Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Art Question: What Motivates You to Keep Painting?

A friend of mine recently said she currently doesn't feel the motivation to paint and asked why I do keep painting, what motivates me?

The following excerpt from Becoming Human Through Art: Aesthetic experience in the school by Edmund Burke Feldman explains some of what motivates me:

We should try to think of art, in the present context, as an instrument or tool for dealing with human situations that call for expression. In the course of growing up there are thousands of events and experiences, whose meaning we want to share. It is not a matter of exceptional generosity or lack of self-control that makes children want to divulge their experiences; being human, they have to share, they cannot help sharing, the meanings of their lives. It is the human need to communicate with other people that is the foundation of art...

Sharing and exchanging the contents of their lives is what helps children grow into mature social beings who can function normally in communities, make friends, work productively, and develop confidence in their powers of human understanding and expression...

From a human standpoint, it is not correct to say that the individual sets out to create music, art or literature; rather, he is moved or impelled to say something and art is the result...

At present, artists combine media of expression; they are reluctant to recognize boundaries between paintings and sculpture, between two- and three-dimensional expression, between music and theater and opera and cinema and architecture and sculpture and industrial design. Whether he knows it or not, today's artist seems to be seeking the tribal artist's freedom of access to all media and types of expression. Obviously, the need to make a statement, to share experience, to evoke a response, takes precedence over the 'rules' about categories of artistic expression.

I find that most things written about why children make art applies as well to adults, or at least me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Art Lesson: Transfering a Drawing

Here is an easy way to transfer a drawing using tracing paper. This is a video I created as part of the online drawing class I will be offering starting March 1. For more info about this class, look at my last post below.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Drawing: Crossing patterns in a Pineapple, Pinecone and a Cactus

I have been making this drawing of a pineapple to demonstrate pattern in plants.

The pineapple, pinecone and some cactus have an alternating spiral pattern going from the top to the bottom. I enjoy trying to make these things work right: both spirals lining up. It is always a wonder to me when it works right. It is so easy to get lost or to get confused where you are in the pattern. But very gratifying when it is completed.

This drawing is a study for a botanical watercolor of this pine cone. Pine cones, although probably less work overall than a pineapple, can make it more difficult to recognize and follow the pattern when they are open, like this one. This cone is from a white pine.

This is a study of the pattern of needles on a small cactus. This study was used to make an oil painting of the cactus. Unfortunately, I have not taken a photo of this piece (that will be remedied soon). One aspect of botanical art that I like is finding the pattern or structure of the plant. It is sort of like Where's Waldo? - only different. Plants are amazing in that they develop in stages and patterns. It is an elemental part of their structure. How well do you know your favorite plant? Do you know anything about its structure? Look again, there's always more to discover.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Art Lesson: Simple Composition tools

Here is a quick video on simple tools for framing or composing the subject in front of you that you will be drawing/painting. I made this video for an online course Beginning Drawing: Botanical that I will be offering later this month.