Sunday, August 10, 2008
From Allan Kraayvanger's book Figure Drawing workshop.
Walk before you fly."Most of us look with awe at the drawings of the Old Masters. Those works are timeless, made by the finest artists of their generations-artist learned from and contributed to the accumulated knowledge of all the generations before them, benefiting from a solid foundation and building one for those who followed. At some point in the mid-nineteenth century, artists began the search for other ways to express themselves. There had always been innovators, but that was when the search began in earnest. The Camera had made realism in art seem almost redundant-and so began a new and very exciting chapter in the history of art.A major consequence of this new emphasis on novelty was the elimination of traditional methods of teaching art in most schools. The results are obvious. Only the very few schools that continued to teach the hard-won knowledge of the past were able to consistently turn out students who could earn a living in the fields of illustration or in anything but the rarified market of the avant-garde. And so a great many artist with potential became plumbers, carpenters-anything but artists or illustrators. (Here's the good part Brianna)The vast majority of people cannot understand or appreciate the so-called "fine arts" of today. These are the very same people who constitute the major market for reasonably priced art. Given that art is language, a way of communicating, it defies logic why anyone would speak in Greek when addressing an English-speaking audience and then complain when no one understands him or her. A whole new culture has grown from this new art that speaks only to a selected few. Throughout history, charlatans have taken advantage of those who need someone else to tell them what they should like. It is interesting that most of the artist who have withstood the test of time acquired the basic traditional skills of drawing before branching out in other directions-Degas, Modigliani, Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Klimt to name only a few. You must start from a solid base if you are to move into uncharted waters. Nothing is so empty as the search for newness, or the attempts to be contemporary when you are working from a wobbly foundation.