Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Studio Time

Was working on this drawing yesterday, trying to get it finished, and trying to get it interesting. I drew a whole lot nudes at Life sessions a while back. Each nude is put in a different context. This nude is in a room with a part hidden, pair of scissors, a hammer, a pot plant , and a man in a different room. The man is at some sort of machine, similar to a mayan/incan drawing. You can't see it well here but it is like that Chariots of the gods idea - which I don't agree with.

Also, recently read this book from the local library. This is one of the best books I have read on colour for artists. So much to learn and so much do. I tried to buy it, and it is still available, but at about $70 dollars I decided not to, so I photo copied a few sections instead.

This section for example is on, unifying strategies for colour mixing. Just on this subject alone it goes into quite a few ways to unify your colour schemes.

The funny thing is that, the Art College I spent three and half years at, hardly touched on any of this. Colour theory, proper life sessions, painting techniques and skills, methods and material knowledge, career developement, etc , were all replaced by a vague philosphy of nothing. A sort of looking into the presence of things and abstract half baked notions. Would it not be better to leave that to the artist, and teach some skills? Maybe they didn't have any??? It may have been different in other subjects, but painting and drawing classes were devoid of meaning. We were mostly left to fend for ourselves.


  1. I well remember the only structured prescriptive class I ever did at art school was on just this subject of 'colour'. It involved colouring little squares of paper with gouache and pasting them neatly into groups. Taught by a woman wearing shades of blue from head to foot even eyeshadow and sandals. dead boring, I quit.
    The attitude in the rest of the place was find out for yourself which was fine by me, since I believe the best learning takes place when you have an internal locus of control rather than a teacher directing and deciding what you should know or need to know. Artists need to be self directed otherwise you end up with a bunch of clones.

  2. That's true elisabeth, but I didn't want to be cloned, just given better information. It's got a lot to do with the way it is taught. Access to the rich techniques and experiences of previous artists should be encouraged. Not so much to emulate your teacher or another artist, but a way of adding arrows to your quiver. It's not only knowledge of the arts that is needed but practical skills of diverse types. The artist who wants to forge ahead, will break the bonds of his teaching and rise above to break new ground. If you just labour under a minimal set of skills, then you will continually rotate and just dry up. The challenge is to increase and add to what you can do. There are some exceptional artist's out there - I wish I had sat under some of their instruction and had been pushed a bit more.

  3. But you get so reactionary when you get pushed, David.

    The idea of teachers giving and students receiving smacks of some Master, and it would be a Mister, laying down the rules. So you are supposed to absorb all these skills like a sponge and then "break free of the bonds', sounds more like a recipe for conformity to me.

    Apparently every generation has to be pushed just that little bit more to make it. Middle class aspirations are not what art needs.

    If I learnt anything at all from art school it was to follow my own vision, limited though it may be.
    As for looking into the presence of things and abstract half baked notions, well, what else is there?

    Ask questions but don't expect answers and advice. By the way that is certainly not what I am looking for in my own blog, so please bear that in mind when you comment. Give your view sure, but as far as giving my art direction, that's not your role.


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