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  1. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serpian View Post
    I've learned that the whole 'the old masters used the camera obscura' thing is a myth, or at least largely eccagerated.

    It is if you group Old Masters as a whole. But it's been widely accepted that Vermeer was one who did on occasion. To say that any use of it was a myth is the same as saying real artists' don't use photo reference.

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  3. #28
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    Yeah some, on occasion, but I've understood that there's this wide misconception that nearly all of them used it, all the time.

    Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not speaking from experience here, only what the internetz has told me...

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  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serpian View Post
    Yeah some, on occasion, but I've understood that there's this wide misconception that nearly all of them used it, all the time.

    Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not speaking from experience here, only what the internetz has told me...
    Yeah that misconception exists in the mind of David Hockney.

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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtMonkeyWorld Dave View Post
    I think it was Picasso who said that "Amatures Create, Professionals Copy"
    As Elwell has pointed out you have got the quote wrong. However, I rather like it as you have put it. For this reason:
    Whenever we witness something 'new', as we do in great paintings, however old they are, there is always a certain kind of awkwardness about them, or rather an ineloquence that is very difficult to put one's finger on - I guess it is that when we surprise ourselves we are in a similar state to the amature in that we are of neccessity on unfamiliar ground. Slickness is almost by definition, lack of surprise.
    As a professional, I am always trying to find the amature in me or, to put it much more accurately, and to paraphrase Isaac Newton (har har), trying to stand the amature on top of the professional's shoulders.

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  6. #31
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    Yeah some, on occasion, but I've understood that there's this wide misconception that nearly all of them used it, all the time.

    Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not speaking from experience here, only what the internetz has told me...
    One of the problems is that at certain points in history it would have actually been seen as heresy to use optical devices and could land you in big trouble with the church (like, torture and kill you sort of trouble), so if artists were using them, they had to be very secret about it.

    And besides that, who really cares how someone worked several hundred years ago? I hear that the old masters didn't use email to send in their finals either, but personally I just don't believe that.

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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavePalumbo View Post
    I hear that the old masters didn't use email to send in their finals either, but personally I just don't believe that.
    yeeeah. that's just a little too far fetched for me. I mean, c'mon. How'd they deliver it? In person? pft.


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  8. #33
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    Smile

    Well, I knew the quote was out of context, and as some of you have mentioned, misquoted too.Thats what I get for posting on the last 5 minutes of my lunch break. The spirit of the comment was intact in my head( if no where else lol ) Next time I will take the time to make sure I quote the statement correctly. I apologize for any ruffled feathers. : )

    Honestly though I am glad I got it wrong, because if I hadn't I never would have heard Chris's interpretation of the statement. I love that interpretation of the quote. And while all artist didn't use camera obscuras,many did use grid systems, and sketched from life. Alternate forms of copying but copying nevertheless. I guess what I am trying to say is like art, its a matter of perception for me. Some people will always see anything that isn't formed from pure imagination as copying and that is a perception that we have to get away from.

    Reference is a good thing! ( but only if you quote the reference right lol

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  9. #34
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    Hello, I'm new here. I'm so glad to have read this thread. I've recently experienced personal issues about ref material in my own work. The info. here has really expanded my thoughts on the topic.

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  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    Emily G, thanks for this thread! I'm constantly surprised at how many young artists seem to think that reference is some evil crutch that "real artists" don't need. The truth is not only is it ok, it's a damn good idea, and if you aren't using reference you are doing yourself a major disservice!
    Thats pretty much me

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  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtznCraphs View Post
    It is if you group Old Masters as a whole. But it's been widely accepted that Vermeer was one who did on occasion. To say that any use of it was a myth is the same as saying real artists' don't use photo reference.
    Widely accepted by people who have never used a camera obscura, I'll betcha. I've used one (a reproduction at a museum), and a modern overhead projector, and a photographic enlarger (as a tracing aid)...and light tables, pantographs, grids and pretty much every other device ever dreamed up with for working directly from reference. (In renderings of machinery they want accurate, they want fast and artsy is barely an afterthought).

    I've got to tell you, even with modern projection equipment using bright electrical light sources and good lenses, it's VERY difficult to draw from a projected image. If you turn up the room lights enough to see what you're doing, you can't see the projection. If you turn down the room lights to see the projection, you can't see what you're doing. And the MOMENT you make a mark, you are no longer projecting that information onto a white surface, but a dark one. You ever projected an image onto a dark surface? Oh, and then there's your hand shadow. And keystoning.

    Now imagine doing all this without electrical lights and dimmer switches and focusable lenses, but with candles and tents and pinholes and sunlight.

    I. Don't. Think. So.

    Drawings done from projected images have a distinct 'look' about them (until they're worked over by a decent draughtsman). A jerky, spikey, wavery, hesitant look...like the person couldn't quite see what he was doing. Because he couldn't. Does that sound like Vermeer to you?

    Vermeer's specular highlights are round, just like highlights seen through an unfocused lens, and that's what gave the original bright spark the idea that he worked with a camera obscura. You know what else makes round specular highlights? Paint that is looser and oilier than the stuff we're accustomed to. And that's clearly what Vermeer worked with.

    Ummm...sorry to come completely unstrung here, but every time I read that assertion it makes me The proper use of reference entirely aside, it's just not technically feasible pre-electricity. If you ever get a chance, try it. It's a cinch the 'experts' never have.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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  13. #37
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    Im glad this thread exists. Never has an art teacher told me to even bother looking at pictures for sources of references. It's so obvious now. I'm 18 (Soon to be 19) and have yet to be told by any of my art teachers about this stuff. Guess there are some things that going to college can't teach you about art.

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  14. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by AeonPhoenix View Post
    Never has an art teacher told me to even bother looking at pictures for sources of references .
    pld:


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  16. #39
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    Stoat,

    You are absolutely right about Vermeer's paint. If one uses pure white lead in linseed oil (no additional fillers) and your paint is oilier than what normally comes out of the store-bought tube, the combination of the oily paint and the wonderful natural ropiness of white lead results in very beautiful, and very easy to achieve, white dot highlights.

    I can achieve a tinier highlight with pure white lead in oil than I can with pure titanium white in oil. The secret is the ropey stringy quality of pure white lead. White lead is the best paint of all!

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