Leonardo Da Vinci’s thoughts on sketching

  Da Vinci said, ” Sketch quickly with light strokes on your pad (which you should always have with you), and when it is full, start another, never rubbing out but keeping all carefully, because the forms…….are so infinitely various that they cannot possibly be retained in memory.  Therefore preserve your sketches, for they are your assistants and your masters.” The first thing to gleam from this quote is how important it it to keep a sketchbook.  It is our practice place, a place to experiment with techniques & composition,and also to preserve visual lines and ideas.  As Da Vinci…

Spanish painter Francisco De Goya on “masses of light and dark”

De Goya once stated, “who always talks about line, never about masses.  But where does one see lines in nature?  I see only masses in light and masses in shadow, planes come forward and planes into recession.” Now is the time as it warms up to get out and sketch.  The vastness of the outdoor landscapes can be a stumbling block for many.  But there is hope follow De Goya’s advice an look at the large masses of dark and light shapes.  Squint at the photograph of the Third Flatiron below, notice there are distinct shape areas.  Start with sketching…

Leonardo Da Vinci ‘s advice on nature.

                                  “Bird Pair” graphite pencil  April Christenson artist Leonardo Da Vinci once stated, “Whoever thinks he can remember the infinite teaching of nature flatters himself.  Memory is not that huge.” So now that spring is coming, take advantage of those warmer days, dust off your sketchbook and sketch outside!  It does not need to be a long involved sketch, just a quick flurry of lines to help you capture the scene.  You might consider using those super thin pens such as the Micron pens.  They do not erase and have a delicate line quality.  Not having the ability to erase…

Degas once stated” Even in front of nature, one must compose.”

It is easy to be excited about a beautiful scene in nature.   You snap the picture and take it home to enjoy.  But you miss an opportunity to create further visual excitement with a little thought and effort.  Take time before you print the photograph or draw that photograph to “compose” it. Look for things that you could leave out of the scene if you are drawing.  Another option is to “crop” (narrow the edges of the scene) the photograph.  When cropping a photograph notice how it changes the “center of interest”.  These techniques can be used before you use…

Famous artist Renoir stated “If you could explain a picture, it wouldn’t be art…The work of art must seize upon you,wrap you up in itself, carry you away.”.

I am sure we have all been in a gallery or museum and wondered, what was the artist thinking?  This especially comes up when viewing more contemporary art which has no recognizable images.  Art can be anything it wants to be, that’s what makes art so fun and unique.  You either like it or not, there is no right or wrong. But if you must come up with something here are a few tips.  Look for colors or combinations of colors you like.  Note interesting textures or materials that are used in creating the art piece.  Try standing farther away…

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

As the new year starts take time for yourself!  Be bold, take an art class.  Keep in mind that even though you may be trying to recreate that beautiful landscape or animal perfectly there is more to it than that.  As Matisse said, putting some of your “imagination” into the art adds that special touch to the image.  So as you take that art class relax remember that perfection is over rated. If you are in the Boulder Colorado area check out my art classes which start next week.  They include a graphite pencil drawing class, colored pencil drawing class…

Picasso said “Painting is just another way of keeping a dairy”

Put down those  electronics and start a sketchbook to record the visual life around us!  Painting, drawing, sculpting and “life” can all benefit by keeping a sketchbook or two.  Sketchbooks can record the bountiful colors and shapes of life,  if paints are too messy for you try colored pencils (my favorite!) in your sketchbook.       Georgia O’Keeffe stated “Color is one of the things in the world that makes life worth living….”  Observe how the same color looks totally different next to another color.  Colors play off of each other, influencing how we perceive them.  In this time…

Degas and art: “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”

Artist Edgar Degas lived from 1834 to 1917 in France during a time of great artists who were forging new paths in art.  One of his close friends’ was the painter Monet who had his own unique style of painting.  Both took inspiration from each other but kept their individuality.  This is an exciting aspect of the arts so take advantage of exploring past master artists and the artist down the street from you.  The possibilities are endless. Degas was known for his figures that were shown in motion, a “snapshot” of a moment in time. He did lots of…

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist” Picasso

Picasso had it right with this quote, part of the artistic experience is to take what is out there and change it to make it your own artistic vision.  This could be changing basic elements in your art to abstracting the image.  You can change the composition by narrowing the picture plane or just leaving out parts of the reference picture that clutter the composition’s general look.  You can also change the composition by lowering or raising the horizon line so the viewer looks at the art from a different perspective. An often overlooked option is to change some of…