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Old 09-29-2011, 05:21 PM
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equinespirit equinespirit is offline
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Ok, so where does it come from?

You know when you are drawing something with no reference and it works and comes alive?
For me atm this is mostly smaller details such as when I have a poor ref photo and I have to fill in the missing detail or when I alter the eyes of an animal as I always seem to do.
But I know that many artists are able to just draw with no ref.

When you draw like that where does it come from?
And why does it often work better if you draw fast?
I find it strange and always worry I will wake up and it will be gone, how about the rest of you?
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Old 09-29-2011, 05:33 PM
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

"And why does it often work better if you draw fast?"

I think this is seen in a number of endeavors. How often has someone said, "I couldn't do that again if I tried!"? The shrinks probably have a fancy name for it, but I think it's letting your muse out.

--Rich
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:27 PM
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by equinespirit
I find it strange and always worry I will wake up and it will be gone, how about the rest of you?

I used to worry about using it up, so I would parcel it out "wisely." Of course, it's best to use it, as it regenerates itself cyclically and one is a better artist for having used it. And so it goes. That way, you are your own muse.
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:28 PM
Barbara WC Barbara WC is offline
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

Part of being able to draw without a reference photo is being familiar with your subject- as you are able to with your equine subjects.

I've seen artists do demos of landscapes, no reference, and I'm in awe. I can draw a recognizable head with good proportions and features without a reference but can't seem to draw a decent tree without a reference. But, people are my interest, not landscapes, and I regularly attend figure and portrait sessions and rarely go plein air painting.

Familiarity is key.

Oh, and drawing fast- that's because you're not thinking- when you slow down and think about things, the thought process gets in the way...

Barbara
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:39 PM
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by equinespirit
But I know that many artists are able to just draw with no ref.

I don't think as many as you might think. My guess would be a very small percentage can successfully draw without a ref. And when they can it is because...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara WC
Part of being able to draw without a reference photo is being familiar with your subject- as you are able to with your equine subjects....Familiarity is key.

I think that most of our creativity (well, mine at least) comes from our subconscious mind. But the technical skills we learn to apply as artists are learned consciously for the most part. It is repetition and really studying what things look like that makes it possible for those things to become part of our subconscious and just "flow" after a while when we draw and paint.

Since at times the creative process seems mysterious and fleeting, I know that, I too, used to wonder if "my talent would go away." I have found that the more one learns and studies and practices, the doubt will go away because the ability to access the subconscious will become easier and easier.

That's my take...

Don
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:44 PM
Barbara WC Barbara WC is offline
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAK723

I think that most of our creativity (well, mine at least) comes from our subconscious mind. But the technical skills we learn to apply as artists are learned consciously for the most part. It is repetition and really studying what things look like that makes it possible for those things to become part of our subconscious and just "flow" after a while when we draw and paint.

Don

This is an interesting observation Don. When I first started with the human figure from life sessions a few years ago, I did things very consciously, and if someone asked about something in a particular figure painting, I could usually tell them the steps used in the process.

Now when I paint a portrait or figure, in watercolor or pastel, if someone asks how I did something in particular, rarely can I answer. At the end of each weekly portrait session, I feel as if I've woken up from a dream and don't remember exactly what I did. Guess that's the subconscious mind working? It's not me, that's all I know
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:09 AM
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

an in between learned a bit more solidly last weekend was doing something from thumbs only. some nice fun to be had in that.

painting faster shorts out the over thinking of things. but not so fast you make a real mess of things. that's why my sketches sometimes turn out so much better than my 'real' work, i've sped up, stopped worrying about making it 'right' and just dove in to 'just do it'. not to mention, its tons of fun!
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:26 AM
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

What a coincidence! I just found a blog site that really made me sit up and think about painting from my imagination and how hidebound I am with my (hopefully) realist depictions of landscapes. In fact, this site had such a profound effect on me that I had to write about it so I've just finished blogging about the site, the subject and the art.

Dale
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Old 09-30-2011, 02:56 AM
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

Great replies thank you !

Its comforting to read this for a newbie like me, and I think you are right Don, great post.

I read a while ago that we should endeavour to draw something every day and do try and do so, especially try to find time for some sketches.

I like realism but it can be stifling to copy so close, its when I find freedom in an area that I really enjoy it but that only works with things Im familiar enough with as you say.
Off to read your blog Dale, thanks.
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:08 AM
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara WC

Familiarity is key.

Oh, and drawing fast- that's because you're not thinking- when you slow down and think about things, the thought process gets in the way...

Barbara
I agree with Barbara here. I think she has hit the nail on the head. Deep and intimate familiarity forged by hours and hours of keen observation and drawing from life. Once your hand/eye gets the knack for a subject, you can pop it out quickly and without too much noodling. But the dues you pay in order to get there are significant. It ain't a "gift", in my opinion. You can earn it by observation, study, and practice.

Jan
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:44 PM
sketchZ1ol sketchZ1ol is offline
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

hello
well , i have to say that i've never made a painting
that i couldn't explain in some way , sooner or later .

i've made ' no ref ' pieces , that come out of idea sketches ,
but geometry, colour, time progression , texture ,
or something is always involved .
> just because i didn't say/preconceive, ' i will do thus and so '
doesn't mean that it's subconscious (whatever that means) .

i admire the Impressionists' concepts
and Jackson Pollack for his epiphany of process/energy ,
and other points in time/history ,
aspects/milestones from different cultures ,
but i wouldn't presume that i'm carving the next milestone .

okay , that's resolved .

i'm still learning about how the sticks/colours of the pastels
that i've been able to gather
work together as colour , colour mix , and line
because i could not find a schooling for colour theory with wet media .
= learn by doing .

and , as is said , ' i'm okay with that '
and will happily plod along .

Ed :}
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:56 PM
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

something from the workshop is using a thumbnail to get the concept of place. you can like the shapes, but then put away your ref. (or turn away) and do several value thumbs using the same shapes/composition.

using 4 values (saving white and black for tiny accents) assign different values than the originial concept. so if the photo shows the sky bright and the trees dark, turn it around! or make the ground lighter, dark trees and a middle value sky. marla had us do a few of these and it made art making a bit more fun, a bit less 'photo copier'. play with it, have fun.

then once your values are decided, change up the color schemes. go for an all blue or how bout all neutrals? all warm or all cool? or do them all!!!

Quote:
It ain't a "gift", in my opinion. You can earn it by observation, study, and practice.
oooh, this is so well put!!!
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Old 09-30-2011, 03:02 PM
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

I've always wanted to draw from imagination. What led me to draw in the first place was a desire to take images from my head and share them with others. I have been trying it on and off all my life.

I get better at it the more I practice and the more familiar I am with the subject. If I want to sketch Ari, I can do that on anything no matter where I am and whether he's in sight. If I want to sketch a sabertooth cat, I compare its anatomy to Ari and give it a good feline build.

That seemingly unconscious, confident, happy state of drawing without thinking about it may not be the subconscious. It could be a period of time when the artist's consciousness is entirely focused in the right brain - the nonverbal, visual, perceptual, intuitive side. It feels good. It's a wonderful state of mind that always results in better art than I produce if I'm concentrating on art in a left brained way.

As a writer I try to train my mind to function in both hemispheres simultaneously. So I can describe and interpret what I'm doing even while I'm drawing in that state and making wordless artistic decisions. That took a lot of work. It first started getting effective when I did street art in New Orleans because I could concentrate on the painting with my right brain if I occupied the left side with giving the client and audience an interesting patter about my process.

The more often you get into that wordless, intuitive state of mind, the easier it is to wake it up and get into that state. It's a big part of what learning to draw gave me. What I learned from books and classes and examples comes back easily during the painting and I complete it much faster.

There's a way to test this too- try drawing with your off hand. It may come out better than you expect because your left hand is usually connected to your right brain. I don't know if the brains of left handed people are reversed, it'd be interesting to hear from a southpaw about whether that happens when they try drawing right handed.

Anyway, the right brain doesn't understand language and is all about shapes, forms, color, composition. So it can feel like it comes out of nowhere and is unconscious. It's just a different kind of consciousness, a beautiful one that can be cultivated.

There's my understanding of it. I love painting in that state, it always comes out much better than I planned.
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Old 09-30-2011, 03:43 PM
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

I think it can be either.......you are blessed with a 'right brain' that is extremely creative or you can study, work hard and develope a sence of artistic ability.......so many good artist come out of the many workshops that exist worldwide......

in answer to Robert about the developement of the right side, I agree that a good engineering/scientific/business left side enhances the finite decision making process for the right side........but the creative process still emulates from the right.......it truly is a 'gift'.......and I personnally utilize it that way.....I was given it and I utilize it to give back......
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Old 09-30-2011, 06:03 PM
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Re: Ok, so where does it come from?

Thanks for all your replies, I find it really interesting to get everybodies different take on this.
I love your post Robert.

As to whether its earnt or a gift, I can see and agree with the reasoning behind it being earnt but I also think there is more to it than that otherwise we would all draw/paint exactly the same with the same amount of practise and we would also all be great at anything we put enough effort into but I dont believe that is the case.
People have different mediums for art-and I include all art in that not just painting but music dance etc.
They also have things which resonate strongly with them and those tend to be the things they do best.
So I think its more complicated than just putting in the work.
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