Friday, April 17, 2015

Really Learning to Paint - The Old Masters Way

Last month I decided that I wanted to take my painting to the next level, a serious, high art, level.  I spoke with some professional artists I deeply respect and asked their opinions.  It became clear to me that I needed to learn to draw well.  After that I needed top level instruction from artists dedicated to teaching.

Serendipitously, less than a year ago The Chiaroscuro Studio of Art opened nearby which teaches a disciplined, 19th century approach to learning to paint.  This is South Florida's first true program of this nature, one which virtually all of the masters in the 19th Century, as well as many of today's living masters.  More information can be found here at their website:  The Florida Academy of Contemporary Realism.

The student starts off copying what are known as "Bargue Plates," instructional drawings rendered by Charles Bargue, a French lithographer and painter who developed one of the first drawing courses.  The student learns many concepts related to seeing relationships between shapes, values of light and shadow, and how to render shapes to accurately represent what one is seeing.

 The process is basically described by the steps shown in the plate:

This is my first project and drawing in the program.  I never imagined the time and work put into copying one of these plates.  From the beginning the instructors saw problems with lines, angles, shapes and values, sometimes painfully subtle.  In each phase their constant critiques kept pushing me in the right direction, fixing a line here, and angle there, seeing how everything related to everything else, and never accepting even the slightest imperfection.  Eventually I started seeing problems myself.  I am confident that the discipline learned by spending the time painfully recreating the drawing will payoff.  I am guessing but I would say that I have at least twenty hours in this drawing.  

The next drawing will be larger and more complex.  I'm excited about that. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Les Standiford, Water to the Angels

At Les Standiford's book signing this evening for Water to the Angels.  Les asked that I bring his portrait which he got to see for the first time in person.  An awesome event.

Big crowd, including Dave Barry (standing in the back) and Ridley Pearson.