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Old 04-03-2012, 11:44 PM
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Colorfur Critters Colorfur Critters is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

I am really enjoying this thread, so many comments have resonated with me. However, I'm not much of a writer..but I am a reader.
I want to say thank you for everything you have posted, Harley. I hope you continue telling us your truths.
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Last edited by Colorfur Critters : 04-03-2012 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 04-04-2012, 04:09 AM
makinart makinart is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

Thank you Chewie and Lola,
Chewie, the truth is that for many years, I was quite average. As with most humans, we do start off somewhere in the middle. We learn to speak, gain a bit of knowledge and try mightily to fit into our culture.

It's what we do once we settle down to life that might make the difference.

Yes, I'll admit that I can draw. But it was not so for many, many years. Even in art school, I didn't stand out. There were some who did show great skills and sadly a number of them didn't push their talents when "released" into the world.

What happened to me has been a strange journey of guy who had one indispensable trait: I never gave up. And I suppose the reason I was a hard case is that I loved, (and love,) art beyond normal reason. Way beyond.

In school, I was below average in the maths and sciences; I was shy and found it hard to communicate. I spoke through my art and music. And through my teen years my music was way above my visual arts. I was playing "Flight of the Bumblebee" and "Bumble Boogie" at age 12.

Because of an incident in art college, my shyness turned into a few years as an extreme extrovert. So much, that the college kicked me out the final year. Rightly so.

My basic "average self" continued with that steely minded intent of steadily moving forward; even though wobbly at first.

I'll leave the story there; but with the message that I started out, compared with my young fellow artists, as a relatively middle of the road artist.
.................................................. .................................................. .....

Drawing is one of of those things that we can do for its own sake. To draw!
To a dedicated artist, it is the breath of life. It is one thing that can bring us to our nirvana. Always, when I drew, I felt like an individual; something unique is coming from me. Something my own. And the more that I drew, the more it was personal. More than anything else, it gave me confidence in myself.

That confidence bore fruit when I got into my mid thirties. I'll spare you the details surrounding the moments, but I actually began to verbally express myself without "help." Whether people agreed or understood my ramblings was beside the point; I had some "catching up" to do.

Oh, I draw; it is my happiness, my therapy, my deep and outwards expression. The drawing is for me to enjoy. It is a wonderful and passionate self indulgence. It is me. It is us.
-Harley-
Ah, my friends, there's more............

Last edited by makinart : 04-04-2012 at 04:14 AM.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:02 PM
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robertsloan2 robertsloan2 is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

This is beautiful. Harley, thank you for inspiring me today. I clicked on this thread just amused, wondering if you had something cool to say that'd cheer me up. Wow. This post went way beyond that.

You've brought me some peace about my writing.

I know my art's good. I've always known people like my art, even people who didn't like me liked what I drew. Often before I was satisfied with the quality of what I was doing. My writing was a completely opposite situation - even people who loved me and cared about me all had their own reasons to discourage me from becoming a writer. Yet that's what I set out to do in my life from the time I was four years old.

At that time I figured I needed to draw my own illustrations in order to get them accurate. Never happens in the publishing world. I've gone in directions that I never expected with both. I can remember being a little kid bored stiff with still life paintings of fruit - didn't get interested in that till I was hungry and painted an apple before I drew it.

Writing is all of those things as much as art is, Harley. You're reminding me it doesn't matter how many years it takes for me to get as good at it as I want to be. That it's the same thing as my art. I write better than I used to and not as well as I will, just the same as I paint. Both of them are long past the point where I would get frustrated and hate the results.
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Old 04-06-2012, 11:39 AM
makinart makinart is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

Thought 7

You described it just right, Robert; from the direction that counts, your personal experience. Very moving.

I look at drawing from two basics: learning the "craft" and making it my own. That's how I finally discovered my art.

For the basics, I had mentors who were brilliant artists and who knew just how to impart information. I was in my late 20s and early 30s and was just starting to get "smart" in a good way. But I also had been doing my art all
those years and fully understood what was being offered.

I got it when the "instructor" talked about a "sublime" line that gives us
satisfaction; "rim lights;" "lost edges;" "working background with foreground;" "where to push values;" "allowing my subconscious to work with my conscious mind and when, (and how,) to fully let it take over;" "design;" "shapes;".........

We're not even talking about color here. But those endless studies, (and I do mean endless,) allowed me to comprehend color in a natural way; like walking and running and jumping and climbing difficult rocks. All accomplished as nature intended. Finally.

Yes, in the early shy and hesitant years, I craved approval. Yet, from the right people, like my artist father, it meant something in feeding the ego but also in
gaining knowledge.

As the years progressed, I got over the hump of fret and worry. It became my virtual life: eating, sleeping, drawing.

It became natural....for instance, I was able to draw whatever was placed in front of me, no matter if I'd ever seen the subject before. (a real test and inspiring time was drawing animals from life for several months each year with a group of colleagues.)

I can't remember when it happened that I "drew for me," "did art for me." But it would not have worked, in my case, without understanding many of the grand principles of art.

In my case, I never believed in "putting my personality" into a drawing or painting, until I knew what I was doing. I have the greatest respect for Mother Nature; she comes first, the brilliance in what she offers. I'm there to interpret and I can't interpret without a foundation. I don't push a style, it just happens.

Finally, one thing that is important: I've never had a "goal." I do what I do because I simply enjoy it. The learning years, (which don't end,) are pure
ecstasy. My early, middle and later years have been general euphoria. Certainly there are tragedies that happen. And common setbacks. But our chosen life, no matter where we are in the Art World, is what counts. It's not a
matter of "who's better," it matters that we are spending our time engulfed in the joy of our art. The only competition we have is ourselves; our own development.

No one can be better than you because: No one is you.

Let me put it another way: I'm the best Harley Brown there is, because I'm the only me. But happily there is plenty of room to develop.....and that's what keeps me going. My subject, my eyes, my pencil in hand and the paper.

Back to my sketch book. I don't know if I'll learn anything today......wait, I take that back! We always learn by doing. And what fun, to create an image on a pure blank piece of paper. That's art.
-Harley-
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:41 AM
makinart makinart is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

THOUGHT 8

Okay, I understand it clearly; words, words, words. At the same time, it is a way of communication. Even in art. (I'm answering a question my inner mind just sent.)

Yes, there are continual words flying about in the art world. Words about, "how to," "step by step," and the all time favorite, "What is Art?"

We've all read millions of words, some bearing great weight and others vaporizing immediately. Which ones do we grab on to; which have meaning in our lives? To add to this conundrum, each of us is different.....we each need somewhat different "input for our individual output."

"I'm often asked about principles that have been important guides in my art.
So, let's transport ourselves to an art seminar and it's question time: "Mr. Brown, what are some of the great thoughts and theories that have made a difference in your life as an artist? Could you pass some on to us?"

"Thank you, Sarah, that's an important query for several reasons. But first, I'll hand you a couple of goodies: "Don't make shadow areas too busy or richly colorful. They are the accompaniment areas with the sections in light getting the attention and detail." And: "A painting shouldn't be half warm and half cool. Push the temperature more one way or the other."

"Here's the problem with throwing out art theories, Sarah. We hear them and can be impressed; still it might take a while before we utilize them.....or they often just evaporate from our minds. We get so many, they can be a jumble of nice sounding words. What to do?!

"I'll tell you how things worked for me. It took a while, but I got clued in to what to listen for; what was important that I could use. Some of the lessons, (at times a few sentences, a simple image,) were like Mt. Everest. They were the anchors.

"I'd put them in to practice; fiddle and get used to them. I was at the early part of learning so my having a "style" was not part these sessions. Straight forward using grand principles.

"In time, Sarah, the good stuff got more dynamic and more complex. The best part is that the subtle things were "offshoots" of the "Mt. Everest" theories. What I'm saying is that we bring into our minds the real essentials that have been handed down from the masters; and the rest of the art elements will begin to sort themselves out. AND IN TIME will join in with our individual approach. INDIVIDUAL APPROACH did I say?" Yes, Sarah, I did.

"That approach comes in it's truest form through confidence. True confidence is earned. Earned from those hours and days and months we dedicate.

"I have fair confidence......but through my art. It causes a snowballing effect, to want and build upon. No end to it. A lifetime of bliss in art. Doesn't matter about sales or people accepting us. It is something that we do FOR OURSELVES.

"In my workshops, I'd say some things over and over and over again. Badgering and pushing and cajoling through stories and demos and getting up and ecstatic and down and serious. Many of the students caught on and began to build. Confidence, joy, spirit and skills became evident. Bit by bit.

"Finally I'll tell you this, Sarah, Art is not a job or a pastime, it is a way of life. For me and so many of my colleagues, it makes us glad we're here on earth to experience such deep, personal joy. Success in art is not what many might
think; to me it is this: OUR INNER NEED TO MAKE ANOTHER PAINTING.

"Thank you for the question, Sarah; hope the answer works for you. Why don't we call it a day and amble over to our studios."
-Harley-

Last edited by makinart : 04-08-2012 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 04-08-2012, 06:10 PM
makinart makinart is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

THOUGHT EIGHT----(continued)

Thank you all for being here. From my heart. You might be interested that "Sarah" didn't leave; she got me an ice tea and told me a bit about herself and her lifelong involvement in art. She then had an interesting follow up question to the one she asked in "THOUGHT 8."

Moments like this are to be treasured. I love the personal feelings that discussions open. So, I'm going to take a few moments to "freshen up" and will shortly be back with you and Sarah's question.
-Harley-

Last edited by makinart : 04-08-2012 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:27 PM
makinart makinart is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

SARAH'S QUESTION

"Thank you for staying, Harley. This is such an opportunity for us to get deeper into the learning side of art. And because we have the time, my next question is going to be more involved.

"Let me tell you just a bit about myself. My name is Sarah Ashcroft; in my mid thirties and I'm from Los Angeles. Art has meant everything to me for as long as I can remember. I've attended a couple of art colleges and a number of workshops over the years. In all they've been quite helpful.

"Your comments struck me; made me think of where I am. I work at my art most of the time. Every so often, I get good critiques. Art is all I want, to paint, to make it my life. I have a part time job at a hospital and the rest of the day, I'm in my studio. I just don't feel I'm going anywhere. I want my obsessiveness to be leading somewhere that's uniquely my own, in the right direction. My direction.

"You talked about how you tapped into yourself; you finally found "Harley Brown." And that gave you such strength that general acceptance of your works didn't matter. What mattered was knowing who you were. That's what counted and you never looked back.

"I'm bringing this up because I know that some others here might feel the same way. In fact I know they do.

"I realize there's no way for you to try and figure what's best for each of us
individually. But do you have some advice we can take home; how we can begin to "tap" into ourselves and have little doubt where we're going? This is a big question but you'll notice, no one is leaving.

"Let me get you another ice tea, Harley."

(to be continued)

Last edited by makinart : 04-09-2012 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:37 PM
makinart makinart is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

AN ANSWER FOR SARAH

in a field of questions, Sarah, your's comes close to the center of importance. To put it in the vernacular, if an artist doesn't know who she/he is, or can't quite get a grip on where things are going, time and energy and emotional thrust begin to evaporate.

Magically, luckily, coincidentally, (however you want to put it,) things got clear for me in a few startling and well remembered moments. Here's why they worked: I was seeking them and was ready for them when they faced me.

I'm not certain how many people visit these "conversations" of mine, but I'll assume those taking part are much like my students of years ago. Meaning,
many will at least listen seriously and perhaps use some of the ideas. And
there will be those who casually glance at the words in passing.....and get right on to other things.

I understand both groups because I've been there. Hey, I don't put myself down as the final word in art..........But I am a word.

There's your pre-amble.

I followed the works of many of my students who did and didn't follow my lessons. Lessons garnered from mentors of mine.......who in turn learned from
their master instructors. (like going to a college of music or seminars in writing) For the most part, those who took the lessons seriously, (and from other teachers,) developed their art remarkably. AND eventually with their OWN unique approaches.

As you've heard me harp continually, I would go after students over about sloppiness, non observation, trying to be different for its own sake, not hanging in with a principle until they understood it. On and on. Yes, I've said it many times, after these classes, if the student wants to junk the ideas and steer into another direction, that's fine. But whether they believe it or not,
however they turn, the basics will make them so much stronger in whatever they do.

(Again a reminder, I play jazz piano including boogie and stride. I could not have done it without the strong basics.)

Now to the next step: There are those reading this who are saying, "hey, I'm happy with the way things are going in my art. Things are cool and I do it whenever I can. Plus its fun mixing it up with art friends from around the world. I'm okay, thank you."

I'm happy for that person. If we find a good and peaceful and happily fulfilling notch in life, we're blessed.

In the early years, I was one of those who finally got to a point where I needed outside input from top professional artists. My ego was doing me in; I thought I was brilliant. After all, my friends and family told me so. I had a pompous strut and way of talking, and at the same time, I was selling fairly well. You see, once they KICKED me out of art school, I decided that exact moment, I would "never work for a living." To me, art was not work and THAT WAS IT FOR ME!!! But in a few years, even though I wasn't able to put it into words, I had a hollow feeling seeping in.

With those thoughts thrown out, Sarah, I can now tell you of the help and self
revelations that would begin to appear on the horizon.
-Harley-
(continued)

Last edited by makinart : 04-11-2012 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:16 PM
halthepainter halthepainter is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

Harley, I'm still with you although I don't usually respond but

STRIDE??????
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:25 PM
makinart makinart is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

AN ASIDE FOR HAL AND "STRIDE" PIANO.

An interesting question, Hal.
Here's an answer for you.

I played stride piano because when I was about eight or nine, my dad played
Fats Waller and James p. Johnson records for me. I was into classics, but these blew my mind. James P. Johnson was the grand daddy of stride. It is where the first and third notes, (in a musical bar) are play in the lower tones on the left side of the piano. The third and fourth notes are higher chords.

So when you see a stride piano player going at it, his left hand is moving and hitting notes, sometimes rapidly, back and forth to the beat of a musical number. I would often use it, when I didn't have a bass or drummer playing along side me. It actually started around the 1920s. I have a grand piano in my house and I haven't touched it for years. My psychiatrist told me why.

Sarah, hope you don't mind this "musical break."
-Harley-

Last edited by makinart : 04-11-2012 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:04 PM
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

AN ANSWER FOR SARAH. PT 2

I'll get right to it. Short and sweet.

I was pecking away in life drawing class, Art College.

The professor saw my ability but knew I needed direct help. Then and there.

He sat down in front of me and proceeded to draw a seemingly simple area: the model's knee. It was a rare 15 minute demo for me alone.

The gravity of what I saw was enormous. I remember every moment, including how I trembled with emotion: I was witnessing just two feet away and in real
life, the creation of a masterful drawing. A moment that changed me.

Why? Simply because he discussed what he was doing along the way of producing an absolutely marvelous and spirited drawing. Of the model's KNEE! The foreshortening, the shading, accuracy of anatomy; even how it was designed within the page.

I sensed this instructor's pure joy while drawing. It came through with not only the pencil strokes but his words and body language. An experience for a young very unsophisticated student. Wonderful art in the making and I was oh, so ready to experience it.

Remember, it lasted a mere 15 minutes yet that powerful moment is with me
today.

And Sarah, it is one of many moments that brought me together in that long journey to find myself.
-Harley-
(continued)

Last edited by makinart : 04-11-2012 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:11 PM
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

I just want you to know Harley that I do read and cherish your words, Thank you so much for continuing this thread.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:41 PM
makinart makinart is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

A QUICK ASIDE TO SARAH'S QUESTION

It has been said that there's not much difference in the molecular structure between a fir tree and a human. It gets me to thinking that you, dear reader, and I are like family.

Carrying that a bit further, we are all quite close in our feelings, emotions. Yes, we go about our needs in different ways; but I'm hoping a few thoughts from me might strike a bell we have in common.

Those bell tones rang to me throughout my life. So I'm up here clanging away, hoping that some of you, even way in the distance can hear me. And those of you who know me, realize there is a meaningful purpose.
-Harley-
(continued)

Last edited by makinart : 04-11-2012 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:02 PM
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

I'm hearing you! I appreciate your words.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:55 AM
fritzie fritzie is offline
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Re: Harley Brown's eternal truths....

Now that I have checked into this thread and see what you are doing, I will always follow it. Wetcanvas is so big, I have just never until now wandered here.
Thank you for mentoring us.
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