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I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Exercising Discipline

Still at it and, frankly, some nights I am just not in the mood for such a regimented, prescribed exercise.  The evenings I spent drawing ears about did me eerie experience (old, unfunny teacher-pun).  However, when I thumb back through my sketch book I am seeing progress.  My estimation of measurements is getting more accurate and my eye is getting better at seeing what is incorrect.

Drawing my nose is literally up against the paper and I am absolutely certain that the marks I make are accurate.  Then I step back, or in this case look at a photo, and I can see the mistakes clearly.  You do see the funny "bobbles" along the edge of the foot, no?  Regardless of the piece I am copying I am fairly certain that a real foot would never "read" this way, right?

I can see now why we gaze so longingly at works of the old masters...this is how they were trained.  And today we take a few painting classes or get an "MFA" and expect to make money off our results.  Back in the day most apprentices spent years with these exercises before ever touching a brush or mixing paint.  Whew.

Occassionally we are "allowed" to digress and given something off the grid to draw.  So I present Virginia Wolfe, the author.  Today I can see the errors loud and clear while, maybe a year ago, I might have been satisfied with the current results.  During class I also observed that our esteemed teacher, while commenting on our work, casually mentioned how many other photos of Ms Wolfe he had looked at before starting on his rendition of the piece.  He didn't realize it but he was teaching me to do further research on any subject before tackling it....

The difficulty here also was to enlarge the drawing and keep the proportions accurate...this involves math so it gives me a little hyper-ventilation just thinking about!  I won't list the errors but you can see my notes got covered as her hair got larger....

Is there anything currently that you are intentionally disciplined about learning?  Whether it's tennis, music, drawing or cookie baking, I think the take-away lesson is that the age old phrase we hated as kids: practice makes perfect has merit.


  1. Cindy, I know I read the proceeding posts about your drawing exercises, but can't find them. I'm curious to explore them myself...

  2. Vicki - they are from a teaching book on Bargue, google him.

  3. Here's the Amazon info on the book - when a teacher buys it they receive the ability to make copies so I did not buy the book - lots of good info on the regiment on google- good luck!
    Charles Bargue and Jean-Léon Gérôme: Gerald Ackerman ... › Books › Arts & Photography › DrawingShare

    Rating: 4.7 - 39 reviews - $74.22 - In stock

    The Bargue-Gerome Drawing Course is a complete reprint of a famous, late nineteenth century drawing course. It contains a set of almost two hundred masterful ...

  4. I did research on Bargue several years ago, and convinced myself I was being too anal. AND the cost of the book put me off. I'll dig a bit deeper now, especially since you are seeing improvements. THANKS! vicki


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