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The Way To Happiness The philosophy of these lessons: Look, Learn, Practice

Chapter 17 of "The Way To Happiness" deals with Competence. I've found that too many limit their own progress as an artist with the concept that they "haven't got the talent." 90% of being a good professional artist is about looking for yourself, learning (including good study habits), and practicing what you have learned to become Competent. If you are interested in a free copy of "The Way to Happiness", please email me for one.

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Lesson 23

1. Thought

"As is probably the case with most painterly realists, I'm strongly influenced by the improvisational aspects of abstract expressionism. In my work, the figure provides the inspiration -- and much of the context -- for the painting, but there is so much about color, surface, inflection, and mood that I want to explore that I'm constantly manipulating it. For me, the representative form is a jumping-off point for more expressive concerns such as paint surface and color." Daniel Ludwig, American Artists July 92 p. 32.

2. Words:

Painterly: Appearing free in style or technique with more use of mass than of line; having the effect of spontaneous, expert paint application. North Light Dictionary of Art Terms

This term was used frequently by my early art teachers and, when used about my work, was a term of approval. Generally, I took it (and take it) to mean: has a concern with the application of the paint. Applies the paint so that part of the focus of the viewer is on the surface of the painting rather than just on the subject matter. Uses the paint in a masterly fashion. Inflection is usually associated with grammar. generally, I think here he means the modulation or change in form on the painting. Mood is also a grammar term. As used here it could mean the "mental state" or "distinction of form to express the manner in which the action or state it denotes is conceived, whether as fact, or as a matter of supposal, wish, possibility, etc.

3. Practice: "Learning bears fruit when it is applied."

Finding the message: In this homework assignment, I want you to do a drawing or painting where you are conscious, not only of the "reality" of the world around you, but of the quality of either the paint medium, the forms and composition of the painting, or your emotion or "message" that you want to convey. (Note: if you don't have time to do an exercise, at least observe some art and observe how it differs from what was "there" and what the artist may be trying to communicate by doing this.

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Last updated: December 13, 2004