Hugh Laidman – Drawing – A Fundamental

Last week, I found a hidden treasure in the book section of a second hand store. The book, entitled “Animals: How to Draw Them” was written by Hugh Laidman (published by E.P. Dutton in 1975). I had never heard of Laidman, but was impressed at how easy it was to learn his approach to drawing animals. In it, he does a great job of emphasizing the importance of starting with big shapes, then moving into details. He starts with ellipses, circles, triangles and rectangles then transforms these into the animal. The section on photography (pre-digital) is a little dated, but overall, the book is terrific.

Laidman’s introduction starts by contrasting the approaches of three great American artists known for animal painting: Edward Hicks, John James Audobon, and Federick Remington. Each had a very different approach to gathering their subject matter. Hicks “borrowed” from other artists’ work. Audobon killed his animals and drew them. Remington moved out west and drew from life. The book covers how to draw a variety of animals from domestic (e.g., cats, horses) to wild (e.g., tigers, bears).

With my curiosity about this artist, I checked on line to find out that he was quite notable. He was a partner in an advertising firm in New York. He was also a military reporter, rendering military scenes in the U.S. Marine Corp during World War II. This quote, from the web site I found is consistent with the skill I see in his book.

“The base of creativity is knowledge.” Hugh said, “An outsider usually considers the art world a hotbed of creativity although in reality it is frequently a deathbed of imitation. Knowledge of the basic tools and materials, plus at least an acquaintance with their potential, is a small step in the right direction. Knowledge of the tools and materials in relation one to the next is a giant step. Most artists feel more at home in one medium. The simple fact is that an ability to work in one medium serves to reinforce an artist’s capabilities in the next one in which he chooses to experiment…with the hope that lifting any mystery that surrounds a given process might remove the fear that is evidenced by so many specialists. A fundamental in the entire process of the artist is a knowledge of drawing. To distort effectively, the artist must first know how to draw correctly.”

Do you have a tendency to move into details too quickly? What references have you found have helped you to improve your drawing skills?

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Texture, texture, read all about it

Texture, texture, read all about it

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Creative Family Tree

When an artist says they have ancestors are creative, it’s interesting to note how many times others respond “it’s no wonder” or “that explains it”. My mom is an artist. She loves beauty and has a knack for taking the mundane and transforming it into something beautiful and extra ordinary. Artists see things differently than others because they train themselves to look and see with a focus that most others do not. However, in some cases, growing up with artistic family members doesn’t always mean a person becomes artistic.

Are you from a creative family? If so, feel free to comment on your family members that are creative. If not, and you are creative, what got you started down the path of being creative? Who has inspired you?

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Getting Our Values Right – Another Tool

Getting Our Values Right – Another Tool

As someone who works full time and has to fit art and creativity in on the side, I’m always looking for ways to make my creative process go more quickly. One thing my art instructors have consistently emphasized as important in painting and drawing classes is value. Values are the scale of light to dark. When painting, we are encouraged to start with a value sketch. I try to remember to do this, but when plein air painting, sometimes forget. Doing a value sketch helps us to simplify what we are seeing and experiment with options for what we emphasize. As a plein air painter, I take several reference photos that I can go back to when I get home. I recently discovered an effect filter called Pencil Sketch in Picasa that has great potential for transforming a photograph into a value sketch. I also adjusted the contrast using the Auto Contrast tool. Here are before and after photos that demonstrate how this tool can help you save time. If you know of time saving techniques and tools, I invite you to comment on this post and share them.

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Today, please exercise your right to vot

Today, please exercise your right to vote.

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In the Eye of the Storm: What Hurricane Sandy Taught Me about Social Media and Technology

In the Eye of the Storm: What Hurricane Sandy Taught Me about Social Media and Technology.

Reading this article made me want to invite my neighbors over for brunch. Great share.

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Sometimes Competition Can Help Us Grow

Some artists avoid juried art shows and competitions because they believe the art community should be cooperative and supportive. Others avoid it out of fear of rejection or loss. However, there is another way to relate to these. These events provide an opportunity for the artist to stretch themselves, to share themselves, and to open themselves to some feedback.

This year, for the first time, I decided to enter a beaded bead contest being held by Beading Daily. I’ve subscribed to Beadwork magazine for years, but I’ve done very few of the projects in the magazine. However, this year, I decided to tackle the challenge of making five distinct beaded bead designs and fashioning them into a necklace. Although I put in a lot of hours, I gained the following by participating:

– Increased technical skill in making beaded beads.
– Learning not to give up when the work isn’t going in the right direction and sticking with it until I figure it out.
– Appreciation for the value of being part of a small group of beaded jewelry artisans who meet one night per week and support each other through critique and advice. This structure has been critical to providing a framework for the time it takes to create art.
– Seeing the wonderful interpretations of this work by other beaded jewelry artisans.

If you have entered a juried art competition or art contest, feel free to comment and share what you gained from participating in that event.

Click here if you’re interested in seeing the beaded jewelry necklace I entered into the contest.

If you’re a member of Beading Daily, I would greatly appreciate your vote.

Voting: Voting will take place between October 26, 2012 (starting  at 5:00 p.m. MDT) and November 5, 2012 (ending at 9:00 a.m. MDT). Voters  must be members of Beading Daily. Voters can vote for as many entries as they  like, but they can only vote for each entry once.

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(Repost) A Great Article on Necklace Lengths

(Repost) A Great Article on Necklace Lengths

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Repost – Getting a Callback from a Galle

Repost – Getting a Callback from a Gallery

Those of you who are artists may find this useful. Feel free to comment on whether or not you did.

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Susan Dobson – Extraordinary Vision Susa

Susan Dobson – Extraordinary Vision

Susan Dobson, a Toronto based artist shares her unique vision. It appears that her primary media is photography and she creates art installations and photographs those as well. Her works have been featured in numerous periodicals and has been exhibited worldwide ( Mexico City, Montreal, Vancouver, Spain). She has won numerous art awards.

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