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FREE Art Lessons

We will begin by touching on various aspects of drawing: seeing with the artist’s eye, values, creativity, abstraction, armchair research and where to go from there. The goal is to encourage your artistic abilities. It will be a journey of discovery.

It is time for me to pass on what I have learned from my years as a lifelong painter and illustrator, because I have had a wonderful life doing what I love to do.

I have traveled the circuit as an artist, from traditional through impressionistic, from exploration of imaginative cosmic space to atmospheric-nautical with ink, paint, and pastel. In my late years I now use the computer as my art tool. I wrote, illustrated, and published my first book “Keeping Ahead of Winter” after I was eighty-years-old.

I taught oil painting at the San Mateo County Arts Council and taught drawing in my studio at the Twin Pines Art Center, in Belmont CA., now called 1870 Art Center. My work is in the permanent collection of the Peninsula Museum of Art.

Leonardo Da Vinci wrote, “The feeling is what guides you to reach out for the knowledge.”

You will need:
· A medium size drawing pad (if you are just starting to draw, buy a newsprint paper pad -- it is cheaper and you will be more relaxed)
· Number 2B, 4B and 6B drawing pencils
· A pocket knife
· Ruler
· Kneaded art eraser
· Charcoal or conte crayon optional
· An Emory board or a small piece of sandpaper stapled to a piece of wood to shape the point of your pencil
· A drawing board, or use plywood or Masonite
. Masking tape to hold your paper on the board
· Fixative to protect the drawing from smearing (hair spray will do the trick)

Art materials can be bought at your local art store or online at: Dick Blick http://www.dickblick.com/ or Daniel Smith http://www.danielsmith.com/

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lesson #1

All of us at one time have had the urge to create pictures. There are no magic rules to be laid down for drawing. Drawing is not a precise science. It is the ability to express one’s own impression.

The arts are not restricted to professionals and geniuses. There is something about art that brings serenity to one’s life.

Drawing is as individual as handwriting. Most people only look; as an artist you must learn to see. You have heard it called the artist’s eye.

If you are an advanced artist you may find ideas here that you haven’t thought of. Sketching is a way of life that leads to better painting.

Seat yourself comfortably at a table. Hold your pencil as shown in the illustration. Use your arm rather than your fingers to move your pencil. This will give you more freedom of motion. Sit in a straight back chair in front of a table. Rest the drawing board on an angle. You can rest it on your lap leaning against the table or tilt the board on an angle with a box under it. Use masking tape to hold your paper on the drawing board.

Practice free flowing lines by filling a sheet or more of paper using number a 2B pencil; lift and press on the pencil while you write large letters of the alphabet in longhand. Use your wrist to move the pencil rather than bending your fingers.

The nature of these marks and the total effect of their fluidity will establish both style and tone of your drawing. Experiment with different size pencils.

To get a good point on the softer pencils hold a penknife in one hand and guide the pencil with your thumb of the other hand as shown in the picture.

Choose a room that is painted with one color. Look where the light hits the wall. See how much lighter the color of the wall is where the light hits it. Now, look where it meets the ceiling. See how much darker the ceiling looks than the wall. Next, look around the walls of the room at the different shades of gray.

Turn off the light or close the drapes and the walls appear darker. If there is no light at all, everything appears black. What color is it inside a watermelon before we open it? It’s black. The same with the refrigerator -- it is black inside when the door is closed and light when the door is open.

Once you have a fairly long point, rub one side of it on sandpaper to flatten it as shown in the photo and illustration .

Practice values with the different weight pencils and strokes.
To master drawing a straight line without using a ruler (although there is nothing against using one), follow the simple exercise below:

Your eye will tell your hand what to do. For example, to draw a straight line put a dot on the left side of the paper and another on the right side. Place your pencil on the dot on the right side of your paper. Do not look at the pencil; look only at the other dot and bring the pencil over to it.

Your homework is to work on these simple exercises. Sign, date and keep everything you do no matter what it looks like -- that way you will be able to watch your progress.

Every drawing you do will have some good in it. Learn from what you do well. Practice, practice, practice, before you go to the next lesson.

I look forward to your comments and questions. Click on "Comments" below.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Ruth, I followed you here from information in The Rose & Thorn Literary E-zine's newsletter. Thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge in print and on this blog. I think I'm going to give it a try! (Going for art supplies today.) My twin sister has always been a fine artist, but not so me. This should be fun!

Ruth Silnes said...

Thanks Angie. I'm glad to have you aboard. You may do better than you expect, have fun and only compete with yourself.

www.freewebs.com/butch1025/index.htm. said...

I've been a friend and admirer of Ruth Silnes for almost ten years. She is both a talented writer and wonderful artist. Her first book, "Keeping Ahead of Winter' was an excellent travel memoir of her journey by boat through the nations inter waterways. Her second book, a children's story was a delightful read and I am about to order her latest book on the arts. Ruth has an incredible website where she offers free art courses to interested upcoming artists and those who need a refresher course. Be sure to visit her site.

Micki Peluso, author of. . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG

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