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Lesson 36

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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An example of the interpretive ability of the artist

photo of geeseI find that, often, in their struggle to be “true” to what they see (assuming that photography captures the “reality” or truth of nature, art students limit their exploration of the medium, pleased when they capture the photograph “just as it is” and disappointed when they haven’t the skills to do so.

Now, I am an advocate of developing one’s basic skills as an artist. The ability to accurately draw and to mix and place a color on the canvas is important. It’s a measure of the artist’s ability to control his vision.

At the same time, if, in the effort to do that, the art student neglects to play with the medium, to explore its capabilities, he or she is limited to the mundane.

Geese, acrylic demo, by Pam Coulter BlehertIn an effort to free up a class’s ability to play with the acrylic medium, I demonstrated how you could take a flawed photo of geese and transform it into a playful and wacky piece by, to some extent, ignoring “reality” and paying more attention to the “iconic” nature of our vision.

That is to say, we have a tendency, when someone says “house” to have a “symbol” of house that we see. This is true for other common things around us, geese being one of them. In our mind, a goose may have a certain basic shape. Paying attention to that, I ignored the deviations from that in the original photo to derive the sort of child-like playful painting in the center painting above.

geese, illustration, by Pam Coulter BlehertHowever, I wasn’t really pleased with the piece. One of the difficulties with working with bright forms throughout a painting is that it loses its focus. Too many importances.

So, when I had taken a good digital photo of the painting, I carefully “cut” around the images of the geese and placed them on a neutral background. (I could have used white or any other color. I simply wanted to see the effect of limiting the color to the geese.

Now the geese are clearly the focal point of the illustration, for illustration it now is.


Last Updated: October 22, 2005