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Art Connects Us Art School and Art Therapy
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Art Connects Us Art School and Art Therapy's posts

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Ahhh, that rascal Picasso.  I learned a long time ago that sometimes the best way to learn is to fling yourself off a cliff and then build your wings on the way down. Adds that bracing quality of immediacy to the proceedings.  Now, I'm not saying don't pick and choose, but find something to amaze yourself with, then proceed to amaze yourself.  What?  You might fall down?  While I've done things that didn't end up fabulous, I have also never done something that simply bombed.  Bring ALL your skills to the fight pit and, with the right attitude, what you do will be considered, at the very least, passable, usable, even "professional."  Remember too how little others think about us, as they are too busy ruminating on their own "failures" to worry about ours.  And finally, consider what Edison said- "I have never failed.  I have only done ten thousand things that didn't work."  My kids get this one all the time. "I've failed" implies you've given up, while "That didn't work," implies you'll try again. So try again, and don't be attached to the outcome.  The action is life, the result an artifact.
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Casca- "Speak, hands for me!"

Whereupon Casca strikes, the first of the conspirators to stab Ceasar.
Great scene in Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar is a good thought for drawing.  See deeply, understand, and let your hands "speak for you," like our young student here drawing the daffodils from direct observation.  Imagine that your eyes touch what they see, and that your hand responds directly to the experience of the object being caressed by your vision.

Meanwhile, on the steps of the Senate, Ceasar spots the freshly sharpened Dixon #2/HB pencil in Brutus' hands-

Ceasar- "Et tu, Brute! Then draw, Ceasar."

Good advice for the new year, and best wishes to all!
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Adam talks about value study

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Drawing from life is absolutely essential if you are to gain an intuitive sense of volume and the turning edge.  Without this sense, your drawings lack authority, presence, weight.  I push our students to work from life as much as possible, but then let them draw from photos to experience, firsthand, the severe drawbacks photos present.  The camera lens is nowhere as sensitive as the human eye, so value discrimination is muted, particularly if your photo is a PRINTED image, yet another step removed from direct experience. You lose the sense of volume the simple act of tilting your head side to side can provide, much less picking the object up and FEELING it, reinforcing what you see by wrapping your hands around it, experiencing volume and weight.  Our young lady here had to use her imagination to compensate for a great deal lost with this printed photo of a panda- the quality of his fur, his weight and how he occupies space.  And for the young/beginning artist with little or no experience, this is a frustrating and futile task.
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Blind contour drawing is a difficult but rewarding drawing exercise that strengthens eye-hand coordination, concentration and discipline.  It is really hard for beginners to let go of a desired outcome (a pretty picture that "looks" like something) and engage in an activity that ultimately turns "looking" into the much deeper "seeing" but produces bizarre or even unintelligible images.  We look all day long, but looking is contextual and very limited/specific in the information that is being gathered.  Seeing requires a level of intimacy and engagement with the object observed that a lot of beginners simply cannot generate or even tolerate.  I know it's good for my students when they whine about it being time to do contour!
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Our spring semester is starting soon and we are accepting students! Just go to www.Artconnects.us and download our schedule and registration information.  If you'd like to see the school, our work and what we do, just give us a call and we'll be happy to have you visit.
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