Art Lessons

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This section of the gallery is in its infancy. Although most of the material for these lessons are complete, they were designed for classroom and private instruction. Written dialogue and explanatory note must be prepared for each segment of all lessons. Please be patient and bear with me as I develop this course.

If you were taking this course in the school I established, you would be studying each lesson consecutively. You would also be paying $100 dollars per month whether you attended a class or missed it. Here, in the school of the web, you have the freedom to choose which lesson you want to take, and the fees have been "waved." However, until all lessons have been complete, you will have to confine your choices to those I have finished.

In time the lesson you most desire to study will (should) be available. In the meantime, whatever your field of interest, it is advisable that you allow yourself to become firmly acquainted with all other aspects of art relating to that field.



Introduction to the Introduction

Before I begin this introduction I want to learn a little about you. And as I learn about you, you will very likely learn something about yourself as well. This knowledge may make you feel good about yourself and anxious to proceed; or it may cause you to become discouraged and quit the idea of being an artist altogether. But whatever may be the outcome of this query, it is best you know ahead of time what your ambitions and your roadblocks to success are.

And always keep in mind: whatever you read here (or anywhere else as far as that goes), is nothing but one person's opinion. The fact that you read it here means nothing. Nor does it matter if information or advise comes from the most educated and respected person in their field - it is just one opinion, and not the most important opinion by any means.

There is only one opinion that matters. There is only one opinion that is going to push you on to success, or sidetrack you into discouragement.

That opinion, of course, is your own.

If you agree with someone, and it causes you grief, it is not the words that were said to you that caused you your problem; it was the words you said to yourself that is at fault.

And the words you say to yourself can be changed. But the words others say cannot be changed. But they can be proven wrong!

Consider Edison and his light bulb, or the Wright Brothers and their airoplane, and the countless others who refused to listen to the "experts" who tried to stop them from their mission.

So that is test #1. Did you pass it? Or did you even understand what the test I presented consisted of?

The question I posed to you is: are you one who is easily discouraged by others and by failure? Or are you one who looks toward his or her own goal, seeing failures and criticisms as merely stepping stones to success?

Test #2. Take a close look at your book case. Count the number of art books you have purchased with the intent of learning art. Include in this count the books you no longer have, but had at one time acquired. Also include those books you have checked out of the library or that you have procured in some other way.

Now, of those books, how many of them have you studied and followed their instruction? How many of those books do you consider as inadequate or out 'n out failures because they were unable to teach you how to draw or paint?

There are two types of people, with a vast array of others dwelling in the grey zone between the two extremes. The first of these people are those who (we're considering art here, but it could be any subject) take up their pencil and follow the instructions given them to the letter. These people make an exerted effort to glean every bit of knowledge the teacher (or book) has presented to them. Then, after they have learned all they can from that book or teacher, they move on to another, again gleaning every particle of information possible.

The chances are strong that you are not one of these just described. If you were one of these you would not be looking on the web for some cheap, simple way to ease into the field of art.

Take heart. I'm not one of these people either. Yet I've learned to draw. The person I just described is one of the very few go-getters who charge to the front of the pack and stay there. But unless you are trying to become a first-rate artist making the big bucks, the front of the pack is not a very comfortable place to be.

The second type of person is one who is ever seeking the "magic pill" that will give them what they want without their having to do anything for it. They search for a diet that will allow them to eat everything they want and still look like Audrey Hepburn. (I'm showing my age, but I think even younger people are familiar with Audrey.) This person also looks for the exercise machine that will tone their body while they rest comfortably on the sofa eating potato chips and drinking sodas.

This person also has a case full of books on the subject they most desire to learn, and all those books have proven themselves to be "failures" because they didn't teach that person to be what they wanted to become.

Have you recognized yourself in either one of the afore mentioned groups? Or perhaps you lie somewhere in between, closer to one end in some subjects, and closer to the other end in other subjects?

Let me tell you about me.

I have a ton of books, on a multitude of subjects. None of these many books has taught me much at all. This fact means little, because neither did any of my teachers at school teach me anything. They may have been great teachers, just as these books may be great instructional books, but they didn't teach me anything.

Why didn't any of these teachers and books teach me anything? Because of only one thing that was lacking.

I didn't study.

All my books are nothing but dust collectors if they are not read and studied. I could spend a fortune for lessons and schooling, but if I don't study what I am taught, I am just throwing money down the drain.

Good study of a poorly executed book or class, is far more productive than poor study of a great class or book.

So, having bent your ear these past few minutes, what is it I am wanting to tell you?

Just this.

If you are one of those people who delve into their studies in order to learn all they can (or anywhere near being such a person) there is a good chance I will be able to teach you a thing or two.

Of course what you learn here is not something you could not just as well have learned elsewhere, and possibly even better so, but you will learn something.

However, if you are one of those people who has a collection of "failed" books, you will find that I am just as much a failure as those books are.

I don't have the "magic pill." All I have is a lot of suggestions and advise you will not want to hear. From this web site you will be instructed to: "Work! Work! Work!" And you will be told to "Practice! Practice! Practice!"

If you practice your art (or anything else) you will learn; and you will learn quickly. If you do not practice, then you will not learn, and you will just be wasting you time and energy reading what I have written here.

A story:

Once upon a time, in one of my art classes (where I taught), one of my students was having a problem with the shoulder muscles on his drawing. He had spent over two hours working on that drawing, and needed help.

I never draw on a student's paper. I want the work to be totally their own. Instead I drew a sketch alongside his drawing, and on my sketch I pointed out what he was doing wrong.

What took the student over two hours took me no longer than a minute and a half. This, as could be expected, frustrated the student. "It's easy for you," he said.

"Don't rob me of my efforts," I replied. "Where you might draw one or two drawing a week, I draw between 50 and a 100. It's practice that makes it easy, not any gift."

And this is what I say to you. If you want to piddle along making a sketch or a drawing now and again, there is nothing wrong with that. It's your time and your intent. But if you want to learn 10 or a 100 times faster, then do 10 to 100 times more drawing (or whatever) then what you are now doing.

Now for the:


I have found that most people are like myself: once we have taken a step forward, whether it be a fair step or a foul, we do not retrace our steps or reappraise them. Therefore, instead of learning from our mistakes so we may improve our future steps and direction, we make excuses for and justify our past errors and our present position.

To us, the artist, that means what we failed to learn of the basic skills, or we learned improperly or incompletely, will remain improper and incomplete for the rest of our life.

An artist without the basic skill of art is not an artist, any more than a person splashing in a pool who has not learned to swim is a swimmer.

When I set out to learn to draw and paint, at the age of 40, I discovered there was a great deal to learn that I was unwilling to apply myself to. So, like so many others of the older generation, I set out to learn some shortcuts that would enable me to produce a finished product I could show off, and maybe even sell. I found several such devices, and utilized a few. And as might be expected, some of the pictures I drew and painted turned out quite nicely.

I was an artist. I was even turning a few heads with my art. I was even selling a few.

But I was not an artist. and I knew I wasn't an artist, regardless of the number of people who confirmed that I was an artist.

When I was young color photography was unknown, or at least very expensive and rare. But color was something most people wanted. To compensate for the lack of a color camera, artists were found to add color to the photographs. Many of these photos so enhanced were almost laughable to behold. But there were others that were very well done.

But regardless of the quality of work performed on the photo, is was still just a retouched photo: it was not art.

While I, as an "artist" was able to produce some pretty fair pieces of art, they were in actuality just copies of something that already existed. Even if it was a portrait of someone sitting before me, I felt as if was doing nothing more than capturing what nature had produced -- I was not "creating."

Most people would be thrilled to have the ability to capture nature with any skill at all, and could care less that it was merely a copy. To be freed the constrains of tracing paper, gridded canvas and photos, and rear image projectors would make them feel like the real artist indeed.

And there is nothing wrong with copying. Most, if not all, the great masters copied. And I even now copy occasionally. I like to work at capturing an image or a technique an artist or photographer has done admirably. There's nothing wrong with copying. Nothing whatever.

Being bound to copying, I found, was another matter all together. When I had to have something someone else created in front of me before I could draw, I felt as if I was cheating. But once I was free from that restriction, I felt like an artist, a creator, even though I was not truly creating the piece I was currently duplicating.

How did I free myself from the constraints of copying?

It was figures I was most interested in drawing. Figures and faces. Unlike a tree, or even a dog or a cat, figures must be drawn quite accurately to be counted art. And how do you learn to draw figures without looking at figures?

Oddly enough, it was comic books that provided the answer to my dilemma. I noticed that many comic books were very well drawn, and the figures were exceptionally accurate. I wondered how these artists got people to pose in such odd positions in order that the pose be captured. The idea that someone could draw so accurately from their head, their imagination, was beyond me.

So I investigated. And I drew. For the next two years I did little else but draw and trace as many of the pictures as I could; mostly comics. During that two years I drew over 10,000 drawings and sketches -- most I threw away since they were merely practice and exploration pieces.

And I learned to draw. Not only draw, but to create. I had learned to draw from the inside-out. I not only could draw the figures, but I knew them. I could see through the flesh and knew right where the bones and the muscles were, and what they were doing.

I could create. And I could create a person, or an animal in just about any and every position.

I had become an "artist" in my own mind.

Certain people watched my growth, and wanted me to give a seminar on art. I hadn't considered such a thing as I was hardly confident enough to just draw on my own.

But I gave the seminar -- 8 hours to a packed house. All I had to do was show up with my pencil and paper (everything else, including the advertising and the easels, etc was provided), talk about something I enjoyed, and walk away with $300.

There were several in the seminar who wanted me to teach a class. I had nothing whatever to present, but I accepted the challenge. A month later I had the beginnings of a class. Then each week thereafter I would work frantically learning the subject of the next week's lesson. I would read and study every book I could lay my hands on, and make around 70-100 drawings that week. By the time I presented the class, one would think I had known the subject all my life I was so well rehearsed

For two years I taught the class, until I had to abandon it to take care of my ailing family. And surprisingly enough, four of my original students were still with me at the end of that two years.

My intent was to teach a class for older people, already established in the field of art who, as I, had missed the basics and felt incomplete as an artist. However, I found that there were hardly any such people who cared enough about their art or their self-image to take such a remedial class. They were content to produce, and to be acclaimed an artist, that was enough.

At the same time I found several of the younger set who wished to learn art, and were not afraid of the basics. Most of these were young housewives, college students, and high school students. However, there were those parents who were desirous to appease their children and were looking for a babysitting situation. In order to eliminate this possibility, I restricted the age to adults, and charged what I considered an exorbitant fee, which I discounted for older people and for serious students, as well as my faithful "advanced" students.

I no longer teach, being retired, but I do love to make available what I know. And I also enjoy showing off my work. This Gallery affords me the opportunity to do both. And I hope that somewhere out there someone will be able to learn a few things and grow in their skills because of what they have read here.

As a concluding remark, for those of you who are serious about your work and want to press your ability to the maximum; I would s.t.r.o.n.g.l.y! recommend you copy the "Considerations" page and study them faithfully. You will only get out of these lessons, or any other endeavor you undertake, what you put into it.


Contact and Priorities

First things first.
Tumbleweed was established in order that I might publish my short stories and Bible studies. Recently I acquired more web space and decided to also publish my art and these art lessons.

Tumbleweed Gallery is not a store, nor is it an art school. I am merely posting what I have so that those interested in art might perchance learn from them.

I do not accept e-mail. Nor will I respond to e-mail. However, this said, if you feel you have a question or a comment that will benefit other artists and students, feel free to write me. I will not reply, but if I feel what you have written warrants it, I will post your letter on the Tumbleweed Question & Answer page (click here).

Tumbleweed is non-profit, non-political, non-orthodox,
and almost non-existent.


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