Friday, April 18, 2014

Making lots of starts.

"Put off finish as it takes a lifetime - wait until later to try to finish things - make a lot of starts." ~Charles Hawthorne
 Demo about simple shapes from my resent  Scottsdale Artists' School workshop.
Many times I don't get very far in my demos during workshops,
as I always encourage dialog between myself and my students.


One of the main ideas I teach in my workshops is not to be concerned with finishing any of the studies we do. It is in these little studies of the art principles that we as artists learn and grow. By doing these exercises it helps to break us out of habits that we have developed over many years which can cloud our vision.

I thought I would share a resent email I sent to a student interested in taking one of my upcoming workshops.

My response:

First off, I very much appreciate your comments and questions.

When I first set up my curriculum for workshops I decided to approach it from two different directions. The first is to insure that the students understand the basic elements of painting/art via short studies focusing on single elements--example the limited palette. This is by far the best way for artists (including myself) to learn and grow. The second is to allow students more time to work on one piece/pose, so they may take something home that gives them a sense of accomplishment--a more finished piece.

That being said, I have found that the students learn so much more through the shorter studies that I have found myself reducing the time spent on the longer paintings. I have always said, I would rather students take home knowledge than product. This knowledge always finds its way into our work and leads to faster improvement. I do encourage students to take photos of the model as we go, and so when the students get home they can use the studies and the photos in combination to make a larger, more complete painting.

As for the longer pose, I have to be flexible in workshops because of the model's availability. Sometimes we can't get the same model for the entire day. So I approach the longer sessions in one of two ways. Either one long pose on the last day (morning/afternoon)  or splitting the long poses up in two or more afternoon slots. One advantage of this approach is it allows me to teach my methods of working back into a dry painting.

Hope this helps.


 Upcoming workshops:

Fredericksburg Artists' School
May 5-9 2014
Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio
July 21-25 2014
360.637.4690 / 206.571.0442


Unknown said...

A hearty endorsement for Bryce's workshop to anyone out there that might be considering it.

I was at Scottsdale and found the whole week's progression to be very logical and well thought out. It is hard, I think to fight the temptation to want to paint "our best" and fish for compliments from the instructor and others. But I think if you really desire to grow as an artist you have to be willing to go back and think differently, do the exercises, and maybe come away with what looks like some lousy paintings for the sake of learning some valuable insights. That's what I did. I don't feel as though I produced anything that was hardly worth showing. Except to my wife so that she'd know I was actually there and doing something. But Bryce's insights spoke volumes to me and the experiences are clear in my mind and I will definitely refer to many of them as I paint going forward.
Sorry if I come off as strident in my comments. Jut trying to honestly express my take-away.

Thanks for all the great info Bryce.

Unknown said...

Thanks Chris, I very much appreciate your thoughtful comments and taking the time to write this. It's great to get feedback from students--the theories always sound good in your head, but you never completely know how's it sounds coming out of your mouth. I very much enjoyed having you in my class, and hopefully we'll bump into each other again soon. Keep up the great work--Bryce