Basquiat and Haring in the 1980s...

Yes. What about them? In my personal opinion they both are little more than hacks promoted by the market.

But, they are in the books and 100000 super-technically trained painters are not and will not be, and that will probably not change in 100 years.

You place to much faith in temporal fame. The idea of Contemporary Art History is essentially an oxymoron. What we think of as the "canon" is the result of a long, drawn-out process. Contemporary critics offer judgments, some better some worse, based upon their own experience and their own biases... yet we know historically just how wrong they can be. The current market... as Robert Hughes termed it, "the largest unregulated market in the world, after the illegal drug trade," is wrought with nepotism and conflicts of interest. Museums rush to purchase contemporary artists out of fear that if they wait too long, they'll be priced out of the market. Super-wealthy collectors are given positions on museum boards in the hope that in return said collector will donate their work. In return, the collectors/board members pressure the museums to exhibit and promote artists in their personal collection, resulting in a stamp of approval and increased value. Critics work for periodicals that depend upon the advertising dollars of galleries... and they are expected to offer honest appraisals of work shown in those same galleries? Damien Hirst and his galleries have famously banned critics who have not continually given him glowing reviews. And I am to be impressed when Hirst shows up again in Art News? What you see of contemporary art in the art press and in the art galleries... and even museums is only that which a few Super Rich deem important.

The reality is that the truly "canonical" work of our time will be sorted out after a passage of time. This will be the result of continued interest by collectors, subsequent artists, and art lovers.

Maybe 10 super realistic painters will eventually join them, side by side (not replace them), but look at the horrible road they'll have to take next to Hirst's almost too-easy path.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Esthersmall.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-artwork_images_826_156622_chuck-close.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-richter_reading.sm.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-midnightmickeysmall.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-section1_56b.jpg

....

stlukesguild
11-21-2013, 09:53 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Pict-S4-EricFischl050-AprilInMojacarsmall.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-saville_reverse_2003.small.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Picture_138.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-19OddNerdrum_Buried_Alive.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-2013-07-14-ScreenShot20130714at2.33.41PM.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-2006_BORMI0039.200s.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Ice_Box2smaller.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-string.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-1.1.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-wiesenfeld.med.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Candy_Curls_2006.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-70518_samuel_bak.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-mm5.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-currin1.jpg

stlukesguild
11-21-2013, 09:53 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-wford.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-9573.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Self_Portrait_as_Booty_68.5x65_2007_main.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-kris_lewis_redcarnation.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2013/39499-Laura-Krifka-003_595.jpg

These are but a few of the contemporary/near-contemporary figurative/"realist" artists with major gallery representation, and in many instances, museum exhibitions and works in the permanent collections of major museums. And I am only drawing from the artists I know. How many painters in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, etc... fall outside the radar... for the time being

I realize that old school painters, even abstract ones, are often abhorred by the loss of discipline and dues paying exhibited by some of the more recent upstarts, especially the Saatchi 90s upstarts.

Its not petty jealousy over an artist who had an easier time of things. There will always be those who master virtuoso skills far rapidly than others. The problem is that a vast majority of your Saatchi upstarts are just plain bad. Looking at Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Beckmann, and DeKooning you can recognize the mastery of composition, touch, line, color, etc... even if you personally prefer traditional realism. Standing before a painting by Schnabel I can't help but think he was aesthetically retarded.

Again, like the example of the musician and dancer. It also applies to the painter and sculptor. Learn that over-trained style in any field from day one and try to get down, try to do rap or pure abstraction and see what happens. Aint as easy as people think. Some with skillz think they can do abstraction at any time they want and it will be as good as those who have done it for their whole lives. Is there a chance of this?

Personally, outside of the more reactionary ARC type painters, I doubt that most figurative/"realist" painters imagine that painting like Rothko or Sean Scully is easy. But that's the point you have avoided. You worry about having spent years mastering a skill like drawing in an academic manner, but you avoid the fact that mastering Minimalism or Expressionism or Gestural Abstraction demands just as much discipline.

By the way... not too many classical musicians ever want to chuck it all and get down with rap.

brianvds
11-21-2013, 10:09 PM
SaintLukes: You just introduced me to an artist I didn't know about: Aron Wiesenfeld. Thank heavens his name is in the file name of the picture you posted. To my surprise he doesn't have a Wiki entry yet. :-)

But I checked out his website - really marvelous stuff.

Jody Schmidt
11-21-2013, 11:23 PM
St. Lukes Guild:

AWESOME contemporary works. And, I recognize about half of the artist styles, so that is rewarding in and of itself! Watched every episode of Art 21 and saw some of these painters on it, such as Walton Ford. John Currin is also awesome, as if his females are like warped descendents of 2013's Lucas Cranach, The Strangler. So, this is some good evidence for contemporary realism, no doubt. Once I have the attention span, I'll post a similar set of tabs of great contemporary abstraction or semi-abstraction, and maybe they can peacefully coexist and everyone be happy. Well, not if I have anything to say about it! ;)

DavidPriestley
11-22-2013, 05:18 AM
Please don't use rap in an art forum.

Rap is not art, it's an excuse for art by the talentless.


Jim
All art is subjective.
Just because you don't happen to like a particular art form, doesn't mean it isn't art.

Jody Schmidt
11-22-2013, 10:46 AM
All art is subjective.
Just because you don't happen to like a particular art form, doesn't mean it isn't art.Agreed. The best rappers are some of the most skilled artists and poets in the world. Between 1989-1995, I committed 5000 lines of traditional English verse to memory. Keats, Eliot, Frost, Stevens, Pound, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, cummings, Yeats, Dickinson, Spenser, Donne, Marvell, etc. It's like it's in my bones and veins now. So much a part of my being.

Overlapping with that poetic obsession was an equally passionate rap obsession, since the early1990s was the golden age of rap. Wu Tang Clan, Gangstarr, KRS One, A Tribe Called Quest, Cypress Hill, and many more.

Not sure what rap lyrics will enter the canon of greatness over the eons. Only time can tell that. But, C-R-E-A-M is full on poetic in every way, and is a great song on top of that. Hard to match:"I grew up on the crime side, The New York Times side,
Stayin alive was no jive" (Raekwon)

"No question I would speed for cracks and weed
The combination made my eyes bleed" (Raekwon)

"But I'm still depressed and I ask what's it worth
Ready to give up so I seek the old Earth
Who explained working hard may help you maintain
To learn to overcome the heartaches and pain" (Inspectah Deck)
Rap represents a completely novel form of verbal expression. The style simply did not exist prior to 1980. Thus, for pure originality alone, it must be considered for its greater merit. IMHO as a result of merging 2 obsessions, the greatest rap songs stand side by side with the best English verse.

JimR-OCDS
11-22-2013, 01:06 PM
All art is subjective.
Just because you don't happen to like a particular art form, doesn't mean it isn't art.


It was a joke son. :D

I forgot to add emoticons, my fault.

Yeah, I don't like rap, mostly because the message in so much of it condones violence.

But it's still a form of expression, no matter how crude and vulgar.

Jim

UnknownArtist
11-22-2013, 01:21 PM
I have painted for no more than a year. So, you could easily call me amateur. Last week I painted a portrait for the first time and it turned out to be too tacky so I burnt it up. :o

I'm so frustrated right now at my sheer incapability to draw something like this:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Oct-2013/1190085-Melancholy-xx-Louis-Jean-Francois-I-Lagrenee.JPG

Question is, am I aiming too high too soon? Is portraiture a specialised area that I might not have a talent for? If I am to reach this level of sophistication, how should I start? Any video tutorials I can follow or a process... I don't even know where to start.

Aim high, live, learn, grow and enjoy the ride. Creating art is worth the effort, at least for me. (KISS = Keep it simple sweetheart!) :)

JohnEmmett
11-22-2013, 04:44 PM
All art is subjective.
Just because you don't happen to like a particular art form, doesn't mean it isn't art.

Art is a term of respect for beauty, really. Is the artist respecting beauty?

stlukesguild
11-22-2013, 07:50 PM
You just introduced me to an artist I didn't know about: Aron Wiesenfeld. Thank heavens his name is in the file name of the picture you posted. To my surprise he doesn't have a Wiki entry yet.

But I checked out his website - really marvelous stuff.

Yes... and he really throws a wrench into that supposed divide between "high" and "low" art. Wiesenfeld started out as a successful illustrator/comic book artist. But yes... some great stuff:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-8164812877_0a64f40e90_b.med.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-Train_Tunnel.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-The_Well-by-Aron-wiesenfeld.jpeg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-tumblr_mdr312GFlr1qanxsqo1_500.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-Snow_as_a_Girl.jpg

His paintings have an unsettling quality... suggesting an unclear narrative. They also suggest a style rooted in the work early 20th century American figurative painter... artists such as Grant Wood:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-GW.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-SetWidth500-198456-smalll.jpg

Andrew Wyeth:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-wyeth_medium.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-039_lrg.jpg

George Tooker:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-Clue.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-tooker-lunch.med.jpg

or Paul Cadmus:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-52179-mm1597.med.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-cadmus.jpg

These artists, by the way, all undermine the notion that realism/figurative painting died out with the triumph of Abstract Expressionism.

Wiesenfeld is an artist whose career I plan to watch carefully.

brianvds
11-22-2013, 08:12 PM
SaintLukes: I rather enjoy pop surrealism. Not sure one can classify Wiesenfeld under that, but his work does to some extent remind me of it. I wish I could get hold of higher resolution images than the ones on his website though!

stlukesguild
11-22-2013, 08:27 PM
Once I have the attention span, I'll post a similar set of tabs of great contemporary abstraction or semi-abstraction, and maybe they can peacefully coexist and everyone be happy.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-hb_1998.329.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-artwork_images_459_437522_al-held.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-9308.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-110_010.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-7.gif

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-2101943411_a89a903763.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-hodgkin_bedroom_700.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-DW.6961.lg.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-Schisoid-Head1.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-gold_treesoul.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-darcy4-1-09-10.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-armen_rotch-1_1.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-6._Anish_Kapoor,_Memory,_2008.jpg

.....

stlukesguild
11-22-2013, 08:29 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-214_anishk_jp021208_a.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-puryear-sculpt2-008.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-puryear.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-1989.68_1a.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-395918449_a9b3a41327_z.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-mmsomethingsmall.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-4._Tadashi_Kawamata_-_catedral_de_cadeiras,_ville_de_reims_2007.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-1230045_577103495669151_595258424_n.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-1237649_577103545669146_919129013_n.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-6351541c279fb2eaee5dd0ab842d9c60.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-036ff129.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-147148.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-JoanSnyder.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-Akiko_Taniguchi.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Nov-2013/39499-36762.jpg

Just a few abstract/near abstract/avant garde works by contemporary artists that I admire.

Artyczar
11-23-2013, 01:04 AM
SaintLukes: You just introduced me to an artist I didn't know about: Aron Wiesenfeld. Thank heavens his name is in the file name of the picture you posted. To my surprise he doesn't have a Wiki entry yet. :-)

But I checked out his website - really marvelous stuff.

Isn't his work superb? I remember when I first saw it a few years back (in person) at the LA Art Fair. It really stood out, and realism isn't my thing (usually). His NY gallery represents all realism and I was passing through their booth, and BOOM, his work hit me like a ton of bricks. There was something about his technique, subject matter, and the way he handled people and color that stood out far beyond the other artists in the gallery (for me) - and there were really great artists in that gallery too. Beautiful work.

Jody Schmidt
11-23-2013, 02:06 AM
saintlukesguild: AWESOME abstract sampler! :)

stlukesguild
11-23-2013, 09:14 PM
Agreed. The best rappers are some of the most skilled artists and poets in the world. Between 1989-1995, I committed 5000 lines of traditional English verse to memory. Keats, Eliot, Frost, Stevens, Pound, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, cummings, Yeats, Dickinson, Spenser, Donne, Marvell, etc. It's like it's in my bones and veins now. So much a part of my being.

Overlapping with that poetic obsession was an equally passionate rap obsession, since the early1990s was the golden age of rap. Wu Tang Clan, Gangstarr, KRS One, A Tribe Called Quest, Cypress Hill, and many more.

Not sure what rap lyrics will enter the canon of greatness over the eons.

I can assure you that almost none of it will enter the canon of great poetry. What you should recognize is that poetry has its own internal "music". It employs elements well beyond rhyme. With the possible exception of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, few literary critics or poetry aficionados take song lyrics seriously as poetry.

Song lyrics speak to us in combination with the music. The music adds a rhythm, an emphasis, a "poetic" flow. The music can intensify the lyrics... or ironically undermine or contrast with the text.

No one considers the librettos of operas to be great literature on their own. In many cases they are but light-weight tripe without the music. Mahler's Song of the Earth... possibly his masterpiece... certainly his greatest "song cycle" is a setting of a mediocre German translation or a French translation of a collection of Chinese poetry. But combined with the music it becomes something absolutely exquisite.

The notion that you can separate the parts of an art form like a song and the individual elements will stand up as masterful in their own right is as absurd as if we were to imagine that we can separate the elements of a great movie and find that the cinematography will hold up against the greatest still photography and painting, the text will hold up against the greatest literature, and the music will hold up against the greatest music.

mariposa-art
11-24-2013, 12:22 AM
The notion that you can separate the parts of an art form like a song and the individual elements will stand up as masterful in their own right is as absurd as if we were to imagine that we can separate the elements of a great movie and find that the cinematography will hold up against the greatest still photography and painting, the text will hold up against the greatest literature, and the music will hold up against the greatest music.
Hmmmm . . . I don't know about the music in films.

Lt. Kije by Prokofiev is a film score, but it's mostly known for being these days as just a musical piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1scluzlPz0

Now of course Prokofiev was Prokofiev. And Copland's "Red Pony" and "The Heiress" are remembered mostly because Copland is Copland.

But I wonder if perhaps some of Bernard Herrmann might be remembered in times to come, even though he was mostly known for his film scores (he did most of the Hitchcock films). Or other more recent composers that are mostly known for their film composing (like Williams, Goldsmith, and so forth). I don't know if they'll be up there with Mahler and so forth, but think that it's a possibility they'll have more traction than the cinematography and so forth of the same films. Of course I think it's more likely that the scores be remembered along with the films they support. But perhaps not always. It'll be interesting to see how that works out. I wouldn't automatically assume that all film scores will be forgotten in the future.

brianvds
11-24-2013, 05:28 AM
But I wonder if perhaps some of Bernard Herrmann might be remembered in times to come, even though he was mostly known for his film scores (he did most of the Hitchcock films). Or other more recent composers that are mostly known for their film composing (like Williams, Goldsmith, and so forth). I don't know if they'll be up there with Mahler and so forth, but think that it's a possibility they'll have more traction than the cinematography and so forth of the same films. Of course I think it's more likely that the scores be remembered along with the films they support. But perhaps not always. It'll be interesting to see how that works out. I wouldn't automatically assume that all film scores will be forgotten in the future.

The problem with film scores is that nowadays, composers seldom rework them into suites that are suitable for concert performance. The result is that the scores are often a bit rambling and full of filler that no doubt did a great job supporting the action on screen but does not stand well on its own.

If the composers went to the trouble of rewriting their film scores into concert suites or symphonies, at least some of the music will stand a good chance of entering the standard repertoire, though it is impossible to predict which pieces will make it.

Apparently Howard Shore did rework his music for the Lord of the Rings trilogy into a symphony. I haven't heard it (will go look around on YouTube when I have time!) so I can't comment on it.

If I'm not mistaken, Bernard Herrmann's music for Psycho also stands well on its own - I seem to remember having heard something like "Psycho Suite" on the radio once.

Jody Schmidt
11-24-2013, 09:19 AM
The problem with film scores is that nowadays, composers seldom rework them into suites that are suitable for concert performance. The result is that the scores are often a bit rambling and full of filler that no doubt did a great job supporting the action on screen but does not stand well on its own.

If the composers went to the trouble of rewriting their film scores into concert suites or symphonies, at least some of the music will stand a good chance of entering the standard repertoire, though it is impossible to predict which pieces will make it.

Apparently Howard Shore did rework his music for the Lord of the Rings trilogy into a symphony. I haven't heard it (will go look around on YouTube when I have time!) so I can't comment on it.

If I'm not mistaken, Bernard Herrmann's music for Psycho also stands well on its own - I seem to remember having heard something like "Psycho Suite" on the radio once.Nice. And, I am not sure if anyone performs Miles Davis' score for Breathless, but it definitely stands on its own. And, if I'm not mistaken, works like The Iliad were once sung. Not sure on that one. But, I hear ya, Saint Lukes Guild...no disrespect intended. Just sayin.

And, now that we mention Breathless, thank god for Hulu, it's combo of up to the minute TV shows and the Criterion Collection lets one go from the latest Vampire Diaries to Cocteau's Orpheus in 3 clicks, back to the latest American Dad and then to Malle's Elevator to the Gallows. F_in awesome. Worth every nickel of the 7.99/month. Just sayin, again.

mariposa-art
11-24-2013, 12:17 PM
The problem with film scores is that nowadays, composers seldom rework them into suites that are suitable for concert performance. The result is that the scores are often a bit rambling and full of filler that no doubt did a great job supporting the action on screen but does not stand well on its own.

Well, yes and no. I think you're right, that they work better as suites, and I know of some composers (alive and dead) who perform their music at concerts. So concert-ready pieces do exist for some of them, at least. If not, someone else can create one after the fact. I'm fairly sure this has already happened.

But, some CDs of entire scores exist and sell well enough to warrant them being made into CD in the first place, and some of these are for older films (like 50+ years). (Like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Robe-1953-Film-Alfred-Newman/dp/B000005LBX/ Alfred Newman is still a viable composer, it seems, even 60 years after he composed this score! :D )
If the composers went to the trouble of rewriting their film scores into concert suites or symphonies, at least some of the music will stand a good chance of entering the standard repertoire, though it is impossible to predict which pieces will make it.
It really is impossible to say. I don't know which composers or pieces will make it in the books 100 years from now, but I wouldn't say with any certainty that NONE of them would.

If I'm not mistaken, Bernard Herrmann's music for Psycho also stands well on its own - I seem to remember having heard something like "Psycho Suite" on the radio once.
Yes, I have an album of his with some suites. I enjoyed "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" suite. I'm not sure that would go down in history, but then again, "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" is already a fairly old film, and here I am, listening to it on CD, so . . . :D

DavidPriestley
11-25-2013, 06:00 AM
It was a joke son. :D
Son? Heh, I'm getting on towards 50 years old, I haven't been called 'son' for a loooong time. :lol:

I forgot to add emoticons, my fault. No problem.

Yeah, I don't like rap, mostly because the message in so much of it condones violence.

But it's still a form of expression, no matter how crude and vulgar.

Jim
There's a hell of a lot of rap out there that doesn't condone violence, includes thoughful expressions and messages of peace and the futility of violence and is anything but crude and vulgar. It'd be a shame if you were made to be prejudiced against that side of rap simply because of the stereotype of the other side of rap.

Art is a term of respect for beauty, really. Is the artist respecting beauty? I disagree, art is a term of 'interpretation'. It can interpretate beauty, but it doesn't have to.

For example, how many classic pieces of art have depicted death and debauchery? Picasso's 'Guernica' springs to mind, created in response to the bombing of the village of Guernica.
And yes, many rappers depict beauty in their words.

snoball
11-25-2013, 06:06 AM
I wonder if anyone has noticed how far afield these posts have come from the OP's question......

DavidPriestley
11-25-2013, 06:42 AM
I wonder if anyone has noticed how far afield these posts have come from the OP's question......

That's the beauty of discussion, it can lead almost anywhere.
Personaly I think it's been a very interesting thread because of it's variation.

Jody Schmidt
11-25-2013, 10:49 AM
Son? Heh, I'm getting on towards 50 years old, I haven't been called 'son' for a loooong time. :lol:
No problem.

There's a hell of a lot of rap out there that doesn't condone violence, includes thoughful expressions and messages of peace and the futility of violence and is anything but crude and vulgar. It'd be a shame if you were made to be prejudiced against that side of rap simply because of the stereotype of the other side of rap.

I disagree, art is a term of 'interpretation'. It can interpretate beauty, but it doesn't have to.

For example, how many classic pieces of art have depicted death and debauchery? Picasso's 'Guernica' springs to mind, created in response to the bombing of the village of Guernica.
And yes, many rappers depict beauty in their words. Agreed MUCH. Some of the greatest works of literature (Shakespeare's plays, that is) were meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator in order to keep The Globe and The Theater filled with capacity crowds. You name it, they had it. So, if anyone claims that gratuitous violence and sex lessen the artistic value of a work of art or literature, then they must be saying that whatever they are backing is better than Shakespeare himself! So, they must know some real good artists to be saying that!

JohnEmmett
11-25-2013, 11:27 AM
It can interpret beauty, but it doesn't have to.

Well, exceptions to every rule.

JohnEmmett
11-25-2013, 11:42 AM
Some of the greatest works of literature (Shakespeare's plays, that is) were meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator in order to keep The Globe and The Theater filled with capacity crowds. You name it, they had it. So, if anyone claims that gratuitous violence and sex lessen the artistic value of a work of art or literature, then they must be saying that whatever they are backing is better than Shakespeare himself! So, they must know some real good artists to be saying that!

So Shakespeare wasn't always at his best.

stlukesguild
11-25-2013, 10:02 PM
In Shakespeare's time the theater was essentially a new form of entertainment and was taken as seriously as an artistic/literary form as TV in the 1950s and 1960s. Shakespeare himself never saw fit to publish his plays because even he thought of them as mere entertainment... while he did publish... sometimes at quite an expense... his poetry. Even so, the theater was not a wholly populist working class entertainment. The lowest classes... what we might deem blue collar workers... made up the standing-room-only audience who stood on the open ground (hence the term "groundlings") immediately before the stage. Wealthier members of the audience would pay double the groundling admission for covered seats. The wealthiest members of the audience paid quite a bit more for raised seats with the best views, and even closed private rooms in the balcony.

Shakespeare clearly modeled his plays in such a manner to appeal to the broad range of his audience. Scenes of action, romance, pratfalls, puns, digs at the aristocracy were aimed at pleasing the groundlings, while more sophisticate wordplay, poetry, and literary allusion and metaphor were aimed at the wealthier and more educated members of the audience. There were few examples of sensationalism, horror, violence, or gratuitous sex in Shakespeare's plays... or the London theater in general... as these were available elsewhere in bear-baiting, public executions, etc...

A good deal of Shakespeare's strength lies in the manner in which his plays address and are accessible to audiences both "high" and "low"... the educated and the less educated. The art form itself allowed for the author to gauge audience response and edit the works in response. The plays as we have them today are as they were experienced in their final form.

The weakness of a majority of popular art of any ilk (Rap music included) is that the primary audience that the work is aimed at are not exactly highly educated and neither are the artists. A great majority of popular/populist art is rather stupid and vulgar to boot. As always... there are exceptions.

On the other hand, "high art", in aiming to impress a highly educated/sophisticated audience, faces the danger of becoming overly clever, pretentious, academic, and stagnant.

Picasso recognized this when he suggested that the finest art is produced in the same manner in which the aristocracy of the Italian Renaissance produced their children: through a merger of the "high born" and the "low".

WFMartin
11-25-2013, 10:42 PM
I wonder if anyone has noticed how far afield these posts have come from the OP's question......

Yes, I have surely noticed that the discussion has seemed to have strayed from the question first posed by the original poster, and that question was, “Am I aiming too high too soon?” I have not posted since my original post which was to encourage the OP that “No, you are not setting your goals too high, you merely need some instruction regarding how to achieve that goal”.

I then offered some advice regarding the way to achieve that goal, which was the creation of that realistic portrait. Now, while I don’t believe in reproducing old masters’ portraits, personally , there still are some methods of achieving such a likeness that may not be as difficult to attain as one may originally think.

The method that I described might be considered a “short cut” by some, but I don’t ever see anything degrading about learning something faster than learning that same technique by a slower method. It is not a matter of taking a “short cut”, but rather a matter of [B]shortening the learning curve—a concept that most [conscientious] teachers of art wish to bestow upon their students. Surely, there are those teachers who set great stock in the “paying of one’s dues”, and the idea that continual “practice” will automatically cause one to improve, or that making one's own mistakes over and over are beneficial to the final outcome. And, that is fine, except that if there were a quicker concept to use that will actually teach various art concepts that are sound and desirable, that actually employ artistic operations, ways of thinking and seeing at the same time, that will also speed the effort toward an established goal, then why not use them?

That is the method I originally suggested to our original poster. My progressive focus method utilizes very sound, artistic methods of “seeing”, “thinking”, and applying paint like an artist, and it caused me to experience almost instant success, far beyond that which my other, more traditional methods did not. Now that is really shortening the learning curve, while not employing "short cuts", or "cheating" by any stretch of the artistic imagination.

In my opinion, there is no more “legitimate” way to accomplish an oil painted portrait than by beginning that portrait by applying paint directly to a blank canvas with a brush. No one can be accused of “cheating” in terms of projecting, gridding, tracing, transferring, using photos inappropriately, or any of the many methods so reviled by artists, by merely applying paint to canvas. That has simply got to be the ultimate example of “not cheating” that could possibly be.

Now, whether others consider the application of paint in such a manner as “drawing” or “painting”, or whether such a process entails more, or less “drawing skill”, I have no idea, nor could I care any less. I do know that the very first time I tried this method, I created a reasonable likeness for the first time in my life. It was almost instantaneous, and I was so happy I painted another one just to prove that it wasn’t merely a fluke. It wasn’t, and I’ve been painting portraits in that method ever since.

I work from blurred photos that are the same proportion to that of the canvas. However, if one were to actually employ the sight-size method, as the original instructor advocated for this basic concept, the process would be extraordinarily easy, and in my opinion, that’s a good thing, in terms of achieving the goal…….that of re-creating the original painting of the old master.

There seems to be some mantra among artists that in order to be doing effective art, the process must necessarily be "difficult", or "challenging", or "requiring of extraordinary 'skill'", all of which I seriously doubt. All I ever suggested was that a few artists [such as the original poster] please give the method a try, and then if it seems to work out, then consider using it routinely. If not, then discard it. But, at least give it a try.:D

Jody Schmidt
11-25-2013, 10:58 PM
In Shakespeare's time the theater was essentially a new form of entertainment and was taken as seriously as an artistic/literary form as TV in the 1950s and 1960s. Shakespeare himself never saw fit to publish his plays because even he thought of them as mere entertainment... while he did publish... sometimes at quite an expense... his poetry. Even so, the theater was not a wholly populist working class entertainment. The lowest classes... what we might deem blue collar workers... made up the standing-room-only audience who stood on the open ground (hence the term "groundlings") immediately before the stage. Wealthier members of the audience would pay double the groundling admission for covered seats. The wealthiest members of the audience paid quite a bit more for raised seats with the best views, and even closed private rooms in the balcony.

Shakespeare clearly modeled his plays in such a manner to appeal to the broad range of his audience. Scenes of action, romance, pratfalls, puns, digs at the aristocracy were aimed at pleasing the groundlings, while more sophisticate wordplay, poetry, and literary allusion and metaphor were aimed at the wealthier and more educated members of the audience. There were few examples of sensationalism, horror, violence, or gratuitous sex in Shakespeare's plays... or the London theater in general... as these were available elsewhere in bear-baiting, public executions, etc...

A good deal of Shakespeare's strength lies in the manner in which his plays address and are accessible to audiences both "high" and "low"... the educated and the less educated. The art form itself allowed for the author to gauge audience response and edit the works in response. The plays as we have them today are as they were experienced in their final form.

The weakness of a majority of popular art of any ilk (Rap music included) is that the primary audience that the work is aimed at are not exactly highly educated and neither are the artists. A great majority of popular/populist art is rather stupid and vulgar to boot. As always... there are exceptions.

On the other hand, "high art", in aiming to impress a highly educated/sophisticated audience, faces the danger of becoming overly clever, pretentious, academic, and stagnant.

Picasso recognized this when he suggested that the finest art is produced in the same manner in which the aristocracy of the Italian Renaissance produced their children: through a merger of the "high born" and the "low".Well put. The key being that he did write to sell tickets, whether to aristocrats in attendance, or the proverbial Miller-type character, spun so vividly by Chaucer, pub-brawlers, cavaliers, and every other stripe in between and betwixt. I am not sure if he spun at all for anything but sensationalism. When I read his plays, once I get through the dialectical differences, I am definitely reading something with similar spirit and intent as Stephen King or Lost, Grey's Anatomy or Seinfeld, True Blood or The Sopranos. That's about the level, I believe, of intent, not greatness, of course, since there is just no accounting for genius, which can spring from anywhere, at any time. No self-conscious "I am an artist doing this". Not that self-awareness is bad when being artistic or creative: Picasso self-consciously decided upon seeing the Fauves, I believe, that he wanted to be more creative and didn't do half bad! But, Shakespeare wrote sensational fiction to appeal to a broad London demographic, not too different from any network television show, cable network show, or film produced by a major studio in the 21st century.

ianuk
11-25-2013, 11:23 PM
William Shakespeare only wrote scripts, theatre companies that bought those scripts and enacted the plays, dictated the audience.

mariposa-art
11-26-2013, 01:44 AM
I work from blurred photos that are the same proportion to that of the canvas. However, if one were to actually employ the sight-size method, as the original instructor advocated for this basic concept, the process would be extraordinarily easy, and in my opinion, that’s a good thing, in terms of achieving the goal…….that of re-creating the original painting of the old master.

There seems to be some mantra among artists that in order to be doing effective art, the process must necessarily be "difficult", or "challenging", or "requiring of extraordinary 'skill'", all of which I seriously doubt. All I ever suggested was that a few artists [such as the original poster] please give the method a try, and then if it seems to work out, then consider using it routinely. If not, then discard it. But, at least give it a try.:D
It sounds like a good method to me, and if it can help someone new to portraits, why not?

However, will it help when painting from life? Some of the traditional techniques will probably need to be employed when drawing or painting from life, and there's still a need for that and a joy in doing that. However, I see no "sin" in employing the technique you suggest, it's another way to help the artist "see" and that can't be bad, can it?

ianuk
11-26-2013, 06:43 PM
I wonder if anyone has noticed how far afield these posts have come from the OP's question......

Now look what you've done !! :evil:

snoball
11-26-2013, 06:47 PM
Now look what you've done !! :evil:
HA! It didn't change a thing!

stlukesguild
11-26-2013, 09:58 PM
William Shakespeare only wrote scripts, theatre companies that bought those scripts and enacted the plays, dictated the audience.

Not exactly. Shakespeare was also an actor and a partner in the company that eventually built the Globe Theater and held sole rights to producing Shakespeare's plays:

From 1594, Shakespeare's plays were performed by only the Lord Chamberlain's Men, a company owned by a group of players, including Shakespeare, that soon became the leading playing company in London. After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, the company was awarded a royal patent by the new king, James I, and changed its name to the King's Men. In 1599, a partnership of company members built their own theatre on the south bank of the River Thames, which they called the Globe. In 1608, the partnership also took over the Blackfriars indoor theatre. Records of Shakespeare's property purchases and investments indicate that the company made him a wealthy man.

Beyond the fact that theater or drama wasn't taken seriously as a literary form (Ben Jonson would become the first to publish his own plays... and was instrumental in publishing Shakespeare's), the money for theatrical companies came from the plays ("the play's the thing"). At this time, however, there were no modern notions of copyright and intellectual property rights. Acting companies were always on the look out for ways of stealing plays from opposing theaters. There were always those on the lookout for scribes writing down the text while sitting in the theater. There was also the temptation for a "poor player" to sell a copy of a successful play to an opposing theater. As such, actors often were only given access to a general synopsis, their own lines and those of the players immediately before theirs. It was often only the producer/theater owner and playwrights who held copies of the entire play. To publish a play would give access to this play to everyone without much return in terms of publication royalties.

stlukesguild
11-26-2013, 10:01 PM
It sounds like a good method to me, and if it can help someone new to portraits, why not?

However, will it help when painting from life?

Or when creating ones own image? If one approaches painting as something more than a mimicry of a photographic image, one will likely wish to learn about issues such as composition, color harmonies, drawing, etc...

StephenC
11-27-2013, 11:31 AM
William Shakespeare only wrote scripts, theatre companies that bought those scripts and enacted the plays, dictated the audience.

Not exactly. Shakespeare was also an actor and a partner in the company that eventually built the Globe Theater and held sole rights to producing Shakespeare's plays:

From 1594, Shakespeare's plays were performed by only the Lord Chamberlain's Men, a company owned by a group of players, including Shakespeare, that soon became the leading playing company in London. After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, the company was awarded a royal patent by the new king, James I, and changed its name to the King's Men. In 1599, a partnership of company members built their own theatre on the south bank of the River Thames, which they called the Globe. In 1608, the partnership also took over the Blackfriars indoor theatre. Records of Shakespeare's property purchases and investments indicate that the company made him a wealthy man.

Beyond the fact that theater or drama wasn't taken seriously as a literary form (Ben Jonson would become the first to publish his own plays... and was instrumental in publishing Shakespeare's), the money for theatrical companies came from the plays ("the play's the thing"). At this time, however, there were no modern notions of copyright and intellectual property rights. Acting companies were always on the look out for ways of stealing plays from opposing theaters. There were always those on the lookout for scribes writing down the text while sitting in the theater. There was also the temptation for a "poor player" to sell a copy of a successful play to an opposing theater. As such, actors often were only given access to a general synopsis, their own lines and those of the players immediately before theirs. It was often only the producer/theater owner and playwrights who held copies of the entire play. To publish a play would give access to this play to everyone without much return in terms of publication royalties.

:thumbsup:
Thank you for the correction, SLG. There is, as you have noticed, a lot of misinformation about Shakespeare.

ianuk
11-27-2013, 01:14 PM
:thumbsup:
Thank you for the correction, SLG. There is, as you have noticed, a lot of misinformation about Shakespeare.


I agree jemmett, there is much information about many things, thanks SLG :)

Artyczar
11-27-2013, 11:25 PM
Yes, I have surely noticed that the discussion has seemed to have strayed from the question first posed by the original poster, and that question was, “Am I aiming too high too soon?” I have not posted since my original post which was to encourage the OP that “No, you are not setting your goals too high, you merely need some instruction regarding how to achieve that goal”.

I then offered some advice regarding the way to achieve that goal, which was the creation of that realistic portrait. Now, while I don’t believe in reproducing old masters’ portraits, personally , there still are some methods of achieving such a likeness that may not be as difficult to attain as one may originally think.

The method that I described might be considered a “short cut” by some, but I don’t ever see anything degrading about learning something faster than learning that same technique by a slower method. It is not a matter of taking a “short cut”, but rather a matter of [B]shortening the learning curve—a concept that most [conscientious] teachers of art wish to bestow upon their students. Surely, there are those teachers who set great stock in the “paying of one’s dues”, and the idea that continual “practice” will automatically cause one to improve, or that making one's own mistakes over and over are beneficial to the final outcome. And, that is fine, except that if there were a quicker concept to use that will actually teach various art concepts that are sound and desirable, that actually employ artistic operations, ways of thinking and seeing at the same time, that will also speed the effort toward an established goal, then why not use them?

That is the method I originally suggested to our original poster. My progressive focus method utilizes very sound, artistic methods of “seeing”, “thinking”, and applying paint like an artist, and it caused me to experience almost instant success, far beyond that which my other, more traditional methods did not. Now that is really shortening the learning curve, while not employing "short cuts", or "cheating" by any stretch of the artistic imagination.

In my opinion, there is no more “legitimate” way to accomplish an oil painted portrait than by beginning that portrait by applying paint directly to a blank canvas with a brush. No one can be accused of “cheating” in terms of projecting, gridding, tracing, transferring, using photos inappropriately, or any of the many methods so reviled by artists, by merely applying paint to canvas. That has simply got to be the ultimate example of “not cheating” that could possibly be.

Now, whether others consider the application of paint in such a manner as “drawing” or “painting”, or whether such a process entails more, or less “drawing skill”, I have no idea, nor could I care any less. I do know that the very first time I tried this method, I created a reasonable likeness for the first time in my life. It was almost instantaneous, and I was so happy I painted another one just to prove that it wasn’t merely a fluke. It wasn’t, and I’ve been painting portraits in that method ever since.

I work from blurred photos that are the same proportion to that of the canvas. However, if one were to actually employ the sight-size method, as the original instructor advocated for this basic concept, the process would be extraordinarily easy, and in my opinion, that’s a good thing, in terms of achieving the goal…….that of re-creating the original painting of the old master.

There seems to be some mantra among artists that in order to be doing effective art, the process must necessarily be "difficult", or "challenging", or "requiring of extraordinary 'skill'", all of which I seriously doubt. All I ever suggested was that a few artists [such as the original poster] please give the method a try, and then if it seems to work out, then consider using it routinely. If not, then discard it. But, at least give it a try.:D

I don't know about any "mantra" going on about artists insisting that portraiture needing to be difficult, and I also think that your method of going straight to painting by using blurred 2D references is actually a great idea of getting someone right on track to painting portraits and likenesses of human faces -- BUT I will argue, that while I think that giving this a try is absolutely valid and good, there are some problems with it.

I feel that, later down the line, a person will be quite lost with having skipped drawing skills. This is not a mantra, but a logical, and even scientific ...okay, maybe not scientific, but it's an engineer's way of looking at just about anything for the sake of future safety.

Skipping gradients will only lead to accidents later down the line. Likewise, skipping basic drawing skills will leave you guessing and blinded when it comes to detail, shading, anatomy and anything else that is not in your reference, or even just unremarkable in your reference. It also leaves you unable to draw or paint without a reference! I mean, even the greatest artists in the world can hardly create without some kind of reference, but sometimes it is a jumping off point. If you knew what you were doing, your reference would be just that: a reference for anything goes.

What I'm trying to say, in a really long-winded way, is that the bottom line: you must know the pencil before the brush (ultimately) or you will eventually - at some point - feel like you are walking blindfolded and won't know exactly what to do with a .000 brush. I just think you're skipping steps.

mariposa-art
11-28-2013, 12:43 AM
I think Artyczar brings up some excellent points.

I don't object to WFMartin's method for a starting point, because I do think that it can help newbies to "see" more abstract shapes and that can help them capture the forms and proportions of a portrait correctly.

But, I asked before about drawing or painting from life, and I said there's something to that. I'm currently studying that. The colors are different (more accurate and, obviously, more "real") in real life. That's why a lot of artists like painting from life. The camera can sometimes flatten the values and colors, as well as distort the lines (sometimes just a bit).

Many great artists recommend drawing and painting from life as much as possible. I know that I much prefer to paint from life (whether it be a still life, landscape, or portrait) and I think there's a lot of fun in doing it that way. (Among other things.) Don't get me wrong, I still use photo reference and I'm not saying that there's any sin in using them! :angel:

In the case of portraits from life, I think there's often a connection with the model that isn't there with a photo. An accomplished portraitist I know says he has trouble drawing or painting from photo reference of a person he doesn't "know" (meaning not met yet) because he doesn't 'feel' the connection.

All these things may become an issue for someone seeking to become proficient in portraiture, which is the question the OP has.

I don't think WFMartin's method is "cheating" because it still is the artist employing their own eyes to see the proportions of the reference, but using a different way (looking at blurred photos at first, then less blurred). That seems fine. But the problem would be, being overly dependent on photographic reference. The "blurred photo" method is fine, as is the grid method, but only up to a certain point. Neither grids nor blurred photos help much when trying to capture something, often quite quickly, from life. That's where the more traditional drawing skills come in. :)

jaka44
11-28-2013, 01:18 AM
Arty and Mariposa, I don't think he was saying you should approach every painting that way, just that it was one way of painting the op's image.

At the end of the day, basically all techniques are going to fall short if you are trying to find a "one-technique" that fits all styles of painting. Best thing to do is to learn all of them.

mariposa-art
11-28-2013, 01:58 AM
I doubt that WFMartin is against painting from life (or more traditional drawing techniques), but since he never addressed that particularly, and since I think it's fair to say that these techniques WILL be something that most artists interested in portraiture will eventually need (or want) to master, that it's worth pointing out. In more detail. ;)

bleu
11-28-2013, 11:10 PM
I doubt that WFMartin is against painting from life (or more traditional drawing techniques), but since he never addressed that particularly, and since I think it's fair to say that these techniques WILL be something that most artists interested in portraiture will eventually need (or want) to master, that it's worth pointing out. In more detail. ;)

Can I add here, regarding drawing, I vote for sticking with it, going for drawing and looking at the subject as the best way to develop your abillities and confidence. I am not a portrait painter, mostly landscape. Yes, you can 'get away' with more doing landscape. But where's the satisfaction in that? Portrait, landscape, still life -- if you are working on paper or canvas give your all to looking, seeing. You will probably pick up something that is what you need in that direction. Stick with it. No tricks.

Ian_Myford
11-29-2013, 03:00 AM
We've just done a city break in Liverpool. And did all the attractions (all within easy walking distance - highly recommended)

Of course we did The Beatles Story and there's an interesting piece on their Hamburg excursion before they were famous. There's an old recording of them on stage in the Star Club on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. They did 7 hours a night for 7 days a week and you can hear them jamming out new rifts in between the songs. Some of these rifts are recognizable in their later songs when they were famous (I wanna hold your hand)

The point I'm trying to make can be summed up by Paul McCartney:

"In Hamburg we did 800 hours of rehearsals."

To make it to the top you need to practice practice practice. And when you're fed up - practice some more.

Jody Schmidt
11-29-2013, 10:31 AM
Finally got together a gallery of masterworks that are low on technical aptitude required to execute, but high on visionary (vision is scary!) qualities. They have been known to excite the pulse rate and dissociate you from reality, causing you to affect a clean break from your daily life to pursue art forever, so view with caution. Some are well known, others emerging. Made sure there was no overlap with Saint Lukes Guild's abstract selections a few pages back, which were awesome and leaned toward pure abstraction:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/975201-Begegnung.jpg

Begegnung by A. R. Penck

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/975201-klee.insula-dulcamara.jpg

Insula Dulcamara by Paul Klee

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/975201-tumblr_m5lid2eZ051qzg58bo1_500_by_guy_de_cointet.jpg

by Guy de Cointet

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/975201-woman-iii-willem-de-kooning-137point5-mil_msp1.jpg

Woman by Willem de Koonig

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/975201-wang_42.jpg

Urban Landscape by Zhan Wang (sculpture/installation)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/975201-WP063_m_walter_pichler.jpg

by Walter Pichler

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/975201-MVP035_m_magnus_plessen_leiter.jpg

by Magnus Plessen

More to follow: O'Keefe, Kandinsky, Basquiat, Pollock, Monet, Gauguin, Mondrian, many more.

Artyczar
11-29-2013, 06:06 PM
Jody, those are great! Some of my favorites are in there.

Your Penck just reminded me that I could not keep one of my biggest influences and most favorite artists of all time out of your conversation, as many people do not know of him.

Carlo Zinelli (1916 – 1974). He was a schizophrenic, outsider, visionary artist from Italy. Although he did leave in the late 1930s to volunteer to fight in the Spanish Civil War.

That didn't last long because of his mental illness, so he was placed on medical leave after only two months and committed to the psychiatric hospital in Verona in 1947 and spent TEN YEAR IN ISOLATION!

From there he moved around a bit and worked with a couple of psychiatrists, but all he did was paint all the way up to his death in 1974.

There are a LOT of more interesting things about his life. This is just a rough outline. He was obsessive and for some reason had a fascination with the number four.

Anyway, I love him. I think you will too.

Here are a few of his paintings.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/24237-009a3_may27_moe_img.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/24237-carlo_zinelli_1.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/24237-carlo-personnages-1964.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/24237-carlo-zinelli-3.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/24237-Carlo-Zinelli-1916-1974-e1320590446556.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/24237-tumblr_l3hav0ZpkX1qc8khqo1_500.gif

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2013/24237-tumblr_me3l0nuLvd1qc8khqo1_1280.jpg

StephenC
12-01-2013, 04:46 PM
I agree jemmett, there is much information about many things, thanks SLG :)
It's probably best to do some research before you comment on actual people and events.

ianuk
12-01-2013, 05:09 PM
It's probably best to do some research before you comment on actual people and events.

And I suggest that you do the same before congratulating SLG on his own research that Shakespeare had control of what he had written and by doing so dictated his audience. There is actually, not enough fact based truth either way.
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3716667?uid=3738032&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21103098988853

No doubt whatever I write, you will find fault, as that is your way...

StephenC
12-01-2013, 07:47 PM
And I suggest that you do the same before congratulating SLG on his own research that Shakespeare had control of what he had written and by doing so dictated his audience. There is actually, not enough fact based truth either way.
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3716667?uid=3738032&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21103098988853

No doubt whatever I write, you will find fault, as that is your way...
Which is why I was able to congratulate SLG on his corrections. Rather than let your error stand, as I thought to do, he corrected it. So credit for exposing your misinformation belongs to him.

Your 1940's reference is outweighed by both previous and recent scholarship which places Shakespeare at the center of his plays as actor, producer and as an owner of the theater company and not, as your statement about him would have it: "William Shakespeare only wrote scripts,..."

ianuk
12-01-2013, 10:00 PM
Since you are writing of scholars knowing far more today than before, I may remind you that the facts of Shakespeare are not really 'facts' merely the surmising of your scholars. There are indeed, still scholars today that are working to prove that William Shakespeare was not the author. They have as much right to pursue their theories, as fans of Shakespeare have to pursue theirs. So what you regard as disinformation has as much viability, as your so called, correct information.

StephenC
12-01-2013, 10:13 PM
Since you are writing of scholars knowing far more today than before, I may remind you that the facts of Shakespeare are not really 'facts' merely the surmising of your scholars. There are indeed, still scholars today that are working to prove that William Shakespeare was not the author. They have as much right to pursue their theories, as fans of Shakespeare have to pursue theirs. So what you regard as disinformation has as much viability, as your so called, correct information.
Scholars have access now to more records of Shakespeare's career than ever before.
Working to prove Shakespeare was not the author of his plays is an amusing pastime and not the same as your claiming "...Shakespeare only wrote scripts,...", which is too far gone to be redeemed.
You are simply, on this point, in the wrong.

ianuk
12-01-2013, 10:20 PM
It's only your opinion that I am wrong and you of course, are right. The scholars of today don't even know if dear William's true name is one of the following, Shaxpere, Shaxberd, or Shakespear. Of course, you know for certain because you've read it somewhere that his name is indeed, Shakespeare. And as the bard would tell us, therein lies the rub...

On the other hand, I neither care if I am right or wrong, it's really not that important to me. Many things are written here that can be argued as wrong. I neither have the time nor inclination to argue. It really doesn't matter, that much.