I’m a new artist and had this conversation with Denise the other day: “My drawing skills are horrible and I’m so impatient that I’m not really observing my subjects at all. After I get going, the process slows me down and I begin seeing everything I missed.” Denise, as she typically does, listened patiently to my exposed inner thoughts and acknowledged my concerns. Then, she continued with her reading. This is a “conversation” we’ve had at least five times over the past couple of months and it was just this last Monday I engaged in the self-flagellation one more time.
On the way home from Bodega Bay on Tuesday, we stopped at the Goodwill in Auburn, I picked this book up for a song and began reading it last night. In about 15 minutes I learned more than a dozen important bits about the craft of painting that could have saved me some cash and frustration, had I read this a year ago.
But, the book also provided a rush of adrenaline, as well as an important piece of affirmation on the very first page:
At first sight, dipping a brush into paint and applying it to a surface seems easy enough. However, there are traps for the unskilled… By understanding the materials and techniques at his or her disposal, the artist can avoid such pitfalls and increase the pleasures of making art… Along with a learning hand, one must develop a seeing eye — and, for many people [Bo], this is the most difficult part. In the desire to produce a “finished” picture, the impatient student often overlooks the two things that are fundamental to all art: drawing and observation. It is vital to train your eyes by really looking at the world around you and to keep sketching and drawing all the time. When you draw what you see, you develop your powers of observation…
I may be a new artist and I don’t know much, but I’ve already intuited some of the foundations and that’s incredibly encouraging. I highly recommend this book I never knew existed — if you want to know why, read the fawning reviews on Amazon.