View Full Version : Preface to PRACTICE & SCIENCE of Drawing

10-17-2006, 09:03 PM
Reading this preface tonight, just had to give it a thread too because
so many ideas right up front.

What a brilliant man to step back and reassess what he wanted to
learn to be the artist he wanted to be.

In so far as this was accurately done, all this mechanical training of eye and hand was excellent; but it was not enough. And when with an eye trained to the closest mechanical viaccuracy the author visited the galleries of the Continent and studied the drawings of the old masters, it soon became apparent that either his or their ideas of drawing were all wrong. Very few drawings could be found sufficiently "like the model" to obtain the prize at either of the great schools he had attended. Luckily there was just enough modesty left for him to realise that possibly they were in some mysterious way right and his own training in some way lacking. And so he set to work to try and climb the long uphill road that separates mechanically accurate drawing from artistically accurate drawing.

IF I didn't know, his words sound as if they could have been written yesterday.
To write about how communities have and are loosing
their individuality and how out of this we merge into a new world,
a combined world, I am amazed at his insight.
"After a time these newly-met forces will adjust themselves to the altered condition,
and a larger, finer stream be the result."
Do you think he was
writing of wetcanvas??? :)

10-23-2006, 01:06 PM
Hi Nickel,

I am amazed at how many of the essays written in the late 1800’s and the first decade of the 20th C are still applicable to today’s life.

At this point, I don’t think that I would consider the exacting eye and hand training to be the cause of whatever made some drawings lack life and the masterpieces seem vibrant. When I was in art school, I saw many inaccurate drawings that were probably just as “mechanical” as what Speed saw in art school. Some of this is just that students get tired as they strain to keep going.

I love reading that there are “no short cuts”. Speed praises the method of teaching drawing that has the student draw basic forms such as cylinders, cubes and spheres. (I was taught that this was an invention of Cezanne, but it isn’t hard to believe that variations were around earlier. Does anyone know of anything?) After simple shapes, plaster casts, and finally heads and figures.

After training and training for accuracy, the student goes to study “the masters” by drawing in the museums and finds that the masters aren’t always “accurate”. Speed wants us to consider why the masters may have chosen not to be “accurate”. It’s an interesting question, “Why would they not be accurate, when they knew how to be accurate?”.

We certainly have an even more extreme situation where travel and communication prevents the sort of isolation that once characterized art training.

I remember reading in Joshua Reynolds that art professors would be telling students to model after certain artists and avoid looking at others. Contemporary students could try this for a while, but there is certainly not the sort of agreement that once existed.

Barb Solomon:cat:

10-24-2006, 07:12 AM
Very few drawings could be found sufficiently "like the model" to obtain the prize at either of the great schools he had attended

I havent start reading all the preface yet. But what he said about very few works being acurate to the model sound kind of shocking. Especially nowdays that in portraiture do a photo like painting or drawing is exactly what is expected most of the time.

I am eager to read the rest now. I got stuck in this phrase. It got me thinking and thinking of why. Dont know why yet. But Titanium usually says that Fine Art is not about copying exactly what is in front of you. He says you get trained this way to learn but then that is not what Fine Art is all about.

It is really amazing how past and present is so much alike.

10-28-2006, 06:33 PM
oops - I didn't see this preface thread and posted comments on the preface in the chapter one - here they are again

comments on the preface - The metaphore of the stream of art is interesting though I don't agree with his concept of an advance. I think good art is timeless so none is "left behind" really: all have a place inder the sun. I'd use the word deepening of art rather than advance of art but I may be a bit of a prig.

10-28-2006, 11:09 PM
azulparsnip - Hi! It’s nice to see you here!

I did the same thing with posting comments in the wrong chapter! hehe!

I like your thoughts about “a stream of art”. It does have an old fashioned feeling to it. I’d feel a little too “certain” of things if I went aroung saying that any particular direction was where the world was going!

Though I like the metaphor in the sense, that it does make learning to drawing and becoming an artist seem like it is part of a continuum. That we are connected to the past and connected to what is going to happen.

Thanks for pointing that out! I hadn’t noticed it before.

Rose - He’s right about “the masters” having many innaccuracies! Usually, the seem so right that we don’t even notice them! (Look at some of Titian's paintings, for instance! The female figures are gorgeous, but, they seemed big to me.)

There are lots of artists who agree with Titanium. Personally, I’d hate to say anything bad about working accurately. I’ve seen people limited by not being accurate enough lots of times. But, it is true; there are so many inaccuracies in masterpieces in museums.

I hope that you join in with us!

Okie, dokie! Which "Speedster" is on to the next chapter?!!!!:evil: :lol:

Barb Solomon:cat: