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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.


Lesson 9

1. Thought:

"Although many great drawings appear linear, great drawings aren't built on the idea of lines. Lines are in fact an obstacle to what I consider the most effective way to learn to draw. Lines don't exist in nature. Lines are abstractions, ways of defining the edges of forms or the ends of tonal shapes. By seeing the abstraction behind the detail, you can differentiate the shapes with halftones. Tonal drawing lets you get the essentials of an image down in the most succinct way." Burton Silverman, "Figure Drawing Fundamentals", The Artist's Magazine, June 1993

2. Word for the week:

Local Color: The "local color" of a subject is the middle color and value that you see when you look at the object. For instance, a bunch of cherries would have the basic local color of deep red. All variations within the light and shadow sides of that form, according to this way of painting, are created by deepening or lightening, warming or cooling, or greying the intensity of that basic red. from Answers by John Kevin Flynn, The Artist's Mag May 1993

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

Demo of home value, red cup. CoulterYou can demonstrate the above definition by doing some sample exercises using common fruit. For instance: draw the outline of an orange. Find the "local Color". Then darken (with its complement, blue) the side that is in shadow. Now lighten and warm the side that is toward the light with light orange or yellow. (You can vary the colors used to lighten and darken the form according to whether the light hitting the object is warm or cool.)

Try this exercise on a number of different simple colored objects like fruit or blocks or boxes. Keep it simple. Keep some of the Local Color showing.

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Last updated: March 1, 2004