Einstein says that “Insanity is doing something over and over again in the same way and expecting different results.” In my life I can see this is true…
When an accomplished artist thinks about their art project they nearly always check-out what their options are before painting an area. They want to get a certain look or feel so they think of a technique, a color, a texture, a pattern, that might be just perfect to get the results that they are looking for. There is much thinking as painting or drawing develops…a piece of art that is 30″ x 20″ that is detailed can be more than 7000 decisions before it is completed and finished.
Many artists come to me for information and classes because they feel they are not progressing the way they would like to in doing their artwork. They have slowed down their progress in gaining the knowledge they need to be able to grow and develop their work. I find many of them are stuck using the same techniques over and over again and feel they are getting nowhere….and they are not checking out their options. In fact, many do not even know that they have other options, and there are many of them.
Anything we learn must be done by using a slow approach in that we must start to crawl first, then stand and take baby steps, then walk, then run, then win the marathon.. Learning about how to do artwork takes a similar route. As a teacher my job is to discern what you need to know to be able to give you the knowledge. I need to be able to give you the information that you need to plug the holes in your knowledge base. Doing art work is about doing something you don’t totally know how to do and even when you know so much more, even then you will still not always know what to do to get the best results in all situations. So, I need you to make mistakes; I need to be able to see your mistakes to locate and identify the areas where you have a lack of knowledge. Then I can show you a better way to do something that I know will work and help you be able to do it again when you need to use it.
Learning involves helping you think about something in a new and different way. Our subconscious mind and the knowledge that is stored there gives us our access to how to live, how to do something, how to be who we are…in fact, it controls our lives whether we know it or not. It is not our mind that leads, guides, and directs us…it is our subconscious mind that does this. This space inside us is where our subconscious mind joins our spirit . So, as a teacher I need to help you teach and program your subconscious mind in certain ways to be able to retain art information for later use. Also, telling you how to do something and then having you try again, and/or try again helps do that memory programming. My job is to help you learn to think like an artist because we see much differently than others, this will help you get to the place where you are reasonably comfortable with what you are trying to do. You need to know that we as artists never totally get comfortable with everything we are trying to do because being an artist is nearly always a mixture of grappling with learning something new, working all our options, and remembering all of our learned techniques to choose from for any given area. As artists we are trying something that is not always comfortable as we are trying to do something we don’t know how to do in many places on a painting. So, we never get totally comfortable, we do however run our options as in a chess game…if I do this what happens, If I do that what happens, what other avenues can I try on this, what have I not considered that I could do. And, painting and drawing do indeed teach you how to check out all the options before charging ahead and getting into trouble in some form on the painting. I actually have several works in my painting drawer that I have gotten stopped on not knowing just the right thing to do. Until I have a “brain-storm” or have a dream about it and get shown what to do by my higher-self, or walk down a street and see something that gives the an idea of what to do, the painting will sit in the drawer as I have far too much work invested in it already to discard it. I wont continue to paint on it and mess it up. So, it will just have to try to “hatch” inside the drawer waiting on the needed enlightenment. Painting is a game you play with yourself, and it is great fun to watch it develop in front of your eyes.
Artists do see things differently. We see increments of light hitting a surface and each increment has its own shape of lightness or darkness. Artists see and use nine values of light to replicate anything they put onto paper or canvas. Our world may be more interesting as we are always looking at shapes of light, dark, pattern, volume, texture, & color on anything and everything in our world. It can be fascinating. My job is to teach you how to see these things. When you begin to see them your world opens up and you see many different things you never saw before…and when you can see them you can draw or paint them.
In teaching someone to draw I use a group 10 drawing projects. After you learn the first one, the second one builds upon the knowledge you just learned in the first one, the third project does the same thing…and so do the other 6 drawing projects. These drawings start you at the very beginning and build your knowledge one piece at a time until you have mastered them all and can draw anything, anywhere, and anytime. After these drawings are completed, starting to paint is much, much, much easier that just painting first with none of the other knowledge. Color is the dress that drawing wears. It does not take the place of learning to see the structure and light patterns of shapes of something and portraying it to your advantage. Color is exciting, and really exciting when you have a solid knowledge base of drawing in your pocket to use because then most of your work is already done and you can just enjoy learning all about color and enjoying it freely.