Acrylic on gessoed canvas and watercolor paper (R)
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(I know this isn’t much to look at, but it’s what I did with my art time today — practiced making soft edges using dry brush, blending with wet-in-wet and other techniques, and painting watercolor-style washes using acrylics thinned down with water and “Acrylic Flow Release.” It’s harder (but not impossible) to make the kinds of beautiful soft edges and blends that can be done easily in oil paints (these samples are neither beautiful nor soft as I’d like, but that’s what practice is for). I was surprised how easy it was to make clean flat washes using acrylics as watercolors.
I’ve just started reading “Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting,” originally published in 1929. Even though he’s incredibly opinionated and assumes all artists are men, I’m finding his observations to be really interesting and often astute and applicable today. Here’s a few tidbits from the first chapter, “How to Approach Painting:”
“The art of painting, properly speaking, cannot be taught, and therefore cannot be learned. I believe about art, as I believe about music or architecture, that the only way to study is to practice; and that any good teacher can point out certain intellectual or technical “makings,” certain helps that will give a fulcrum to the lever of practice.”
“No one can teach ‘art.’ No one can give a singer a glorious voice, but granting the voice, and emotional sensibility, a teacher can teach a man to sing…”
“A snapshot is a correct rendition of physical fact…but the camera does not have an idea about the objects reflected upon its lens. It does not ‘feel’ anything, and will render one thing as well as another. This ‘idea,’ or thrill is the unteachable part of all art.”
“The beginner in painting begins by copying nature in all literalness, leaving nothing out and putting nothing in; he makes it look like the place or person or thing. By and by he will learn to omit the superfluous and to grasp the essentials and arrange them into a more power and significant whole. And it is wonderful to know that these ‘essentials’ will be essentials to him only (and herein lies the secret of orginality). Another man will choose another group of essentials out of the same fountain of inspiration.”
These hit home for me, especially the last one. Do you find them interesting? annoying? inspiring? helpful?