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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

REVUE: Another Solution To A Nonexistent Problem - Cennini Forum

REVUE: Another Solution To A Nonexistent Problem - Cennini Forum

Demonstrations of gouache, you might think of it as poster paint, produces realistic painting surpassing oils.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Painting Gold Objects

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gouache book...finally - Cennini Forum

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I hope that I was clear that The Assignment is still a beta test and, as such, there were unforeseen bugs that arose. One of the biggest stumbling blocks has been the proper use of notans and how they then lead to the working sketch and finally, to the comprehensive sketch (called a "comp" in the bigger studios).

Let's face it, there is only so far a participant can go on their own, so I've been preparing a video demonstration of some projects we've done in the studio. This video shows this rock-solid method of going from no idea all the way to producing a color comp. It's pretty simple once we approach it in a systematic way.

Once the beta testing is done we'll end up with a polished approach...well, about 90% polished. This polished course will be almost identical to the final course. Let's call it our "post-beta" assignment course. One of the biggest improvements will be predictable times. In the beta we altered the amount of time we allowed between stages and have arrived at (we believe) a schedule that optimizes every stage the participants have absorbed and the point where they can say they "own it."

In designing our courses...the original Art Bootcamp course, then the new approach that embeds a no-nonsense understanding of painting portraits...most was new and unexpected. Keeping the participants off-balance has shown to produce exceptional growth...growth that sticks. We've taken people who have never painted a portrait and given them the confidence to do an impressive job of it. What's amazing is we teach that in just four days (we've seen amazing growth with this).

Understand this...we're not claiming you'll be another Sargent in less than a week but this is so far beyond the usual semi-social studio gathering, watching the instructor do a demo he's done for the past twenty years and then trying to apply what you've seen to your very, very different portrait setup.

What we did with the Portrait Course was to introduce you to a step-by-step system that works. From that you can now grow with the certainty that you're building on a solid foundation.

The Art Bootcamp and the Portrait Course are instructional are presented with a series of challenges. One leads to another and by the time you finish the fourth day, your brain is filled with totally new approaches (and your feet are tired from all the standing). Those two are finished and polished and all we have to do it modify them for online presentation.

Probably the most popular course is a three-day lecture course -- The Technical Course. This covers everything from perfect canvas and panel making to making and tubing paints and mediums, which materials produce which results, egg, glue and starch emulsion paints, which brushes are designed for which effects (did you know that among two of the most common shapes, one shape is designed for dark paints and the other for lighter colors?)...a barrage of info. We wrap it up with one of the most complete demonstrations of gilding with gold leaf, how to make embossed shapes for gold leafing and how to use the tools (some of which you can make).

The Technical Course translates nicely to online delivery. As I say, those are ready to go to video. When we held the live workshops (which were always filled to capacity) they ranged from $550 to $680 (the Portrait course was the most expensive because we had one model for every four students...hey, we're after results and know that twenty easels aimed at a single model always produces crap for the students. However, it produces a tidy income for the instructor). The biggest impediment was the student had to fly in, rent cars, book hotels and take meals. Those were the expenses keeping many people home. That's the reason we want to eliminate the travel, lodging and food expenses.

We'll still keep the class size manageable. What will be missing is opening the door onto a studio with shiny floors stretching the length of a football field (actually, it was only 125 feet by 50 feet but looked like an airplane hangar).

But back to this forthcoming post-beta of The Assignment (it's named because it gives you the feeling of what it's like to get an assignment from say, a publisher and even get a commission for a mural at a posh old Boston club). This is a very new approach and I haven't seen it used anywhere else. While the focus is on pictorial composition, the really powerful result is learning the techniques to actually make inspiration on demand (I know that goes against all of the limiting BS we've been taught but trust me...I'm a working pro, not a teacher trying to sound like one. Because i work on deadlines (so did Rubens, Micelangelo, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Bouguereau, Sargent and all the other heavy-hitters) I have to be able to come up with ideas...lots of them, at a moment's notice.

All of the beta testers have learned what it means to be creative on demand. Before this, most partcipants had odd ideas of what creativity was and how it's like a delicate flower that blooms and disappears. For comic relief, read what most of the Facebook people have to say about creativity. Sorry to break the romantic notion but all of us have a creative well-spring just waiting to be tapped into (well yeah, there might be some people who don't have it, but they'd never be interested in art).

We still have the fourth part of the beta version of The Assignment ahead of us. At that point we'll announce the post-beta. As I said, the post-beta will be very close to the final course presentation. Because it's still not fully finalized, we'll offer it at a big discount.

We'll make an announcement to recruit a whole new group, ready to take it from the first baby steps all the way to a truly impressive professional project. I know that some of the current beta testers who joined late will be signing up for the post-beta course.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Going To The Core

Back in the days when I attended art school, we entered this new wonderland through a year-long introduction to every aspect of art. All of the basics were taught and no matter which branch of art you planned to pursue…be it print-making, sculpture, jewelry design, painting, ceramics, stained glass windows or the dread “commercial art,” everyone was equally prepared. Everyone could draw and draw quite well and, to varying degrees, all could paint, sculpt, work with silver and ceramics and stained glass.

Not long after that, the giant asteroid struck Earth, leaving me, the last of my kind to have survived with the ancient knowledge intact. Or so it would seem.

In my years online and holding Art Bootcamps, what most people seemed to desire was a way to develop those core competencies…drawing anything they can see in a convincing manner, the same goes for painting and pictorial composition…[as a quick aside, I was on Facebook reading what people had to say about a simple head study. Some actually complimented “the composition.” Here’s a Hot Flash to those Mall Rats…there is no such thing as composition with a single object].

I brought that up because pictorial composition is thoroughly misunderstood by 99.99999999% of people, and that’s just among those who went to study at art schools and ateliers.

We saw excellent results in teaching solid painting foundation in the Art Bootcamp, Portrait Course and Technical Course. Great stuff. Useful stuff you can carry with you to the easel. Our recent beta testing in The Assignment has seen some profoundl changes in the participants. As I said, The Assignment is still a beta test and aside from some glowing successes it also brought up a real stumbling block. From our standpoint, this is exactly what we hope for (sort of). It pointed up a problem shared by many.

My father had one of those sayings…”never assume. It makes an ass of u and an ass of me.” Yeah, it’s corny but it does contain a grain of truth and in this case we made the mistake of getting away from our Bootcamp roots and assuming the participants had knowledge they did not. Thus, I made an ass of me. That did not build the confidence I was aiming to build.

At this point I have to, once again, thank the valiant participants in The Assignment. Thanks for persevering even after we got a few things backwards and upside-down. I promise to make it up to you in spades.

I have begun work on an instructional video course to finally make notans understandable and have you see their use in day-to-day picture making. As I got into it, it suddenly struck me why you weren’t getting it and could not see the value in this technique. Sadly, I had made an ass of u. I apologize.

That drove me to develop a new teaching method from the ground up. I saw what the problem wss…not everything can be defined in simple black and white shapes. By the addition of a simple middle tone…just one additional tone, the whole thing becomes understandable. So it’s been work, test, work some more, test some more and on and on but, I think I have taken the shroud off and made this very powerful tool an understandable technique.

Enough cups of tea and one thing led to another and before I knew it, I had to expand from notan, to value study, to working sketch to color comp. This is a complete course. Hey, when I apologise I don’t just bring flowers and candy!

This, then, is leading me into the bigger direction…a course teaching the core competencies. As Tim Currie’s character in Rocky Horror Picture Show says…”In just seven days, I can make you a man,” and in just six months I can teach you how to draw anything you can see, and in just a few more months…how to paint it.

So that, m’dears, is what I have in store for you and the unwashed masses (as well as those who do scrub behind their ears). Wouldn’t you feel good with the mysteries unraveled?

I thought so.

Stay tuned. Coming soon to a monitor near you.

P.S. any feedback or suggestions will be gratefully…and I mean with full gratitude…appreciated.

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