Class Notes: Dare to Draw

In this last class session of the year session we have focused our attention on drawing skills. It is appropriate, that after several months en plein air, a little drawing discipline might be in order. When painting outdoors we tend to focus on broader subjects such as over-all composition, or value. While struggling with distance and light in the landscape sometimes we play a little fast and loose with the what we see and aren't strict about rendering with accuracy. The demands of doing, even a simple still life set up is one of the best ways to stay sharp - or even improve.
I love to paint mechanical things- even though I may not always be successful, it is the most fun.  The bicycle required some close examination in order to draw/paint it so it appeared to actually work, as a bike.
The simple stack of books and goblet involved some hard LOOKING and an understanding of perspective in order to draw it correctly. Accuracy in the drawing is foundational to better painting; and anything that makes you look, and look and look again - will stretch and improve your drawing skills
- but then so will using a sketch book.


Van Gogh In Denver

This last weekend, I had a chance to take my daughter and go to Denver with some good friends to see "Becoming Van Gogh" - at the Denver Art Museum.  We literally wrestled this opportunity from the jaws of death as determination (and prepurchased tickets) propelled us out of the San Luis Valley during Friday's blizzard. Driving over the pass in winter is always daunting- add freezing temps and driving snow - well, let's just say- we were motivated.
And the Van Gogh show? - could not have been more worth it; well curated and thought out, enlightening, informative and joyful. The show focuses on the artist as he tenaciously hones his skill through 10 years of painting.  Unlike what we have been fed about Van Gogh's life as a quasi-psycho and his own victim, this show presents him as a smart, motivated and hard working artist. There were 70 works by Van Gogh, some relatively obscure and some familiar - set along side art created by his contemporaries and artists that influenced him, such as Pissarro and Seurat. This show will continue through January 20, 2013 and tickets must be pre-purchased online but if it has been something you have been considering don't waste time to GO.
Click on the link at the top of this post "Becoming Van Gogh" to read an article about how the show was put together;  It is an interesting look behind the scenes.