Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Perfect Practice & Advice from Barry J. Raybould

   During the last few days I have been practicing drawing people. I've been focusing on accuracy and getting a likeness. I noticed that often when I draw people that even if the end result looks quite good it is often not exactly like the person I was drawing. I often get carried away by the drawing and instead of correcting it from the model I correct it to what I think looks best, and the result is not a perfect likeness. My challenge has been to get accurate first lines, and spending more time on getting the exact proportions down before I add too much detail and shading. So these are just sketches which are an invaluable part of the process of learning to draw. Getting good at your art is all about practice--perfect practice. 

   Profiles I have always struggled with. It takes some time to get it to look like a person one might meet in real life rather than in a nightmare! I'm going to have to work at it over and over again until I can get an accurate profile and a perfect likeness in just the first few lines. I have been studying Sargent's drawings and I am amazed and the confidence and accuracy of every line he puts down. He can capture a person in just a few bold strokes of charcoal. 

   I watched a video interview with the artist Barry John Raybould who began the Virtual Art Academy and at the end he gave an invaluable piece of advice to artists. I don't remember his exact words but in giving advice to artists who art struggling with making good paintings. He said don't try to make a great painting. Simplify things down, go out and make studies of one thing that interests you or that you think you need to work on, whether it is colour harmonies, value relationships, edges, or reflected light. Focus on just one aspect of painting, and that way you will learn it. There is so much that contributes to making a great painting that it is too overwhelming to learn everything in one painting. It is all about perfect practice, for when you come to do a big painting to sell or a commission everything you have learned in the hundreds of small studies will come together. And besides this those studies may even come be be your greatest work. He also stressed the importance of going back time and again to the basics. Even if you think you know it all, there is still more to learn or re-learn from the very fundamentals of drawing and painting. And that inspires and encourages me to draw a hundred faces!

   I've been filming a new video for my YouTube channel encouraged by the many people who have subscribed to me lately. It's a speed drawing video of several sketches of people. So that's coming soon!  

    Because I can't wait around all day for someone to stop and sit for me I sketch of the internet--Pintrest has a wealth of inspiring reference. These sketches are not intended to be sold they are entirely sketched for my private enjoyment and because I loved the reference photo.

   When the internet went down yesterday I turned to the cover of a book I am reading to sketch from. It's called Fly Away Home by Rachel Heffington, one of my best friends. She is an incredibly talented writer and this is her first published novel. Her blog is well worth following, the book is available on Amazon. It's very exciting! She lives in Virginia and we communicate with long long letters full all kinds of nonsense and the ecstasies and sufferings of our intensely creative selves! Of course when one of us becomes famous the other will retire on the profits from these intriguing missives. 

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