Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More Studies, Sketches and Doodles

I still haven’t found the face I’m looking for; but in the meantime, I’m getting lots of practice.

I remember many years ago, when I was taking classes at the community college where I lived, one of the artists asked me to go out sketching plien air with her. So that Saturday, we met at a local park, sat our butts down on the grass, and began to draw.

Our subject was a large oak tree with sprawling branches. In class we were drawing a nude model using ink, and a brush; I seemed to excel at this, and won first prize for my ink linear drawing. But trees? Not so much!

I looked at her beautiful detailed drawing and wondered why on earth I ever thought I could draw. Her style was remarkable; her vision accurate and sure. My eyes had not yet been opened to detail of this kind. I was ashamed of my efforts next to hers.

What is the point I’m trying to make? Learning to draw, to see, is a gradual process. There is a learning curve that takes years to master; practice, practice, practice!

Although some people have innate abilities, most of us have to learn these skills. Before I took my first oil painting class, I had no idea if I had any talent at all, or if I could even do it. I am ever grateful that I took that first class or I may never have discovered I could become an artist. When people tell me they can’t paint or draw, I tell them “How do you know? Have you ever tried?”

Trial and error is what it’s all about. If you discover that you have a love for the process and the miracle of the outcome, you’re an artist. If you keep trying and refuse to give up because of the drive and hunger in your soul, you’re an artist. If there’s nothing you’d rather do than sketch and doodle, you’re an artist. If you adore the process of slapping paint on canvas and are hypnotized by color, you’re an artist.

The best decision I ever made was to get back to canvas and brush. It allows me to speak through color and form the things that are in my heart, but are difficult to put into words. I am a writer and have been doing that since I was a child. I struggled to pare my words down and to find just the right words to say what was in my mind and heart.

3rd Place Winner in "Protest" Contest = "Broken"

Art is much the same way, but it is a visual medium. Instead of describing what you see and feel, you illustrate it. It is as intuitive and magical as the process of writing. One feeds the spirit through words, the other through color, shape and form. Both important arts that enrich the soul of mankind.