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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.

Interested in other lessons?

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Lesson 33

1. Thought

How to stop before taking a painting too far (suggestions excerpted from an article by Cathy Johnson in Artists Magazine, September '92)

a Work on the spot -- bugs and changing light will stop you.
b Step back and assess what you've done
c Block out part of the composition and look at the parts.
d Compare it to a master's painting (if they could leave things unfinished, you can too.)
e Look at it through a mirror.
f Restate your original goal.
g Leave it as is. (It's not finished until it's sold.)
h Ask someone else to critique it.
i Critique it as if you were someone else.

2. Word for the week:

CRITIC: n. [French and Latin; French critique, from Latin, criticus, from Greek, kritikos, able to discuss, from krinein to judge, discern.] 1. One who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter, involving a judgment of its value, truth or righteousness or an appreciation of its beauty or technique. 2. One given to harsh or capricious judgment. 3. One skilled in judging the merits of literary or artistic works. from Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary c. 1949

It's interesting to me that there is both a positive and negative definition of the word, while the origin of the word expresses the more neutral meaning. Do some thinking about this. Why do you suppose this is so?

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

Madlyn-Ann Woolwich, in The Artists Magazine September 92 suggests that you try putting complements next to each other in your painting but using the same value (to maintain form). This should "create energy without disintegrating form".

This would be an interesting color exercise. In other words, establish your basic composition and forms, using values to define edges. Use the basic correct color in the form, but also come in with bits of the complementary color in the same value. (Obviously, this will be difficult to do if your form is a dark purple because yellow is light. But if your form (such as a banana) is yellow, bring in some purple of the same value -- maybe using drybrush technique. If red (an apple) bring in some bluey-green of the same value. ETC. I haven't tried this as an exercise myself, I have to admit, although I have tried using warm-cool shades of close colors in the same value to create an atmospheric bounce in skies (for instance.) Will be interested to see this if you try it.

Free Art Lessons archives


Last updated: December 13, 2004