Art can keep us joyfully, content each day even with real challenges. Challenges are motivating; they keep the brain cells charged and blood circulating. I got into art because from the start it was and is and will be life. What is life? I continue to find that out every day
Once I put the first few strokes onto paper, my inner feeling blossoms, and it stays even if I walk away from the easel after five minutes. Those strokes are reminders of an obsession, keeping our hearts and minds alive in the best ways. Age means nothing to me; my mind is half my age. (Knock on wood.)
Visions are continuations that feed into the brain. I might be observing passengers' expressions on an airplane or working out the foreground and background in a painting. You, dear reader, and I are different than most; visions are there for us to recreate on canvas and paper. Our eyes go to our subject and over to our developing art piece. As time progresses, the flow becomes more natural, keeping our thinking ready and moving. Many of my art friends are in their 90s and every one of them is continually inspired.
You and I, We Create
I received a lot of advice in my early years. In time, I begin to know what wisdom to keep and what to set aside; a natural give and take. We each have our uniqueness, keeping what works for us. I eventually came to a point when I had no doubt of my “artistic direction.” I can veer if I want to; nothing is engraved in stone. Let me put it this way: if I really wanted to spend my future days playing piano in a bar, I'd do it. Most important: my wants are creative.
Drawing What We See
In my younger years, I was able to draw a figure fairly well. I could also draw a dog or tree. I was understanding that we learn to observe and draw what we observe. Putting it another way, I've never drawn a kangaroo, but I know if I did, it would be as good as one of my portraits. We don't learn to draw specific things, we learn to draw what's in front of us. You and me both. Remember: a subject drawn or painted with accurate shapes and values you are making it happen.
It is up to you the artist whether or not to lighten halftones and darken shadows. In the same way you want to accentuate that shape or push a color. The well-developed inner mind quite enjoys taking control of those moments. Representational art is not from a human camera. It's our subject being realistically drawn yet with plenty of each of us poured into it.
Yes, yes, yes when laying on the pastel, oil, charcoal, pencil strokes, be accurate—something I continually talk about. Eventually you get to the point where your individuality steps in and takes control...knowing just how much you want to make that nose exact, the hand on the hip, the folds in the fabric. When starting out, I tried mightily to get these things just right. In time my mind got stronger understanding accuracy and knew how to subjectively use it. Think Degas and Fechin. Both are great representations of an artist but so very different. Oh, to see the two of them in an art studio painting the same model at the same time. That alone would be a classic film. Every artist and lover of art in the world would want to see it. (I offer myself to pose.)
Details in Art
Keep in mind that the further away a subject is, the less detail is seen. This is in real life and in art. Both details in color are slowly “muted” the further away the subject. Think extreme: a closeup portrayal of a face with mountains in the background. This is a way of giving depth to a work. Closer gives detail, with less and less as subjects recede.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Claudia Hartley chats with Scottsdale Artists' School about her roots as an artist and instructor
Agile & Precise
Sandra Bartels moves swiftly between pastels and pastel pencils, focusing separately on each area of her subject
Warren Chang breaks down his recent paintings capturing elements of life in California during the past two years
Anastasia Trusova utilizes gels, palette knives and scrapers to create multiple textures in her paintings
Painting an Intimate Self Portrait
Like most self-portraits, this painting is an personal paintings often arise from rather mundane circumstances.
The Drama of Nature
From plein air studies to final studio paintings, Kim Casebeer distills the intensity and vibrance of the landscape
FIVE PROBLEMS WITH GOUACHE (AND HOW TO SOLVE THEM)
James Gurney tackles challenges specific to the medium of gouache
Not an Easy Task
My teacher, Everett Raymond Kinstler, Loften said that when he looked at a painting, he was looking for three things: feeling, imagination, and the ability to communicate those first two.
Louis Carr — Intimate Spaces and Youthful Portraits
Louis Carr is an artist based in Raleigh, North Carolina, who is well-known for his intimate and delicately rendered portrait and landscape paintings.
Young at Art
Harley Brown's fascinating things no one else will tell you