THE FINE ARTS STUDIOS PROGRAM OUTLINE
(Note: the following outline is written to explain how the adult program works. However, children from age 5 and up are taught the same techniques as are the adults, but the techniques are taught differently because they are children. Further, the one-on-one procedures that are used in the adult program are also used to teach the children, and the child has all the time the child needs to learn the techniques. It is not as if the drawing course is five weeks long, and then either you have it or you don't, and you have to wait until it starts up again in a year, and you have to start again on page one. No, you go at your own speed, as fast as you can learn. You have all the time you need to acquire the skills you want to have. Time is not a factor.)
The Basics of How to Sketch.
The purpose of this section is to assist the student in acquiring the skill necessary for them to have complete certainty in their ability to draw what ever they wish.
Certainty consists of three things:
1. Knowing the basics of how to
make a drawing work;
2. Knowing that you can see when the drawing needs correction;
3. Knowing that you have all the tools necessary to make any corrections to your complete satisfaction:
With the above mastered, the student will realize that no matter how far afield their drawing my wander, they can get it back on track and finish the drawing. They KNOW they can do it.
The ‘Basics of how to Sketch’ segment of the program follows that same sequence described above:
1. Learning the basics of how
to make a drawing work;
2. Learning to spot when the drawing needs correction;
3. Learning all the tools required to make the necessary corrections.
In the initial phase the student is taught the exact basics of what makes drawings work in fine art.
The student is first taught to recognize what are some of the usual barriers they come across which hinder their ability to draw, and then is instructed in procedures that overcome and eliminate those barriers. This takes about one class.
Then the student is taught the basics of how to draw, and to draw exactly what they intend! This is the section that includes what is essential to know to acquire the skills and craftsmanship necessary to do wonderful drawings. This may take two or three more classes.
Once a student has become familiar with this approach and is in the process of actually acquiring these skills, more challenging setups are used to aid them in learning how to spot and solve the problems in their artwork. The student needs to be able to find and correct aspects in the drawing that are for some reason being overlooked. At this stage of skill, simply looking and seeing is not enough. Often ‘what to do’ to correct the work eludes the student, and is a very major barrier to progress. Here, the student learns how to fine with 100% accuracy, EXACTLY what is missing, and needs to be corrected.
Finally, with all the above fully grasped, the student is given very complex setups, to force them to use what they have learned. Here the challenge is to give them projects they never dreamed they would ever be able to accomplish. How good can they get? It is a personal thing, depending on how important what they are doing is to them. Do they draw or watch television?
The result of the ‘Basics of How to Sketch’ section of the course is that the student realizes they can draw anything they wish, with complete certainty and control, given enough time.
The Basics of Tone Drawing
After completing the Basics of How to Sketch, the student is then introduced to tone drawings. This is done using charcoal on charcoal papers.
‘Tones’ are the light and darks used by artists in representational art to make things look ‘real,' or three dimensional. Just as photos and film in black and white look completely real, minus the colour, the same holds true in fine art. Getting the proper lights and darks working correctly, will make your work look ‘real.’
The result is that the student fully understands the role played in representational art by tones. The student KNOWS what it is that he or she needs to do to create the illusions of three dimensionally, and how to correct their work when it is not yet as three dimensional as they wish.
It takes about four to five classes to complete.
Introduction in How to Handle Oil Paints
Here the student is taught how to properly handle the physical aspects of oil paints and brushes, and various oil painting mediums. It is assumed the student has had no previous experience with oil paints, and so it starts at the very beginning. The basics such as what oil paint is, what pallets are, what brushes are, what canvases are, and how they are handled, etc.
Then they are introduced in actually dealing with oil paints, by doing some basic familiarity drills. They learn how to hold the brush, how to put paint on the palette, how to put paint on the brush, and how to put paint on the canvas, how to spread it around, and remove what they do not want. Then they do more advanced drilling, to have them achieve the familiarity needed to begin to do an oil painting. This is all done before actually doing an oil painting. Once they are familiar with handling the physical nature of paint, oils, brushes and thinners, they then are then ready to put their skills to practice.
The Basics of Oil Painting
They have learned the basics of tones in the Basics of Tone Drawing course, and now get to apply those understandings in a new medium, oil paints.
The purpose of this section is for them to master the skills and craftsmanship needed to easily and very deliberately handle oil paint without any hesitations or reservations what so ever. Here they do tone paintings in oil, usually in a warm brown. No colours are introduced at this stage.
Initially, the setups are quite simple, as what we want the student to do is to learn how to apply the paint to the canvas in a very deliberate and planned manner. As this skill improves, more difficult setups are introduced, including painting metals, clear glass, and fabric folds.
This section of the program varies considerably. Usually three or four tone paintings suffice, each one averaging about two to four classes. Once a student demonstrates they have the ability to handle oil paints with no problems what so ever, and that their understanding of tones has improved, they are then ready to be introduced into colours.
Introduction to Colour Theory
This section introduces the student to how colour is used in fine art.
The first section consists of theory and rudimentary drillings, to help them understand what makes colour work, and what hinders it from working. Here the student masters the use of the colour wheel, what the barriers are to mixing colours and why, and how to over come ALL problems associated with using and controlling colours. The result of this section is that the student no longer has any real problems understanding the properties of colour as used by artists.
The Basics of Colour Painting
The second part of this section is painting coloured oil paintings so that one can learn how to control the use of colour. The paintings start out small and simple, and progress in complexity as the student's confidence and understanding increase. As the student progress, increasingly difficult problems associated with the use of colour are introduced in their setups, and they are instructed on how to spot what the EXACT barrier they have hit is, and how to overcome it.
This is a long section, and may take up to a year or so. The result is that the student no longer has trouble painting anything the instructors throw at them. At this point, they are quite advanced, and could easily paint professionally if they so desired.
Introduction to The Great Masters
Once a student has the very basics completely understood, they are then ready to learn the legacy of the great masters of the past. Here they are introduced to many great artists, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Sergeant, Manet, Monet, etc. They study how each one did what he did by actually doing reproductions of the artists work.
Here we are dealing with UNDERSTANDING! We are not simply trying to get a painting to ‘look’ like one done by a great master. We are trying to understand how it is the artist viewed the original scene, and what the problems were that he encountered in doing the artwork, and why he did it the way he did it. Any art work is really the sum of the solutions of the problems the artist came across in doing that work. When you look at great art, you are looking at the answers to all the questions that artist encountered. These are the solutions to the problems that befell him. To study great master pieces, the student is trying to discover what those problems were, so that he can understand how the solution worked. It is very enlightening, and quite exciting. When the student discovers ‘why’ the artist did something the way he did, the student has learned a very valuable lesson, which he then can use anytime in his future work.
This is the longest section, and can go on for years. Fortunately, by this stage, the student is quite a professional with respect to their understanding, and usually needs very little assistance. They are fully independent, except for perhaps specific things they need assistance with, now and again.
Other Areas of Study in Mediums and Techniques Available for the Student
Figure Drawing, Portraits, Watercolour, Coloured Pencils, Pastels, and Pen and Ink sketches.
None are obligatory except for 'Figure Drawing,' and that is a requirement of all students. It occurs soon after 'The Basic of How to Sketch' section is fully competed. It is studied until a new level of drawing skill is attained by the artist. It lasts about three months.
Children and teens