Friday, May 28, 2010

Recent Value Drawings at the Academy

Tennis Shoes - Value Drawing, Feb. 2010

"Art News" - Value Drawing, Nov. 2009
Above are two recent value drawings done at the Jeff Hein Academy. These were done with vine charcoal on Arches 90-lb. cold press watercolor paper.
I feel I'm learning a lot in my days at the academy. I spend five days a week there, 5-6 hours per day, and each piece takes many weeks to complete, mainly due to Jeff being very demanding. His standards: perfection. That's not tongue-in-cheek. It can be frustrating, but also what I (and most of us) need. The biggest weakness for most of us, working on our own, is not to demand enough of ourselves and to settle for less than we're actually capable of. Maybe that's the whole purpose of formal training, to have someone telling us - and demanding of us - that we can do better than we think we can. I'm regretting that I didn't do something like this academy earlier in my life.
I am giving myself about one more year at the academy. With the shortness of my time in mind, Jeff has given me permission to complete my value studies portion of the training in paint. I must complete five value studies to his standard with virtually no help from him. After that, I can move into color. I am getting very eager to move on to color. Still working on my first value piece in paint. Unfortunately, I picked a tough subject which is taking me a long time, but, as always I'm learning a lot. I hope to complete it in the next three weeks.
Here's a recommended book for painters who may read this blog: Harold Speed's "Oil Painting Techniques and Materials". As Speed says in his book - to paraphrase - all that can be taught is craft, not art. But that's big.... Most artists nowadays have not mastered craft, but we wade quickly into concept, some with greater success than others. However, craft alone can carry all of us a long ways. What's more, I think that, for many of us, it's really the craft that we've fallen in love with, as artists. Maybe that's why I'm having such a good time being an art student.