A couple recent paintings. I'm taking a Renaissance painting class at the Saint Paul Art Academy for the next eight weeks or so. First thing I learned is that I've got a lot to learn.
Mostly focused on careful layout and meticulous measure, the drawing steps are focused on getting the early parts correct to make the rest of the work more accurate. Last week I painted a sculpture of a horse head, but the steps were very slow and measured.
Ultimately it makes it easier if you get the beginning of the drawing or painting as correct as possible. You spend much less time later on correcting errors. There are methods used by the old masters to establish very basic construction elements. Technical details are important.
I wasn't too sure about taking this course at first. After the first class it was pretty clear that much of what I'd learned about drawing and painting in the past was going to be challenged. Instead of the free, sketching, searching and flowing line I'd been training for 30 years, I'd have to use a grid method and be much, much more precise.
I thought a lot about how to handle this new situation. It gave me some anxiety. Eventually, I decided it would be more worthwhile to open up to the experience, regardless of what I'd been taught in the past. I had to ask myself why was I taking the class anyway? I wanted to learn something new, to improve my drawing and painting. I want to be more professional with my work.
It might sound cliche but anything worth doing is worth doing right. Or better. I am always striving to improve my craftsmanship, through practice, study and being open minded. Sometimes that means challenging everything I know about the practice of art. And this really is no different. The good news, I've already noticed an improvement.
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