Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Painting class study

We had our third painting class last night, during which we finished the study we started last week. Here's mine. I'm happy to say it doesn't suck. There are definitely things I'd improve on, but it's probably the best that can be expected from two evenings worth of effort.

Both my sis and I had been feeling a bit peeved at the teacher for not giving us more actual help with technique. Last night was better, though. For one thing, the students were asking more questions, and learning from each other as well, so we were having a lot more fun overall.

I signed up for a beginning drawing class at the Art League; the class starts next week. My drawing skills aren't bad, but could definitely use some more work.

Sis and I, and a few friends, went to the Cezanne exhibit at the NGA on Sunday (we also stopped in on the van Mieris and the Dada exhibits -- talk about vastly different schools of art). The Cezanne exhibit was fun. His stuff isn't exactly what I prefer to look at, but it was interesting nontheless, and I can appreciate it; but I like the earlier stuff more than the later. I said (only half-joking) that with a little practice, we could probably do as well as Cezanne; but the Gainsboroughs, not so much.

Some of Cezanne's later work makes me wonder about his eyesight as he got older. I'm sure an art historian would say that his experiments with color and abandonment of literal interpretations of form was all intentional. Cezanne's saving grace is that he really could draw when he wanted to; so I don't doubt his skills as a draftsman and an artist. And he did have a good sense of proportion, even when the image on the canvas really doesn't look like a mountain anymore. (You have to know the rules to know how to break them, etc.) However, many artists today -- I wonder whether they can really draw. I think more often they're out to be different just for the sake of being different. And don't even get me started on performance art.

There was a quote on Marilyn's blog a while ago:
Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.--Tom Stoppard

Yeah, exactly.


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