Further art discussions and notifications for the artwork of Sam Thorp

Monday, February 25, 2013


Classical Training vs. Training Wheels

Most people have no idea what I mean when my bio states that I am “classically trained”.
It means traditional, classical techniques. They still have no idea what that means, because it's hardly ever taught any more.

My teacher was Irish/ Italian, but basically the same personality. 

One of the things I was taught is that a Painting is made of paint.
And ONLY of paint. We were not allowed to draw on the canvas and then fill it in with paint.
Because that is not a painting.... it's a drawing colored in with paint.
Yes, there IS a difference.
I'm sure a lot of artists and “artists” still draw on the canvas then paint over it.
And sometimes they get away with it.
But when it becomes perfectly obvious..... they have a bad painting.

Allow me to explain.

The #2 pencil is much like a set of training wheels.
We all start out that way. There is no shame in it. 
The shame occurs years later when you still have not moved on.
I had training wheels on my first bike. But if I were to go out an make a huge investment in “Big Time” Biking... say a Harley Davidson Super Low Fatboy Softail... I wouldn't want anyone to see me ride with the training wheels still on.
Those who know about bikes will know how ridiculous that is.
And those who know about painting will know when its a pencil drawing colored in with paint.

The #2 pencil  is awesome and unifying the most basic and common tool for writing/ drawing/ mark making. But that's also what makes it so bad. It's common. It's basic.

I am quite amused by the number of people who seem perplexed that when I draw, I use color.
As if it never occurred to them to use anything besides the common, basic #2 pencil.
Imagine that, an artist taking a creative approach.
So maybe some artists start their “painting” with a pencil because it never occurs to them to do otherwise.

Sure sketching and working out an idea a head of time IS important.
But when its time to start painting... start by painting.

Consider this:  if you can draw that image on the canvas with a pencil, why can't you do it with a brush?
What exactly IS the difference between using a pencil and using a brush?
Is it harder to do with a brush? Does it require a bit more skill?
Is ir fair to say that being able to manipulate a brush and paint with precision equal to a pencil... is that more rare of a skill to have?
So being able to render shapes with a brush is perhaps ..more advanced?
And all those still using pencil is .. more common.. more basic?

Sure some artist can use pencil and make it look good and no one cares about the “purity” of painting being done entirely in paint anyway. Some cover up their pencil skills with paint convincingly. Some think they have found a loop hole with those drawing paint sticks. Some deliberately break this rule ironically and it works in their favor.

But if you are avoiding the paint brush because you are lazy, or fearful, or it's just too darn hard.... chances are those who know.... will know.
If it is “harder” to draw out your image on a canvas with a brush, how will you ever get better painting skills if you keep falling back on your pencil skills?

SO... the painting done entirely in paint is at least trying to be more skillful, more advanced and more rare? And perhaps has a slight edge over the “painting” that is a drawing colored in with paint?

So maybe its time to let go of the #2 pencil AND those drawing oil sticks; and learn some skills.

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