Rembrandt, famous artist once commented,”Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what you do not know”

Working with pen and ink can be quite freeing as the values are simplified by the ink.   The lack of erasing mistakes creates a natural flow and the artist learns to work with the lines he has put down whether good or “bad”.   Phrasing Rembrandt’s quote in sketching terms:  putting down the visual lines you see in ink makes what you do not “know” or “see” more apparent.  Note in the sketch above how few lines are needed to create the woman.   This is a great way to develop your artists’ eye by trying to use a few lines…

Degas once said, “No art is less spontaneous than mine.”

                I recently went to the Degas exhibit at the Denver Art Museum and was struck by the wonderful combination of showing his sketches and sketchbooks with his oil paintings and pastel works.   It really gives the viewer the experience of discovering what goes into the making of a masterpiece.  Many of his large works have a loose use of brushstrokes and hints of his black “sketched” lines that he used to lay out his compositions with.  The effect it creates is one of art done with some spontaneity and life to it. …

Rodin once said, “There is no recipe for improving nature. The only thing is to see.”

Recently I was discussing with an enthusiastic group of adults drawing students about really learning to look.   I help them improve their drawings by pointing out subtle details in their reference pictures. I also help with techniques to use to create that look.  One student commented on how amazing things look when you really “see” them.  That is one of the amazing things of learning to draw or paint, it changes how you perceive the world around you !  As the famous sculptor Rodin said once “There is no recipe for improving nature.  The only thing is to see.” Rodin…

Matisse said, “It is the imagination that gives depth and space to a picture”

  Matisse exclaimed, “It is the imagination that gives depth and space to a picture.”   For example in the student’s work to the left, they placed their symbols for the main design first.   Next came the free flowing imagination when they experimented with watercolors and water.  The student did not have a plan but put down the watercolors letting them flow together at will.   This ends up being the most striking thing in the composition and the least structured!   So if you are new to art or experienced try to add something free form.  You could just take a paper…

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Now that fall is closing in take time to read a good “art” book for inspiration and relaxation.  Da Vinci’s quote is a wonderful insight into art and literacy.  Leonardo said, ““Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”   Here is a list of just a few of my favorites:  “Mary Colter Architect of the Southwest” by Arnold Berke,  “The Private Lives of the Impressionists” by Sue Ross, “Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling” and “Brunelleschi’s Dome” both by Ross King.  Then for something fun a fictional art mystery “Chasing…

Frederic Remington once said, “The artist must know more than the camera.”

  Western artist Frederic Remington said, “The artist must know more than the camera.”  Today even in this age of the digital camera working outside or “Plein air” to create work is coveted by many artists’.  They find many subtle aspects such as color blends, shadow depth, blurred details that the camera misses.  How many times have you take a picture and thought later that is not quite what I remembered.  Develop your eyes and notice what you may have been missing by looking through your camera lens or screen. Remington was great at observing and “seeing”.  He was the…

Artist Paul Klee remarked “A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.”

One of my favorite quotes comes from Paul Klee who said “A drawing is simply a line going for a walk”.  This summer as you travel take a sketchbook with you and a simple #2 pencil or your ballpoint pen!   Sketching does not need to be complicated nor do you have to be an “artist” to sketch.  I like to do a combination as I travel.  I pick up a postcard here and there and use a glue stick to attach it in my sketchbook.   I doodle and sketch around the postcard, add words in my hotel room at the…