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Old 01-01-2012, 12:01 AM
creativechrissy's Avatar
creativechrissy creativechrissy is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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Question Level of ability/Difficultly of subject matter or techniques

In preparing to teach workshops, and in general wondering how people would classify things, just wondering if we similarly agree that certain subject matter or techniques fit in to similar ability groups.

Now this is in regards to your experience and expertise as an artist. Remember when you first started what was simple and what was more complex. Now as an intermediate or advanced artist what is difficult or challenging but achievable to you but would be beyond the ability of a beginner.

This question is more in regards to painting.

My viewpoint is this -please feel free to add to these categories or change what you would fit where. Bear in my things categorised are determined on a general level or ability of standard achievement -so think about how you would 'grade' a bunch of students into categories; beginner students will exhibit similar skills compared to advanced students.

  • Sill lifes
  • Trees, Bushes, Flowers
  • Basic gradient sky/ocean/land
  • Contemporary, Abstract, Kitsch, Pop Art, Decorative styles
  • Composition, Colour theory & mixing
  • working from reference photos
  • Water
  • Skies with sweeping clouds
  • Blending
  • Perspective
  • Animals & Wildlife
  • Texture -fur
  • Glass, Reflections
  • Realism, Impressionistic, Cubism
  • Creating own composition from numerous reference photos
  • People/Figures/Anatomy/Portraits
  • Pattern in fabric, Drappery
  • Detailed clouds
  • Photorealism, En Plein Air, Classical/Traditional approaches
  • Working directly from memory
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:08 AM
TheCubist TheCubist is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 6
Re: Level of ability/Difficultly of subject matter or techniques


I'm considering organising art classes myself, so this is something I've also been thinking about.

It depends upon context of course, but I'm not sure I agree with your reasoning, e.g. that still life is easy and portraiture is hard, or that photorealism is harder than cubism? Maybe still life and cubism just appear slightly easier to get away with if they don't go quite right?!!

If I was to go back in time and have a proper art education, other than the one I had, I'd say that beginners should be taught foundations: observation, value, composition, perspective, proportion, etc and how to develop an 'eye'.

Intermediate would be doing the foundations well and getting good 'standard' results whatever the subject matter and learning some advanced techniques .

Advanced students would be masters of the basics and not only getting excellent results but adding their own flare or personality.

My concern with grading subjects rather than tools/techniques in order of difficulty is be that it might tend towards learning based on formula rather than observation; it's the difference between being given a fish or a fishing rod.

Just my opinion of course, I'm not an educator!


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