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C_Line
01-24-2007, 07:06 PM
I was thinking what a good idea the post "What's Your Day Job" was and it got me to thinking about other questions I'd like to hear your responses to that effect your artwork. I'd like to know, what would you say is the most significant or memorable lesson(s) you remember from art classes in school, primary, secondary or beyond?

I'd have to say learning the fundamentals about composition, making a jillion color wheels and value scales and analyzing color schemes and learning how to see/draw perspective, foreshortening, etc....is what has stuck with me the longest...so thank you Dr. Meadows, Mr. Russell, Mrs. McKelvie...and all you other art instructors for your excellent teaching and inspiration :clap: .

how about you? (I'm hoping your comments will job my memory!)

C_Line
01-24-2007, 07:14 PM
P.S.: "jog my memory" looks like a lot in my brain needs help!

Tiasa
01-24-2007, 09:31 PM
From art school I think the most important thing I learned was that I could survive having others criticize my work. We all had to share and comment. At first I thought I was going to die, I felt so naked because my feelings had a way of showing up in my artwork. I also learned what I was good at, and not so good at. All the technical stuff was very valuable too--the color charts, value scales, etc.--since I still use what I learned.

I remember one other thing from grade school--and it has been a long time. Everyone had to make some kind of picture for the parent-teachers night. I got my picture all done and decided it need rounded corners--not those dull, boring square corners. When the teacher saw that I had cut the corners off she was really mad. She said they couldn't put my picture up now because the corners weren't like everyone elses. She said it had been a nice picture and I had ruined it!! I learned the picture was nice, I was a bad girl, and the teacher was way too exicted about rounded corners.

debsn2paintn
01-25-2007, 12:11 AM
I never took art in school or college. I started my artistic endeavor with scrapbooking, then took some tole painting, with lead me to acrylic painting (1 1/2 years ago) and found my way here. I have learned the most from all the wonderful people here on WC, what is the best thing?... I think that painting/photography has opened my eyes to see the world like I had never seen it before...all the colors and details!

So, thank you everyone :)

lightfast
01-25-2007, 12:37 AM
never use cheap watercolors and papers - those were supplied free to us kids, but they were almost useless for any real painting. so now the rule is 'always get the best quality materials'.

CSimchik
01-25-2007, 12:47 AM
I had a fabulous art teacher ...and anything I did was great! I think she taught me that we all have an artistic side and we need to explore what works for us, whether it is buying art, photography, painting, videography or gardening. But as someone said-it opens your eyes to the details and effort!!

dreamz
01-25-2007, 12:48 AM
The biggest thing I think Ive learned from classes is that I dont give a whit about theory. The instructors and classes I got the most out of where the ones who just stuck a brush in my hand (or a lump of clay or whatever)

Tiasa, I can feel where your coming from with the corners thing, there's one high school project that haunts me. We were supposed to draw something out of scale, I started out with a 3' spark plug, the teacher said NO, not like that! So I drew a Hurst shifter.. NO! So I got real smart allecy and drew a roach clip:evil: You guessed it... didn't pass the criteria!

In drafting class we were supposed to do a quick sketch on onion paper before laying out a kitchen, I was finished first but the teacher said I wasted time measuring and detailing (it was free hand) I brushed it off and moved on but then when we were doing our own project I designed a garage conversion complete with a fire place, the instructor said it wouldn't work so.. I went to an uncle who built fireplaces.. showed him the drawings and was told it was well designed and certainly WOULD work.. went back and told the instructor he was an idiot!

So the other big thing Ive learned about art classes.. don't put to much stock in what the instructor has to say but then Ive also had classes Ive enjoyed and had good interaction with the instructor

C_Line
01-25-2007, 12:50 AM
wow, Tiasa...I had to learn that too...about handling criticism. One of my favorite teachers, Mr. Russell wrote to me (in my yearbook) "The sign of a teacher doing his job is not me telling you what you are already aware of, your talent, your ability, etc. Because that only encourages sameness...my job is to push you on in whatever way I feel will work." That's what I feel is important about art teachers and the beauty of this forum. Our peers can by their knowledge help us to grow. So keep cutting the corners off you paintings!

Deb - I'm impressed that you've traveled down this road and find such enjoyment and have learned SO much in such a short time.

Lightfast -- I agree, and that leads me to another question I was going to present as a separate thread, maybe poll, if it's not already been done (which it probably has) -- my local hobby supply that's handy just sells what I think is the "academic" grade of acrylic paints like Liquitex Heavy Body, Winsor & Newton Galleria. I buy them for convenience. Is there a big difference between them and the "professional" grade...I think W & N "Finity"...?

katsarecool
01-25-2007, 12:54 AM
This thread has great possibilities and value especially for those of us who are self-taught. I am subscribing to this one!

C_Line
01-25-2007, 12:56 AM
gosh, sounds like I was really fortunate with some fabulous teachers...certainly though I'm sensing the importance from Dreamz and Tiassa's experiences the importance of thinking for yourself, after all isn't that what creativity is all about?

Another good lesson I just remembered was always try to work the picture as a whole, not just the various parts for harmony. I know, I know elementary, but I still have to remind myself of that one.

C_Line
01-25-2007, 12:57 AM
Okay, Nancy, let's hear yours!

katsarecool
01-25-2007, 01:00 AM
I took a few years of art in high school (with the same teacher) and we never seemed to get around to picking up a pencil or brush. The teacher was more interested in lecturing us about the Old Masters; which was great but no painting? Or drawings? I had more success in French class. I did learn to love Claude Monet and his history though. But still...........

What I have learned on my own is that you get what you pay for when buying art supplies. And to jump right out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. And from Deepat; push the darks! :)

C_Line
01-25-2007, 01:05 AM
Hmm, I'm going to have to look into that "from Deepat; push the darks!"...care to enlighten us newbies?

katsarecool
01-25-2007, 01:09 AM
Check her out in the drawing and sketching forums. I have learned a lot from her. :)

C_Line
01-25-2007, 01:11 AM
Excellent, thanks for the directions to her work Nancy.

Andun
01-25-2007, 01:31 AM
You and all the other wonderful folks here at WC are my teachers Celeste and I really,really,really appreciate you all!!!!

celtic.catgirl
01-25-2007, 01:36 AM
I learned that Art School is not a place for people who like to color outside the lines.

Since then I have learned that my best tool is my eyes followed by my right hand...

I also learned that paper clips are not an appropriate subject for a college student.

rmc
01-25-2007, 03:07 AM
I was a straight sciences girl - never did any art unless a bit of technical drawing counts until a few months ago - I would have said I couldn't draw - but there you go!
Big huge thanks to WC who I regard as my school - imposing my never ending sucession of wips to get guidance from all you great teachers out there.
There are a few biggies I have learnt over these past few months:
- believe in yourself - you never know what you're going to discover until you give it a go.
-On a practical note I am guided the most in my approach to painting by keeping it simple and I rely heavily on a tonal underpainting.
- Best I learnt from the workshop last year was to treat the canvas as a whole.

C_Line
01-25-2007, 08:11 AM
Wow, I'm getting the overwhelming sense that art classes, school, etc. doesn't always foster creativity. If fortunate one can learn the fundamentals, but from there "believing in yourself" (good point Ruth) and just painting or drawing or whatever inspires you...keep doing it.

See, that's what I remembered too -- succinctly put "treat the canvas as a whole".

idylbrush
01-25-2007, 08:52 AM
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

chammi kaiser
01-25-2007, 10:04 AM
Biggest lesson I have learned is DON'T MAKE MUD. Don't overmix colours. I cannot even begin to relate how much I have learned here on WC from wonderful artists. For the best advice in the world, ask Howdrick!!!!

mseymour
01-25-2007, 10:33 AM
Composition (fill the page); color theory/color wheel; tonal values (especially darks) help a lot; don't make it "pretty."

faunafan
01-25-2007, 12:27 PM
Well, from my one college art class in 1985 my instructor said to "paint what you see", whether it's right there in front of you in life, a photograph or in your imagination. That has helped me a ton with my first 2 paintings.

katsarecool
01-25-2007, 12:33 PM
Checking in. Lots of good information here. I think art school is much like other formal education; once one is graduated a lot of is we never use again. This is very informative. And I have to agree about the WC teachers here; so many reaching out with kindness, compassion and eagerness to see improvement and confidence growing within the "students." Go WCers!

Café LoLa
01-25-2007, 12:42 PM
I can't remember too much from my actual foundation year over twenty years ago, but I am taking continuing education courses for a Certificate in Fine Arts Techniques. The one thing I am learning from one instructor is that it doesn't matter if you like a particular technique or not - you need to learn it so you know how it works. Say if you're not a big fan of pointillism (eg Seurat) - you still need to know how it's done so you gain an understanding of the purpose and how it works (and how it doesn't work).

Another thing is - draw what's in front of you - whether you like it or not doesn't matter. You'll find soemthing interesting about it the more you draw it - you learn to use your eye.

Jeff Rage
01-25-2007, 12:50 PM
This thread has great possibilities and value especially for those of us who are self-taught. I am subscribing to this one!
I 2nd this. I hope we get lots of responses. I'm giving the thread 5 stars.

blondheim12
01-25-2007, 12:56 PM
I learned courage, a solid work ethic and determination are the real keys to success as an artist. Without those, you will not survive in the art world.

Love,
Linda

objectivistartist
01-25-2007, 01:04 PM
From personal experience, have to agree learned much more on own than did in school - took art in high school, but knew more than the teacher - it was a guaranteed 'A' with little more than having fun... best knowledge came from books and applying.. the Holmes addage - not just see, but OBSERVE....

idcrisis55
01-25-2007, 03:54 PM
We didn't have art in school when I went but I have taken some art classes. The most important thing I have learned is that there will always be someone that is a better painter and someone that is not as experienced as I am and that we need all levels of experience. IMHO, the student is the teacher and the teacher is the student (Was it Confucious that said something like that?) We all have something of value to contribute even if we are unsure of what we see or how to say it. The other thing I have learned is to accept critiques for what they are and not to take it as something against me personally. So the things I've learned are a part of art or any undertaking. Someone will like what we do, some won't. The main thing for me is that it is the process, the joy of the colors, or seeing a drawing that all of a sudden does resemble the subject. That, I've learned, is the most important part, the learning and what painting brings into my life, such as you people. :D My apologies for going on so, but the question really interested me.

C_Line
01-25-2007, 06:36 PM
That, I've learned, is the most important part, the learning and what painting brings into my life, such as you people. :D My apologies for going on so, but the question really interested me.

I agree wholeheartedly Ann. Thank you for sharing.

C_Line
01-25-2007, 07:09 PM
I just wanted to take a minute to recap some of the things I've really appreciated so far in reverse order (thanks to EVERYONE for sharing) if my "editing" misquotes anyone, please be sure to CORRECT me!

1. Ann: "accept critiques for what they are and not to take it as something against me personally...the most important part, the learning and what painting brings into my life, such as you people."

2. Objectivistartist: "learned much more on own than did in school...best knowledge came from books and applying.. the Holmes addage - not just see, but OBSERVE...."

3. Linda: "courage, a solid work ethic and determination are the real keys to success as an artist"

4. Jeff: Thanks for the 5 Stars!!! I'm enjoying it too.

5. Cafe Lola: "draw what's in front of you - whether you like it or not doesn't matter. You'll find soemthing interesting about it the more you draw it - you learn to use your eye."

6. Nancy (aka Katsarecool): "so many reaching out with kindness, compassion and eagerness to see improvement and confidence growing within the 'students'." I'll second that!!

7. Faunafan: "'paint what you see', whether it's right there in front of you in life, a photograph or in your imagination." That's the same thing Cafe Lola said!

8. MSeymour: "Composition (fill the page); color theory/color wheel; tonal values (especially darks) help a lot; don't make it "pretty." Would love further explanation of "don't make it 'pretty'".

9. Chammi: "DON'T MAKE MUD. Don't overmix colours" Excellent advice, I've made plenty of mud pies!

10. hcowdrick: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." Hmm, we're all friends here, right?

11. Ruth (RMC): "1. believe in yourself - you never know what you're going to discover until you give it a go. 2. keeping it simple and I rely heavily on a tonal underpainting. 3. ...treat the canvas as a whole." Yep, pt. 3 keeps popping up.

12. Celtic Catgirl: "...color outside the lines. ...my best tool is my eyes followed by my right hand... "

13. Anthony Dunphy: "wonderful folks here at WC are my teachers"

14. Nancy (aka Katsarecool): "you get what you pay for when buying art supplies. And to jump right out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. And from Deepat; push the darks" another vote for darks...

15. Me: "work the picture as a whole, not just the various parts for harmony"

16. Dreamz: "I dont give a whit about theory. The instructors and classes I got the most out of where the ones who just stuck a brush in my hand (or a lump of clay or whatever)...don't put to much stock in what the instructor has to say" Back to the color outside the lines, right?

17. CSimchik: "we all have an artistic side and we need to explore what works for us"

18. Lightfast: "'always get the best quality materials'."

19. Deb: "painting/photography has opened my eyes to see the world like I had never seen it before...all the colors and details!" Pretty nice view, huh Deb?!

20. Tiasa: "I could survive having others criticize my work...the teacher was way too exicted about rounded corners" Artists do color outside the lines, don't they?

I'm sure I've cross posted with some while doing this, but here's to a wonderful group of amazing people enriching the lives of others with their talents, work, inspiration, experience, thanks for sharing these important points with all of us. :clap: :clap: :clap:

dreamz
01-25-2007, 09:52 PM
Celeste, I don't just color outside the lines... I go right off the paper! Most people would say they march to the beat of a different drum, in my case I thinks its more like a bagpipe or dridgadoo. :lol: I think the only rule I follow faithfully is that rules are made to be broken.

C_Line
01-26-2007, 01:20 AM
Bravo Dreamz.

Heidi7Sue
01-26-2007, 02:12 AM
I also have never taken an art class, since about 3rd grade anyway. The most significant thing I have learned was from my first drawing book, and that was that you should draw what you see, not what you "know" it should look like. I'm always amazed at how realistic my drawings look when I do that.

In my third grade art class, I learned that art class was not the place to learn what I wanted, which was to paint beautiful paintings. Instead we learned how to draw cubes (snore) and never went past that. I could never figure out how that was going to help me paint the gorgeous mountain scene I wanted to paint.

So as an adult, I decided I wanted to learn to make art, but I was to scared to start with what I wanted most, which was painting, so I started drawing. Eventually I worked up the guts to buy some paints, and I played with them for years, never attempting any pictures, before I finally started doing step-by-step exercises from a book. In the last year I have finally graduated to copying pictures from the RIL, and this spring I'm going to make myself take the easel outside and paint from life. I guess I'm a chicken at heart - slow steps work for me.

I think I'm rambling - it must be time for bed. :)

LisaArt
01-26-2007, 04:15 AM
Oh this thread is just great! Thanks for starting it Celeste. :clap:
I think everything you learn in a class or here on this great forum you get something out of it. And I have learnt so much here on WC! It is my virtual art school with great artisits and friends :) :heart:
I have taken many classes and I have basically have taken the same lessons as many of you pointed out.

When I am painting now - I make sure, I make a few sketches of what I want to portray, then I use the canvas as a whole - think in harmony as you said Celeste. I try to look at the object not as the object, but rather in shape and colour and I squint a lot to see the different light and values of something. Colour was one of the most important things to learn for me and of course practice and practice. When I paint, I stand back alot and take time to look at the painting. I have to control myself also and not overwork something...let little accidental brush strokes happen, sometimes they are the best. And If I am tired and frustrated I call it a day and look at the painting the next day. And - I never drink wine in my studio and then paint. I have really missed some things up..LOL. :lol: :lol:
I pour myself a nice vino at the end of the day and not visit my painting again...LOL! I find it better to sleep on things and tackle them the next day with a clear head. :thumbsup:

mseymour
01-26-2007, 11:33 AM
Celeste: I guess by "don't make it 'pretty'" is meant, don"t make it merely decorative.

Leslie Pz
01-26-2007, 11:38 AM
How to hold my beer!

C_Line
01-26-2007, 12:36 PM
:lol: LOL Leslie :lol:

Thanks MSeymour for the explanation ... I agree, there's plenty of decorative art around.

Lisa - You're welcome. I've enjoyed the thread too. You've added a lot of practical suggestions here. I liked "try to look at the object not as the object, but rather in shape and colour and I squint a lot to see the different light and values of something..." I need to remember this one: "If I am tired and frustrated I call it a day and look at the painting the next day." Hmm, but one remark you made, if I followed your philosophy my paintings might improve: "I never drink wine in my studio and then paint."...I paint after work and man a Newcastle sure helps me loosen up my painting arm & brain!

Heidi - bravo for your perseverance. I liked "draw what you see, not what you 'know' it should look like"...as to drawing vs. painting...you've laid the foundation for doing wonderful paintings - learning to see and draw. Like Ruth said, "believe in yourself - you never know what you're going to discover until you give it a go"!

Café LoLa
01-26-2007, 12:59 PM
May I expand on the two tips:

5. Cafe Lola: "draw what's in front of you - whether you like it or not doesn't matter. You'll find soemthing interesting about it the more you draw it - you learn to use your eye."

7. Faunafan: "'paint what you see', whether it's right there in front of you in life, a photograph or in your imagination." That's the same thing Cafe Lola said!

What I meant was in school, the instructor would put a boring subject that you have absolutely no interest in, can't get excited about, and say draw this in 5 different ways. The rational behind this is you look at it objectively and see it for what it is - and draw it. You don't get distracted by how cute it is or how beautiful it is. An example would be an egg. It's very simple with almost no color, but you just have to focus on drawing the egg - you look at it objectively and you see the shape, the shading, and the like. The point was - don't "not draw anything because you haven't found something interesting to draw yet".

karma kat
01-26-2007, 01:14 PM
Well, I don't have any formal instruction in painting. It all started when I picked up a brush last February and I've just been learning as I go along. I get a lot of help here at WC and I also do exercises in instruction books (thank goodness for NorthLight!) to refine my techniques.
I did, however go to college for Graphic Design, and I can wholeheartedly agree with what's been said about not taking what the instructors say seriously. I had a couple of great teachers that really encouraged my creativity, and we did the usual color wheel studies and perspective drawings and stuff like that.
There was one teacher, however, that I never got along with and I guess it showed when I was in class because I'll never forget what she said to me: She said "If you dislike art as much as you seem to, then you need to find another vocation". :mad:
It only drove me to further myself. She always got mad because I didn't do enough thumbnail sketches and she never liked anyone's work unless it was "mainstream". She wasn't too happy either after I went back 3 years later to tell her that I did make it and landed a job. Some people are just bitter like that, I suppose.
So, I guess the biggest lesson I learned was to never stop trying no matter what anyone says and follow your own heart even if everybody else is doing the same thing. Be different. Be spectacular. But most of all, just be yourself and do what you love!

C_Line
01-26-2007, 01:17 PM
Thank you Laurie for the clarification. That's a really good reminder.

NodakerDeb
01-26-2007, 01:25 PM
What I learned most in art school was that you can paint and draw with just about any kind of implement, use just about anything (pigment, mixed media, stuff you haul from the dumpter), and as long as you can afix it to your substrate you can make art. The sky is the limit in what can be used and the methods to get there to make a good composition. :)

Enchanted
01-26-2007, 02:11 PM
As someone who "earned!" two degrees in art, I have to say the strongest piece of advice I recieved was from a professor with an international reputation who told me, "Take negative criticism and use it to make your work even more-so!" In other words, cram it down the critic's throat and make them eat their words - at least that's how I interpreted it.

For example, in my case I was often criticized for using "un-real color." Now I'm more often than not called a "colorist" - as a complement.

:)

C_Line
01-26-2007, 02:19 PM
Enchanted: Hey, I've been called a colorist too...now I know what it means! Cool.

Deb: "The sky's the limit"...free that imagination of ours, huh?

KarmaKat: "never stop trying no matter what anyone says and follow your own heart even if everybody else is doing the same thing. Be different. Be spectacular. But most of all, just be yourself and do what you love!" Thanks for the reminder.

Tiasa
01-27-2007, 04:29 PM
We were supposed to draw something out of scale, I started out with a 3' spark plug, the teacher said NO, not like that! So I drew a Hurst shifter.. NO! So I got real smart allecy and drew a roach clip:evil: You guessed it... didn't pass the criteria!

Dreamz, I loved your story about the Roach clip!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

O.K., Here is something I didn't learn in artschool . . .what the heck does the phrase "Don't make it merely decorative" mean?

Isn't all art decorative? (If it isn't political or social commentary). I sure don't use art to drive to work, vacuum the floor, cook my dinner. Am I going down the tubes if I don't object to something social or political???:confused:

mseymour
01-28-2007, 01:49 PM
Tiasa: The key word is "merely."

Einion
01-28-2007, 02:04 PM
Most significant or important art lesson learned in school?
If I restrict myself to art school: that teachers don't necessarily know what they're talking about. Oh well do I remember the 'colour theory' lesson...

But if we're talking school itself: the basics of using acrylic paints, from the last of my art teachers who was a painter first and foremost.

Einion

snuffy243
01-28-2007, 02:18 PM
My high school art teacher once told a fellow student, "You are the only one that makes your hand move." The person he was talking to was an excetent sketcher and was having trouble drawing a tree trunk. Ten minutes later he had drawn the whole tree, which looked like a photo.

Thank you for that all important bit of wisdom, Mr Eli.

Tazart
01-28-2007, 08:57 PM
I only had art lessons at school until the age of 16 & can honestly only remember a hideous still life of paint cans & a rubber plant which we seemed to paint forever on that cheap thin shiny paper .... however I do remember a school trip to the Tate Gallery where I immediately singled out David Hockney's "The Splash" as my fave...

My father used explain perspective at great length to me which I always enjoyed (even though I'm still poor at it !!) & Mum was always encouraging in all forms of artistic creativity so I think they deserve the most credit...:heart:

Overall though, I am left with very happy memories of art lessons, even though I don't remember specifics, so I guess my teachers, all 3 of whom I remember their names (more than can be said of many other subjects!!!) suceeded in creating a love for art even though it has taken a while to re-surface :)

C_Line
01-29-2007, 12:23 AM
I'm glad to hear you had teachers who instilled a love for art...I remember by art teachers fondly too.

Selahs art
01-29-2007, 12:40 AM
Alove for Art and Perspective, I had a stunning ar teacher bac in the 1960's.

Retha