It’s debatable whether the intense study of technical skills enhances or erodes self-expression and creativity. The argument against it is that once you have learnt to draw in a tight and representation way it can be difficult to loosen up afterwards and not become a slave to the outward appearance of your subject matter. Creative interpretation can be stifled.
On the other hand inaccurate drawing in a representational piece is enough to ruin it. If, say, the perspective is wrong in an otherwise good drawing it will jar with the viewer. They may not even be able to identify what it is, only that something doesn’t ‘feel right’.
More naive and experimental approaches often produce much more interesting images, but personally I feel it’s a mistake to encourage abstraction – in children or adults – before they have grasped at least the basic fundamentals of accurate drawing. Drawing, for me, means developing the skills of seeing what is really in front of us instead of what we THINK is there, and having the motor skills to capture it. Otherwise, what are we abstracting FROM?
Abstraction can be used as a vehicle of frustration at not being able to draw, but it also serves its purpose as a powerful way to express feelings. Not many well known artists of the past began by painting abstracts however. They arrived at abstraction after many years of study, beginning with formal drawing.
I am far from being a Well Known Artist, but my artistic journey parallels these observations.
I left college able to draw very realistically, which I was pleased with at the time. I hadn’t learnt much about colour or painting techniques though. I subsequently met someone whose watercolour skills I admired and I absorbed her guidance like a sponge. It took me about two years before I was happy-ish with my abilities. I was able to put the two skills of drawing and watercolour painting together reasonably well and that set me on a path of experimenting with the idea of drawing in colour.
Years later, faced with a huge life crisis, I found my ability to capture seen objects no help at all. I began to create three-dimensional works from driftwood and found objects, and also to experiment with mixed media. This gave me an unrestricted outlet for emotional release. I still find the challenge of unpredictable methods and materials a source of inspiration and surprise. I know that I can tie things down with a bit of drawing if required, but it’s very exciting to just let paint flow and see what happens.
For exampIe, I created a series of semi-abstracts based on the full moon. I set out with the idea of making interesting and emotive paintings using mainly one colour (Prussian Blue) and a simple circle.
My years at art college still stand me in good stead, but I also consider myself self-taught to a great extent. Or perhaps I should say ‘self-teaching’ as I certainly have not finished learning or exploring yet.
Classes Update -
Tuesday Mornings at Le Meridien continues to be fun - last week we worked on how to darken watercolours without ending up with mud!
Fridays at Villa Bologna in Attard is as lovely as ever. We are starting at 9.30 am now, so that we finish a little earlier to help avoid some of the midday heat. We may move to evening when it gets even hotter. This week we are going to make tree portraits.....
All classes are two and a half hours long and cost 20 euro each. You can use my materials for an extra 3 euro.
Call me on 99458286 or contact me HERE
I love to paint - and draw - and help others to discover their creative side too.....
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