Saturday, January 17, 2009
What is the single best drawing tip you have given or received?
Eastern bluebirds have been frequenting the bird bath and they are such a welcome sight! In the dreary days of winter their blue sky backs carry the reminder of brighter days. I am not used to seeing them in the winter, but with our current drought situation, they have been regular visitors to the birdbath just out side the window for drinks of water. They usually come in groups. A few years ago, I saw a pair of them at our previous house, but only for a few weeks one spring. Since we moved (a few hundred yards away from the other house) almost 4 years ago, I haven't seen them at all until a month or so ago. Now I see them perched on the phone lines and fences where they keep an eye out for food in the open fields. We have seen as many as 10 clustered around the rim of the birdbath. I have nesting boxes that haven't been put up. I read that the Eastern bluebirds were indigenous to the area many years ago but had been displaced by the sparrows which are not native to this country, having been brought here from England.
Now to the burning question: "What is the most useful tip that you have been given or have given to others in regard to drawing?"
I have to think a while about the best one I've received. (I've received a lot of them!) When doing realistic artwork, the one that I repeat the most to my students is: "Draw what you see, not what you think you know." The most common reason for giving that tip is when I see students drawing something they have probably drawn and/or doodled a zillion times and have imprinted on their brain that is what the object looks like. Period. I remember one student doing a great job of drawing and rendering a squirrel - except that the animal had a very humanistic eye which was totally blowing the whole artwork. When the student got to the eye, she just drew what she thought an eye looked like without noticing the eye in her reference photo was very different from what she was drawing. It is very easy to slip into that type of mistake.
Much of the art I do is inspired by something I've seen by really looking. It makes me sad that so many people zip through life without seeing the amazing sights that exist if they only took the time to see them. Maybe by capturing it in a painting it will bring focus to the beauty and wonder that is in the ordinary.
Now, what are your favorite tips?