Friday, February 06, 2015

Wanting to be an Painter

Getting older one tends to think back and have some regrets about not doing a few things in life.
For me one is not being able to play a musical instrument. My mother, a piano player (by ear), organized lessons when I was young but it was obvious, at the time, I had little interest.
Now I would give my eye teeth to play piano like Richard Dworsky (Prairie Home Companion) or Marcia Ball.
I would have also liked to have been a painter or a potter. Regular readers of my blog would have noticed that we visit many art galleries around the world on our travels and I get inspired particularly by the artists of the Impressionist Movement, including some Australians eg. Arthur Streeton. This not to say I don't appreciate the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic art periods but they don't 'do' as much for me.
I have had a number of aborted attempts over the years at channeling this desire, all pretty much ending as quickly as they started.
Recently we were watching a BSkyB program called "Portrait Artist of the Year", a competition between various artists from the UK who paint portraits in public under pretty severe time restraints. It was interesting to watch the artists' various techniques and with some of them I thought to myself, "I could do that".

The co driver has connections to a local artist who gives lessons and thought I should have another 'go'. 
I mulled it over for a few months and then we both decided to give it a try.
So far we have done two 3 hour sessions with a group of others who are in various stages of progress and I am enjoying the process.
Our teacher, Jules, says the first step in being an artist is the ability to draw well and has me copying simple line drawings in pencil from a book. 
Sounds easy? 
No it's not. 
My first attempt at drawing a rabbit turned out looking like a very deformed sheep.
But I am doing regular 'homework' every day copying chosen drawings from the Internet, sometimes to scale or, if I am feeling brave, scaled up.  I set myself a target of two drawings which is probably one to two hour's work.
They are usually pretty simple but it is an exercise in observation where getting the proportions right is the main aim.
At times it can be frustrating (my rubber eraser to Americans, gets a good workout) but as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. 
So far, so good.

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