Sunday, January 26, 2020

Practical Productive Practice for Artists

There's a million ways to paint an apple.  An apple.  Think about it.  You could paint an apple in any color of the rainbow.  Paint it cut in half.  Paint it rotting on a cutting board.  Paint it in a basket.  Paint it in shadow.  Put in under a spotlight.  Paint it abstract.  Paint it in black and white.

You see where I'm going with this?

SO many choices.

If you were told "go paint an apple!"

Would you know what to do?

Would you know what surface you want to paint it on?

What brush to use?

What palette to use?

What medium to use?

What would you want to SAY about the apple in your painting?

Those are the questions the Artist has to answer before they even pick up a brush.  And it's in those questions where frustration can sneak into the studio.  I HAVE TO MAKE SO MANY DECISIONS JUST TO MAKE A PAINTING.

So, the practice - the act of practicing painting - can be frustrating if you don't work within a few parameters.

What makes practice practical? What makes practice rewarding, so that you want to practice MORE?

Rules.  Parameters.  Parameters are your friend.

I started to realize that the students who were working with me who wanted every color, every brush, and a complex source of inspiration were making SLOWER progress that the students who PRACTICED painting.

So the short point to my long intro is...

I'm here to help you practice.

I'm here to run the drills.

I'm here to give you measurable goals.

I'm here to get you to that moment where all you have to pick up the brush and START.

Think of a pianist who runs through scales for twenty minutes before practicing a full piece.  Think of a basketball player shooting 3 pointers for hours a day.  Think of a chef who made omelettes for two years before they tackled a four course French dinner for 12.

The greatest of all time have run the drills.  They have done the practice...more than you will ever know.

Have you ever watched the show Chef's Table on Netflix?  Almost every single chef has been through the ringer.  They studied under a master, they practiced, they learned the Traditional methods in their field.

In every story, though...almost without fail...they realized they had their own voice, and they wanted to tell their own story.

And they build their menu, their style, from the grain of rice to the cut of beef.  These chefs - these artists - pick EVERY aspect of their meal with Purpose.  Some of them grow their own food, just to control the very source of the taste.

Why aren't we doing that as visual artists?  We SHOULD be doing that as visual artists!

Choosing our color - even down to the BRAND that we prefer.

Choosing our surface - and whether we want oil or acrylic ground...or texture...or copper!  Have you tried painting on copper?

Choosing our inspiration - and being as AUTHENTIC to your voice as possible!

So the goal, as an artist, is to explore enough - to practice enough - to create enough - to start to discern what methods and materials work with our voice.

That is why I have developed my first round of nine lessons for artists to work on at home.  This practice - one small painting a week for nine weeks - is designed to help you explore a variety of limited palettes, on nine different surfaces.

The subject is simple and used throughout the nine paintings.  By using the same simple subject, we can also focus on the practice of applying paint.  The drawing aspect is absolutely crucial - and without strength in drawing we cannot accomplish much more by throwing in color - but for the purpose of practicing - I have kept the subject simple, and focused on using paint and surface as effective as possible.

No matter where you are on your artistic journey, Practice is crucial.  Practice is the key.  Refining the basics to the point where they become ingrained, become effortless...become Mastered.

I can tell you, truthfully and sincerely, that creating these lessons has helped my paintings as well.  The deliberate choices I make when I sit down to paint reflect the lessons I learned in creating this series.  In fact...I have done the series far!!! Once for PRACTICE and again to add video step by steps for my online course curriculum.

The beauty of this simplicity is that there is still so much VARIETY to explore!  These are examples from one limited palette...only the subject changed...yet look at how different they can be!

I have been teaching for over 20 years.  It's a Practice.  Anytime anyone says "how are you so GOOD?" my answer is always the same...Practice practice practice.

If you are looking to create a habit of practice for the next two months, sign up today for the Mastering the Limited Palette will receive your first lesson and the supply list for all nine paintings.

The Mastering the Limited Palette series is

Manageable - one 6" by 6" painting per week.  A size you can work on anywhere!

Accessible - for any level.  The simple subject allows you to explore the paint, not Labor over complex subjects.

Memorable - you will create a visual reference to have in your studio - the palette and surface choices used here will give you an entire CHART full of options to use in later works.

Employable - these are techniques you will use in every painting - no matter what subject you chose!  In any style - the painting language explored is versatile - any style of painting from realism to abstraction will incorporate these techniques

FLEXIBLE - you will receive inspiration beyond the to incorporate these limited palettes in your own work.

By the on line studio is Sketchzatura. 
Sketchzatura is the act of achieving an effortless mastery of drawing - and painting! "Sketch" is the active exercise of practicing your drawing and painting skills. "Sprezzatura" is an Italian term for "effortless mastery". 
So..let's get Practicing!!! Effortless Mastery Awaits!!!

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