Back to the Basics: An FAQ regarding the foundations of creating art
This thread will be an open topic thread for the moderators and those with professional tags to contribute their insights on how to get started in art as well as how to improve your basic skills.
Please read it throughoughly and follow it as it grows. We are going to focus on helping the beginners to a much larger degree. Some of you will be the next Mullins, the next Justin Sweet's, or the next Andrew Jones...some of you will surpass all that any of us has done. We are here to help you do this.
PS..mods..feel free to brainstorm ideas in this thread. after we get the ideas out, we can clean it up in a fresh FAQ and GUIDE which will be ideal for this section.
networking and burning bridges
14. Networking and Burning bridges.
Keep your contacts. Build your contacts. If you meet talented people, stay in touch with them. Make friends with each other. We all need help with stuff and if you have the right group of friends, anything is possible.
as you journey through school and your career you will find people who are absolutely impossible to deal with or even be around. one thing we have learned is that those are the people who end up in places to help you later. for some reason the biggest idiot always is the one to rise to the very top...at least that is the old joke. If you burn bridges with people...anyone...then you have one less person to help you later. Tact is always necessary. Do your best to keep from burning bridges.
Make friends...lots of them. Be genuine. Be yourself. Stick together.
get together with other artists
17. get together with local artists. there is no better way to learn than in groups who are all working on their art. if there is not a local group..organize one. there are local artist groups in the lounge. take initiative.
things to do:
1 get a figure model...do as much life drawing as possible
2 organize a sketch group or attend one at a coffee shop or library or other such place.
3 go to the museums
one from personal experience
18. Letting projects or events outside of your craft seep too deeply into your life will slow your progress with that very art which got you here..or will get you there. An eye must be kept on that balance where your skills improve but your business life, social life, volunteer work, travels, and the like thrive as well. For every great artist there is one thing which they all share together. Art is a top priority in their life.
Private class with the masters
Great thread, great advice. I would put my two centimos in with, go to museums and see the original old masters' works. Reproductions just do not cut it! Often the format (the physical size of the painting) will make a profound difference in how you see it. When you are in front of the original, you see the impasto, the brushmarks, the true values and colors (assuming it is well preserved).
But remember, especially with really old works, often they have been cut down (Rembrandts' "Night Watch" is a good example) and the composition is very different from the original. Also the colors may have changed, faded, become more transparent, or may be overpainted by lesser talents (Titian's works were often abused in this manner). Find out the history behind the painting so you know what has been changed. This will open up whole new worlds for you!
One of my favorite tricks is to bring a pair of small binoculars with me when I visit a museum. I can see detail across the room, see it on large paintings high up, and if there is a crowd I can stand back and still see it better than they do! I've only encountered one other person who had the same idea. It really works, try it!
If you are fortunate enough to have a museum which permits copying in the galleries, then by all means do so! It is like having a personal class with the master.
Find out everything you can about their palette, the kind of paints they used (lindseed, walnut, hemp, poppy oil?), pigments (is it real ultramarine made from lapis lazuli, or something else?), orginial support (canvas or panel or gesso?), and any hidden (to us) symbolism (was that worm in the apple just there, or does it represent the impermanence of life?), local history (was there a plague going on when it was painted -- see Brughel's "The Triumph of Death."), in short everything you can about the art, the artist and the enviornment. Now THAT is what I mean by art history! Now go forth and copy thou. . .
Best in paint,