Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another contemporary realist blogs

Stapleton Kearns studied with R.H. Ives Gammell, a major link in the great chain of the classical realist revival movement.

It is very difficult and takes a lot of determination to learn to do the art thing without the direct in-the-flesh help of a competent instructor, but it is not impossible. Recently, there have been a number of books published, either old books renewed by such outfits as Dover, or new books on old subjects by contemporary instructors like Juliette Aristides.

It may sound a bit silly, but there is also YouTube that has a great vast panorama of videos showing speed drawings and some giving pretty good instruction on the basics, things like how to handle charcoal, basic stuff about values and the use of various media.

There is also an increasing number of working and teaching artists who blog and who make videos, like Sadie Valeri (I really wish she would do more videos) and Scott Waddell, some of whom I have found and looked at and used myself and who are featured on the sidebar.

A big part of what you have to overcome is your fear. It can be very difficult for adults to endure being bad at something long enough to get better at it. As y'all know, a huge part of my process has been to overcome my fear of being really crummy at first. But this fear is the biggest obstacle to making progress.

That and sheer laze, of course.

But the thing that can really help is success. Even a little success. A little sketch that turns out looking like the thing. Even a little part of a drawing that you particularly like. When I did my first still life in charcoal, the silver tea pot on a linen drapery, I had a really hard time, struggling with learning how charcoal works and how to make the grey scale toned paper take up some of the slack in the values. All issues I am still working on. But in that drawing there is one little bit, the part where the little feet of the tea pot sit on the cloth and the shadow goes out behind them. I love that bit, and it really encouraged me to try another one.

I think I wrote about how I have this mean bully in my head that was constantly barking at me about this whole thing being a waste of time, that I'm no good at it and ought not to bother, that I'll never be as good at it as I want to be, and how I ought to just pay attention to things I already know I'm good at, like words.

This inner bully, I refer to as the Talking Brain. Drawing Brain doesn't really communicate in words and abstract things like symbol systems, so it is easy for it to be silenced by the mean schoolyard bully Talking Brain. Fortunately, I have The Will, which I liken to the nice teacher who runs blockage for the bully, encourages the quiet kid to just get on with it and see how things turn out.

I am also learning that Fury can be a great help. Fury comes in when I can't get it right. I become so furious that I keep doggedly trying and trying until I get it right. But I think this system is somewhat inefficient.

What to do about Sheer Laze, I have not yet figured out.


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