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Thread: Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxine Schacker View Post
    When all of this was beginning (in the 1980's), I drew two days a week with a group that met in John Angel's studio/school. What horrified me was that every drawing on the walls looked exactly alike. There was no way to tell one artist from another.

    The point is, yes, to learn the language but the language is not ONE individual's solutions. We are now producing a bunch of B clones. If you learn the method and follow everything exactly, you'll end up with a skillful product.
    A Renaissance artist learned to perceive, through all possible senses, and he had a thorough command of his materials and techniques which allowed them to 'replicate life' in paint, marble or whatever. He was an artist, scientist, artisan, craftsman combined in one 'uomo universale'.

    Through the centuries, the ideal of being a universal human being was watered down to 'being like [insert your favorite Renaissance artist here]', and the original emphasis on perceiving and researching became more and more an emphasis on copying. An example of this is the Bargue course, which not just teaches the principles of drawing, but also teaches 'le grand gout', that is, the style of Renaissance artists.

    The emphasis on copying was strongly countered by the movement towards 'doing your own thing', and I feel art education is still suffering from it. The majority of art schools teach creativity, originality, expressiveness, skipping the fundamentals of perception, research and craftsmanship, delivering young people who lack the words to express their own originality.

    Michelangelo was, creative, original and expressive in his days, and it would be interesting to see his works if he would live today. And I don't think he would just do another 'David'...

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  3. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxine Schacker View Post
    I would agree that he was skilled and that he found the means to express his aesthetic vision. I'm curious about what you feel painting is about. I get the feeling that in an overreaction to the decline in western art, we are going too far in the opposite direction.
    When all of this was beginning (in the 1980's), I drew two days a week with a group that met in John Angel's studio/school. What horrified me was that every drawing on the walls looked exactly alike. There was no way to tell one artist from another.

    The point is, yes, to learn the language but the language is not ONE individual's solutions. We are now producing a bunch of B clones. If you learn the method and follow everything exactly, you'll end up with a skillful product.

    And who said this is classical? It's NOT the way Michelangelo worked. It's not the way Titian worked. It's interesting that all of these artists had a profound grasp of visual language, but each person's work is individual. That's what makes it great. They are able to share their experience of the world. That's what makes great paintings different than photographs.

    So much of one's journey is the search for the right process, methods and materials to express what one sees and feels about the world.

    The reason I get so excited about some of Ramon's work is that some of the paintings have absolute integrity. You know that what you are seeing is free of ego, pretension, or an attempt to make a beautiful painting. He's LOOKING, feeling and recording to the best of his ability, and what comes through is very moving. Watch out that you don't remove "the very heart of the poem of life."
    I don't feel that painting(or art) is about, or has to be about anything specific. We all have different taste and arguing about what is best seems to be a waste of time.
    But there is a lot of technical stuff that a lot of people today crave.

    I believe that the single most important thing is to establish a proper system of fine art education, where you can learn all academical skills and exactly how to create an academical "masterwork".
    And I do believe that the academical masters of the 19th century should be our rolemodels, as they had 500 years of accumulated knowledge.

    But TECHNICAL rolemodels. I don't think that art education should have anything to do with "taste".

    But first we need to understand the system that created Bouguereau and his contemporaries, as well as the systems of all past masters back to the renaissance(or even further).

    And then we would probably have to reclaim the state sponsored art academies(yes this is a future fantasy), and have some sort of introductory classes preparing people before entering those academies. And of course an admission exam.

    Otherwise this situation of going to many different schools to learn it all will continue.

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    I agree to a certain extent with hummel1dane about the need for proper fine art education. However, it shouldnt be restricted to the french academy. Who is to say that is the best way of educating and preparing artist. The nature of art is that it is diverse and limitless, and what sort of education we should go through should be determined by what we gravitate towards. Hence, a variety of different techniques should be passed on, and of cos accepted by different people as they want. Not to say a school must teach different techniques. Thats the reason why different atelier exist and why people choose this school over another. Let the individual choose what path they want and not criticise other system of teachings just because they are not to your taste.

    When all of this was beginning (in the 1980's), I drew two days a week with a group that met in John Angel's studio/school. What horrified me was that every drawing on the walls looked exactly alike. There was no way to tell one artist from another.
    I really doubt it is the problem of the system that produces such a situation. It is the fact and responsibility of the artists themselves to seek out their own voice.

    Personally, I am in awe of both the gestural style of sargent and tight finish of bourgereau. I feel I can learn from both and it will serve me well to master both techniques. So i hope there is a revivial of all those great system so we can learn from all of them

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  7. #64
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    I hadn't checked this in a long time, and I have a few brief remarks to make (going out of town soon!)

    Personally, I like Bouguereau's work, when I first saw "Homer and his guide" I was floored. I've seen his work in person as well and it's inspiring to see the simplicity of means with which he achieves his effects. I think the great esteem in which he is held today is an interesting phenomenon. In my opinion, this is largely due to the efforts of say, Fred Ross (Chairman of ARC), fort better of for worse.

    We live in a very different age than old Boug, and I think our times are characterized by greater cynicism, and a lack of trust for the ideal, the desire for some kind of alternate reality. One of the things that is continually surprising to me is the condemnation of anything seeking to express tender feelings as saccharine or overly sentimental. Personally, I have an affinity for the dreamers and the romantics, and think that such feelings can be genuine.

    I think Bouguereau's work is as individual as anyone's, I could tell it apart from a mile away. I also see no distinction between an illustrator and a painter, to me there are good painters and bad ones, that is all.

    Back to the question of education, I think knowledge leads to empowerment, and having a superlative executive ability is definitely a virtue. I think we are far far behind our predecessors from the 19th century French Academy, and the reasons why we look to them are varied

    a) They are closer to our time and their work/ political philosophies are closer to home
    b) There is abundant literature regarding their methods, etc, more so than for any other period
    c) I don't think any other school has produced so many technically competent painters. ever.

    However, I don't think that the claims of 500 years of accumulated knowledge are necessarily true in any significant way. They were just as in dark as we are about how Rembrandt, or Titian, or Velazquez worked.

    One of the things that worked well since the time of David, is for art students to choose a role model from a master of the past. One with whom the student has a temperamental affinity, regardless of subject matter. I personally identify strongly with people like Ribera, Carlos de Haes and Dean Cornwell. Diffeerent people should follow different masters to gain their technical equipment, even if the subject matter ends up being totally different. Again, I love Ribera, but I have no desire to paint saints or anything to do with religion.

    Lastly, I think the role of schools is to turn out painters, not artists. It is the responsibility of the individual to make the leap that distinguishes the artist from the mere craftsman.

    Mydrako
    Let the individual choose what path they want and not criticise other system of teachings just because they are not to your taste.
    I largely agree with your statements, except the second half of this one. Of course individuals are going to choose whatever path they want, that is not only natural, it is imperative for the healthy development of art. That being said, anything, absolutely anything (be it an religion, a way of life, a system of morality, an art education system) that is worthy of consideration has to be able to prove its validity and withstand rigorous criticism. If it can't, then maybe there wasn't much there to begin with. The moment we stop criticizing, we stop thinking, and we automatically stop making progress.

    Criticism of this sort is part of the search for truth, it may not be found, but free inquiry can lead to great insight. Moreover, there is a difference between what is and what ought to be. I think one reason why a lot of atelier trained artists produce similar work (despite claims of objective observation) is that they fail to question and criticize what they learn...the ones that stand out always question things.

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  9. #65
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    Mydrako,

    Today the only surviving academical system seems to be the russian. The french system is dead(but yes we have books)
    The italian system produced Annigoni(before it died)

    Annigoni was active in the 20th century. He taught a number of people, but as far as I know none of his students has ever reached his understanding of form.

    Some of his students are running classical schools today. But I think all of them are based on the optical approach.

    A few paintings by Annigoni




    I think the english system suffered an ill death as well.

    When I mention Bouguereau it is because of his technical mastery - I don't think the world today can produce another Bouguereau because we lack a purely academical system in the same standard.
    The same goes for all the other old masters, French or English, Italian, American, or whatever.

    "However, I don't think that the claims of 500 years of accumulated knowledge are necessarily true in any significant way. They were just as in dark as we are about how Rembrandt, or Titian, or Velazquez worked."
    This is up for debate -
    I strongly believe their knowledge to be better than ours, especially about the renaissance.
    If you spend 4-5 years copying renaissance artists in Italy like all the winners of the grand prix de Rome, your knowledge will increase considerebly. And of course the better your are at technique the easier it will be to get to understand past masters working habits, even if they weren't taught to you directly.
    And of course, the students always add to their teachers teachings(hopefully without discarding)
    But I get your point - there were differences in technique between different lineages. But each lineage did contain 500 years of accumulated knowledge.
    We live in a very different age than old Boug, and I think our times are characterized by greater cynicism, and a lack of trust for the ideal, the desire for some kind of alternate reality.
    Mm, I would say that about the 20th century and the older generations of today.
    The younger generations of today are much more capable of loving an artist such as Bouguereau, or any similar artist. Just think of all the fantasy style drawings that young people produce.

    About idealism - I would say we are entereing an age of idealism, perhaps not just the "beauty" kind of idealism, but a general idealism of the archetypical. There is an idealism of the grotesque as well as the beautiful.
    I'm refering to all the fantasy games, both live and on computer, as well as Harry Potter and all that...

    Now that's a generation who'd put a Bouguereau or a Waterhouse up on their wall and wouldn't understand the point of a Pollock or a Rothko no matter how hard they tried.

    In architecture the change is around the corner as well - if interested take a look at this book
    "The return of sacred architecture : The golden ratio and the end of modernism"
    http://www.amazon.com/Return-Sacred-...214525&sr=8-15

    About realism vs the ideal,
    many people I talk with at Angels aren't that crazy about realism. I think they would prefer to eventually produce art with more imagination and expression.

    --

    Btw I've become a bit curious about LAAFA(Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art) they seem to give classes of both kind,
    sculptural drawing/painting and optical drawing/painting.

    Last edited by hummel1dane; June 28th, 2009 at 06:47 PM.
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    Ramon, there is a great book out on Velasquez and his technique. We now know MUCH more than we did when I was young. There are scientific means to actually analyze process, and I've learned a lot from these books.

    Second, there has been a dichotomy in painting for generations. Different means were needed to paint an ideal world of ideal forms than was necessary for art that tried to capture a sense of everyday life. The Dutch were interested in everyday life in the 17th century, long before Bouguereau.

    The portraits shown above are very skilled, but they are dead. Compare them to the Velasquez painting of his servant, to the great Vermeer portraits, to any of the later Rembrandt portraits.

    Technique is the handmaiden of expression. Good art is about much more than technical excellence. It demands real seeing, real caring, real vision. If w simply follow the same formula everytime, knowing we will get an accurate product, we are entirely mechanical.

    I agree about the cynicism of our times. Without feeling there is no life, and there is a difference between sentimentality and sentiment. It's dangerous to humanity to devalue tenderness, affection- all the things that make life worthwhile and motivate us to care and accept responsibility for the world we are creating. Bougereau's methods, adopted as the bible, represents the easiest, most superficial kind of feeling and is perfect for these times. There4's a reason why everyone;s work looks the same. Students very stroke marks are identical.

    Most important, B found his vision and the means to express HIS vision. I would not doubt that he made real choices and had integrity about his idea of what was important to him.

    Yes, we need to learn the language. Yes, we need to understand the connection between process and outcome. Yes, we must understand our choices and learn from the masters by discussing their processes, but the goal is not to be a clone of nay single master. The goal, on ce wwe understand b asics, is to find our own path.

    A good education should explain the processes and the differences and give you basic visual skills and knowledge.

    All the great artists I can think of create real and deep experiences, and are using ALL of their senses (Titian just popped into my mind).

    After viewing B's work I feel as if I ate too much cotton candy. My visual memory of many great paintings has gotten me through bad nights. B's work is very pretty but it lacks depth. If that were all that art is about, I wouldn't be so passionate about art.

    Last edited by Maxine Schacker; June 29th, 2009 at 06:42 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxine Schacker View Post

    Bougereau's methods, adopted as the bible, represents the easiest, most superficial kind of feeling and is perfect for these times. There4's a reason why everyone;s work looks the same. Students very stroke marks are identical.

    A good education should explain the processes and the differences and give you basic visual skills and knowledge.

    All the great artists I can think of create real and deep experiences, and are using ALL of their senses (Titian just popped into my mind).

    After viewing B's work I feel as if I ate too much cotton candy. My visual memory of many great paintings has gotten me through bad nights. B's work is very pretty but it lacks depth. If that were all that art is about, I wouldn't be so passionate about art.
    Yes I agree with almost all. I wouldn't call love for beauty superficial though. Nor would I say that the feelings of happiness or positiveness or youth or whatever is expressed in Bouguereaus paintings is in any way easy. But I agree that he didn't focus on all of human emotions, and I agree that if Bouguereau was all we had, then there would be something missing in art.

    Personally I don't see a need of having individual stroke marks in painting - people can use the same technique and still come up with individuality, through different compositions, expressions, colors, figures, whatever. The reason why most works look the same today is that they are mainly copying shadow shapes, sometimes even from photos.
    One technique if have seen in use is to take different photographs of people, cut them out around their siloute, put them next to each other to try different compositions(so it looks like they are part of the same group), and then just glue them together on a photographed background - and then copy all that in paint.

    this results in bad composition, bad perspective, bad expression(no interconnection of people)

    I don't think that anybody today can call themself a Bouguereau clone - that would be a total disgrace to Bouguereau as he worked very differently(much more sculptural and he did amazing compositions and good interconnections.)

    About the ideal education - I agree with you if you are talking about basic art education. Yes it should be all round.

    But in a classical academy, I think we need more indoctrination.

    Last edited by hummel1dane; June 29th, 2009 at 08:17 AM.
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    panchosimpson Totally agree with u on the criticism part. I think I put myself across in a wrong way. I was trying say we should not put down and ignore other system just because they are not to your taste. I agree we should learn from many perspective and integrate whatever you have learn into what you call ur own style. What is style but a personal choice of techniques and inclinations from your various influences, consciously or subconsciously.

    hummel1dane Those are lovely painting!! I have seen some of his works in some painting books but I don't know much about him. The russian academy seems to be the only one left. But their website being only in russian kinda shroud them in a veil of mystery. I would love to hear mroe about their system from those who have went there before. I heard some of the china artist also studied in the same way during the turn of the century when russia still have a lot of influence on Chinese art. Does any one have knowledge of them?

    Btw, u might want to check out the Central Academy of art in New York too. I seen their school blog and they seem to have a high emphasis on structure and optical studies too. The school is started by Jacob Collins I believe who studied with Ted Seth Jacobs before.

    Maybe you should add those schools that was brought up to the initial list of school in your first post. Isnt that the purpose of this thread?

    Maxine Schacker I would love to know the title of the book.

    I agree with some of your points on Bourgereau ( i really hate spelling his name grr). However, I am rather confused when you say his work lack depth. What do u mean by depth? Do u mean in atmospheric effect or do u mean it lacks meaning?

    I feel some of his works is really effective in bringing across the message (not that it might be the message he want to convey but the one i interpret), especially those works that portray the innocence of girls playing among the fields. The direct and masterful portrayal of beauty and innocence in my opinion is no less effective than for example paintings by Sargents.

    ----
    What is your take on Reilly's method of drawing? Would you think of it as a more structural or more gestural? I am rather saddened that his teachings on picture making has been lost through the years. What about Howard Pyle who have influenced so many other artist?

    -JS Neo

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    Updated!

    Thanks man, just needed a kick in the ass! There might be some schools that I haven't included, because I don't know were to put them on the list!
    Oh yes, guess I can upload a few more Annigoni.
    He taught painting to Michael John Angel(who is head of Angel Academy)

    He never abandoned his classical style, he had a bit of a temper, and he liked to drink - A LOT!

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    Prudhon

    Found some Prudhon drawings that are worth posting... I hope they weren't posted earlier...

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    Found a few more Prudhons

    I found a few more Prudhons.... And check out this place for a tutorial about his technique and uses of materials.

    http://www.art.net/Studios/visual/Re...nPrudon1a.html

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    Nice !!!.. Prudhons is one amazing draftsman... u guys seems to be introducnig me to more and more amazing artist from that period... the late 19 century is certainly a time loaded with so many amazing artists....

    Btw, think u missed some of my questions in my longwinded posts?
    What u guys think of Reilly and howard pyle.. They are not exactly fine artists but they sure influenced alot of people. One prime example of their legacy is Jeff watts who run the Watts Atelier.

    -JS Neo

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    Quote Originally Posted by hummel1dane View Post
    And I found the coolest gesture tutorial as well :

    http://www.art.net/Studios/visual/Re...eDrawing1.html
    Those are some nice Prudhons, but I was never sure what his appeal was from a technique standpoint.

    For gestures, I always end up going back to Vilppu, he always manages to "cheat" so much life, motion and emotion into them :
    http://www.vilppustudio.com/redesign/gallery/quick.htm

    Last edited by forsaken dreams; March 17th, 2010 at 10:52 PM.
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    I forgot to add Purd'hon sure had some nice models to work with though!

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    I don't really know them(I'm European) - just looking at Howard now, I like some of his compositions, and as a painter I think he was quite ok.
    According to what I've just found on the internet, he was the author of some very well known books yes? About King Arthur, and about Robin Hood?

    All right, found some stuff about FRANK REILLY's school of art,
    it looks a bit construction oriented in my eyes, though it doesn't seem as thorough as the russian system. He did use a fixed light source for doing values.

    I will definetely order his book!

    check out
    http://www.dhfa.net/Artiststatement2.html

    Last edited by hummel1dane; June 30th, 2009 at 02:24 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by forsaken dreams View Post
    Those are some nice Prudhons, but I was never sure what his appeal was from a technique standpoint. I never took the Prudhon technique class with Rebecca, but I couldn't find a compelling reason to learn the parallel hatching method a la Prudhon.

    For gestures, I always end up going back to Vilppu, he always manages to "cheat" so much life, motion and emotion into them :
    http://www.vilppustudio.com/redesign/gallery/quick.htm
    I've added Rebecca's classes to the list of schools that teach construction - would you agree? Yes I think Vilppu is the best when it comes to gesture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hummel1dane View Post
    I've added Rebecca's classes to the list of schools that teach construction - would you agree? Yes I think Vilppu is the best when it comes to gesture.
    Yes I think Rebecca's method probably falls under construction. Her approach to construction isn't as elegant or solid as Vilppu's but is construction none-the-less.

    Does the length of a pose, say 4-8+ hours versus less than 1 hour poses influence the approach of construction vs visual diagramming? It seems to me that construction is better suited for shorter poses where poses may have to be cheated or recalled from memory, while the visual approach is better suited for accurately reproducing long poses with much time spent modeling the form.

    Last edited by forsaken dreams; March 17th, 2010 at 10:51 PM.
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    She doesn't teach? Mm, an outdated webpage perhaps. I'll keep it in the list anyways, then people can contact her if interested.

    The shorter the pose, the faster you have to draw, and naturally your result will be less like the model.
    But you can still keep rigidly to constructing when you have more time.
    With more time, you can still keep your approach entirely planar, infact you'll have more time to decide how to construct the planes and to check your perspective alignment and to get all the anatomy correct - if you are good enough, you can even start to construct the tendons and vains.

    And you can always spend more time on the shading - even with constructed planes and constructed light(constructed light = light from imagination) you can shade for hours, or days!

    The reason the renaissance artists didn't do a smooth shade when drawing the figure was because they didn't have to. Only in the finished charcoal cartoon would they spend time on shading. (The cartoon was the last step before they began the painting)

    I have only seen Vilppu do fast shades. The longer time you spend on the shade, the more 3d you can make it look(more fading values) and he doesn't spend much time with the perspective, thus the strength of the construction is weakened.

    If you want to master shading I really suggest you do the Bargues at one of the ateliers. Then you'd also see the difference between peoples ability to shade.

    I think the russians do more than 20 hour studies, and they always start with a strong construction. But they have several system - I only know their basic system(light source from imagination), which is similar to Vilppu's system, but in that system they have longer poses than Vilppu 1-20 hours - but no gesture system, you just decide for yourself where you want the big elements placed(they might disagree with your decision though.)
    If you lack gesture, they might tell you to go sketching in the streets!

    They think more in terms of big 3d blocks moving around in 3 dimensions, than expressive gesture lines.

    But the linear quality of overlappings they do very well.

    I know Vilppu thinks gesture is most important - the russians would say construction(as well as composition).

    When I get the time I'll try to contact Ashland academy of art and hear about their system of figure drawing. I know they use spotlight.
    Then I can inquire about the length of poses etc.
    And when I return to Florence in September I'll go visit the russian school in that city.

    Last edited by hummel1dane; July 1st, 2009 at 07:58 AM.
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    Annigoni and Prudhon are not examples of artists following John Angel's (Bourgereau's?) methods! John Angel studied fresco painting with Annigoni. When he came to Toronto he painted in acrylic and didn't begin to use oil until the late 70's or early '80's (time is becoming a blur).

    By the way, since Bourgereau didn't paint from life, sight sizing couldn't have been what he was doing.

    I am not against trying true classical methods. I think students need exposure to a range of approaches and need to understand how process affects outcome. They need to understand the expressive potential of oil. Surface, medium, brush type, texture, thick and thin, scraping. A potential that is beyond the verbal.

    I adore Vermeer and he, living at the same time as Rembrandt but being a different personality with different tastes, is a totally different and individual painter who made very different choices. Both are brilliant.

    I'm off to the studio and have no more time! This is a very interesting and thought provoking thread.

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    Vilppu is probably emphasizing more on gesture because he teaches in the animation industry where gesture, line of action, silhouette is more important than the 3d volume. Animation use alot of overlapping and other tricks to suggest form. This is my guess...

    I have been seeking out many ways of drawing. Starting out with vilppu's teaching which really give me a good start. Trying out reilly method now. But old habits are hard to break. I keep seeing vilppu influences creeping in haa..

    I havent really found books on the russian construction method so any recommendation would be great.. From observation of some of the drawings, the only difference btw the russian and the french academy is that the russian shade more in terms of planes while the french academy goes more towards the egg form? However, nowadays everyone is teaching we must observe planes, and we must do gestures lines. Vilppu is one example. Kevin Chen is another guys who seems to comibine gesture and planes construction quite well. Glenn Orbik too? So i think the current teaching now in US is like a mixing of everything, or should i say, a distilling of all the past teaching? So the question now is, is it good to learn this combined method or go to the root and learn them separately?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxine Schacker View Post
    Annigoni and Prudhon are not examples of artists following John Angel's (Bourgereau's?) methods! John Angel studied fresco painting with Annigoni. When he came to Toronto he painted in acrylic and didn't begin to use oil until the late 70's or early '80's (time is becoming a blur).

    By the way, since Bourgereau didn't paint from life, sight sizing couldn't have been what he was doing.
    Thank you, I often wondered exactly what John Angel studied with Annigoni, as Annigoni has a very sculptural style that I can't recognize in John Angel's work.

    Bouguereau was very sculptural, extremely influenced by renaissance artists, Raphael in particular.
    He chose the raphael painting "Galatea" as his work of study in Rome(he had to go to Rome and do a full size copy of a renaissance painting with more than 3 figures after winning the Gran Prix de Rome)
    It is interesting to compare this painting to Bouguereaus later "Birth of Venus" - there are similarities yes?

    It is likewise possible,at least in his early days at the academy, that he supplemented his study of paint with the study of clay sculpting. Many french painters did that.

    Yes it is unthinkable that he should ever have used sight size. And in his figure studies he certainly didn't use shadowshape copying.
    I don't know about objects or foliage, but I like to think that they where constructed as well.

    I don't think any painter today has a technique similar to Bouguereau.

    About his popularity today - yes it is very much a result of Fred Ross work, but even so, if we disregard the change of taste in the 20th century, and only consider the popularity of Bouguereau in his own days, he certainly does deserve a place among the top painters in history.
    I mean, think of all his achievements, medals, honorable positions, what more could a french painter of that time attain?

    Btw what do you think of the norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum?

    Mydrako,

    I don't think the russians wrote down anything, and if they did - it's probably in russian!!! Yes today their system is most interesting.
    The school where I studied is really really good, but it is only drawing, and no value study.
    I can't say at the moment if it is good to mix different systems - I have only been one trimester at Angels and most of the time it felt like too much of a challenge(to draw differently/think differently).
    Copying 2d shadow shapes is like the opposite of constructing the figure. I would prefare to just have stayed in the russian system, but complicated financial reasons makes me continue at Angels. (It's a great school btw, just different) Well, I probably will get used to it.

    Doing smooth rendering of round forms takes a looooong time. Planar is much faster. Planar also gives a more strong result, in the sense that it is easier to grasp/comprehend/touch. But of course it lacks realism.
    One very good thing about working in planes is that you can easily see if the perspective is way off. And when you have found your planes you can always choose to round them.

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    What do you mean by "it lacks realism"? The Angel method seems to me to look flat and like a photograph.

    About Nerdrum: I have never seen his work in the flesh (so to speak), so it's hard to say, but on line his painting seems very compelling. What do you think?

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    At Angels they do have a system of rendering, it is more than just copying shadow shapes. I haven't got enough experience with their system yet to explain properly.

    What you are talking about is 3 dimensionalism - this is different from realism.
    If you work planar the result can be VERY 3 dimensional, but little realistic. You can easily see the underlying structure, how the artist has perceived the form, anatomy, gesture.
    And if you so choose, you can omid cast shadows, disregard specular highlights etc, and it will still look 3 dimensional.

    With the Angel system, the underlying structure isn't build up in the same way, it is aimed at copying the exact shapes of light, but with a smooth rendering wrapped around imagined cylinders and eggs(to increase 3d I guess). I think they also do reflected light at these imagined solids, but it is very dimmed down at the edges of the forms.
    Mm, I think Dorian can answer more about their system, I only have 2 months experience.

    The french masters of the past had a VERY strong underlying structure, but they dimmed down this structure, so that it looks more realistic(smoother, more values)
    I strongly believe that an artist such as Bouguereau could easily draw in the style of Raphael or Michelangelo if he so chose.

    This quality of structure is what is lacking at schools such as Angel, but they attain a more realistic result right away.

    About Odd Nerdrum, I have only seen some bad imgs online(bad quality), but they still look great! Just ordered his new book, 500 pages or so. I am very excited.
    What really interests me about Odd is that he takes the word "kitsch" and attempts to make it possitive by applying it to his own art.(after Edmard Munch he is norways most famous painter)
    And looking at his art it is as far from "kitsch" as anything could ever be. That is cool I think - will make it easier in the future for classical artists to break through the barrier of art criticism(if they can't through "kitsch" at you, what can they do?).

    If he excibits in Denmark(or west Sweden) I will go and see his stuff in real life.

    Last edited by hummel1dane; July 2nd, 2009 at 02:46 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hummel1dane View Post
    She doesn't teach? Mm, an outdated webpage perhaps. I'll keep it in the list anyways, then people can contact her if interested.
    Her page is: http://www.academicfigure.com/

    I took a look at your sketch thread and I think I better understand the planes approach to shading. My art education has been a la carte with no formal study, but I did study briefly with one Chinese instructor who taught bust/cast drawing very similar to the Russian approach. We used loose hatched pencil lines and a planar breakdown (planes facing away from the light source will be darker, etc) as opposed to the Bargue shadow shape approach.

    I think the longest pose that Vilppu instructs with is 6 hours. The most finished of his more recent work (within the past few decades) that I've seen has been white/black charcoal/pencil on toned paper. He generally works fairly small and definitely prefers quick sketches with washes over longer poses with a one source light setup. In his classes, no light setup is used except on longer poses and only in sessions studying light/shadow.

    Perspective I think is an integral part of construction when you break things down to simple cylinders and boxes. If you can't draw simple objects in perspective you are going to have trouble with construction. I've never thought perspective as being that complicated and it really is so basic an art skill, that is perhaps why Vilppu does not focus on teaching it much. Understanding and using perspective is part and parcel of drawing the shapes you are using to construct the figure in space.

    But students of Vilppu are primarily concerned with the animation industry and so the focus is usually composition, construction of the figure, and gesture. As a result, tone, modeling form, shadows, edges and all that jazz are not focused on. However, they are given equal weight in his books, it's just that many never get that far in terms of either interest or mastery of content.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxine Schacker
    The Angel method seems to me to look flat and like photograph.
    Why is that? the work looks very flat and a bit sterile to me as well. Is it the single spot lighting? Or the sharp focus and edges of every little thing? The lack of much color in the shadows, and the convincing reproduction of objects lit by a single light source in a studio setting add to the sterility for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by forsaken dreams View Post
    Her page is: http://www.academicfigure.com/

    I took a look at your sketch thread and I think I better understand the planes approach to shading. My art education has been a la carte with no formal study, but I did study briefly with one Chinese instructor who taught bust/cast drawing very similar to the Russian approach. We used loose hatched pencil lines and a planar breakdown (planes facing away from the light source will be darker, etc) as opposed to the Bargue shadow shape approach.

    I think the longest pose that Vilppu instructs with is 6 hours. The most finished of his more recent work (within the past few decades) that I've seen has been white/black charcoal/pencil on toned paper. He generally works fairly small and definitely prefers quick sketches with washes over longer poses with a one source light setup. In his classes, no light setup is used except on longer poses and only in sessions studying light/shadow.
    Who was that chinese?

    Doing a 15-20 hour study without a light setup has many advantages - you have time to get the proportions right, you can dig REALLY deep into the anatomical details, and you can do a nice 3 dimensional rendering.

    Oh yes, the size... The russians draw A3 or A2 - Vilppu is A4 or smaller right?
    At Angels I think max 30cm for the length of the figure in pencil is standard, then charcoal is a bit bigger.
    The 30cm figure is necessary because of the time consuming rendering(filling a dark smooth tone with graphite can take 3-5 hours alone)
    Then we use brushes(long haired and cut down), some also use stomps. We use 2B and HB (if time, 2H as well) I don't know about charcoal.

    I don't think the russians use stuff like stomps and brushes and they don't go harder than 4B in graphite(and they probably don't even like pencil, prefers redchalk, blackchalk or charcoal.)

    But that makes sense - if you use brushes or stomps you can work in harder pencils, because you'll get the dark tone by brushing - working the graphite into the paper = darker tone.

    Last edited by hummel1dane; July 2nd, 2009 at 01:42 PM.
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    Hmm u probably know this but this site seems to sell alot of russian drawing book published by chinese publishers.

    http://www.gallerynucleus.com/detail/6866?page=1

    Looks really interesting. They are kinda costly and i think u can find them at a low price in china. I will try to find the publisher and see if they sell it direct from china which will probably be at a much lower price.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Edit:
    Found that amazon china sell all these books at pretty good price.

    http://www.amazon.cn/mn/detailApp/47...did=zjbk295314

    The actual publisher is guangxi fine art publishing and their site is at
    http://www.gxfinearts.com

    If u guys have problem navigating the site, I can help with the chinese

    Last edited by JS Neo; July 3rd, 2009 at 12:44 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mydrako View Post
    Hmm u probably know this but this site seems to sell alot of russian drawing book published by chinese publishers.

    http://www.gallerynucleus.com/detail/6866?page=1

    Looks really interesting. They are kinda costly and i think u can find them at a low price in china. I will try to find the publisher and see if they sell it direct from china which will probably be at a much lower price.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Edit:
    Found that amazon china sell all these books at pretty good price.

    http://www.amazon.cn/mn/detailApp/47...did=zjbk295314

    The actual publisher is guangxi fine art publishing and their site is at
    http://www.gxfinearts.com

    If u guys have problem navigating the site, I can help with the chinese
    Thanks that would be very nice! When I return to Italy I would like to order them! I can't even read what the price is!!

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    Here are some painting by Vasily Perov. I think they are really strong in narrative, something i admire in some of the russian painters.

    Attached Images Attached Images          
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    Quote Originally Posted by hummel1dane View Post
    Who was that chinese?
    Not sure, he's not any of the famous guys that teach currently, but I believe he studied at a state run art academy in China. The primary method he teaches for studying and understanding form is with graphite, from 4B to 4H in 2 step increments, aided by a kneaded eraser. The hatched lines are very apparent and rough, and funny enough, look exactly like the book that Mydrako linked to: http://www.gallerynucleus.com/detail/6866?page=1

    In fact I had to actually copy this exact drawing too:
    http://www.gallerynucleus.com/item/i...e2_detail5.jpg


    Oh yes, the size... The russians draw A3 or A2 - Vilppu is A4 or smaller right?
    Hmm, I don't believe Vilppu has a specific size of paper he draws on, but yes A4 or smaller is pretty close. When demoing he'll work on large newsprint only because it's easy to see and probably cheap. But in general he carries around a sketchbook he makes himself, around A5 in size. The largest drawing of his I've seen was between A3 and A2 but it was framed and contained a composition of 2-3 figures. In general his drawings measure about 6cm-10cm in height on average I'd say. Most of the time he uses a fountain pen for his own work and applies tone via a mix of hatching and water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mydrako
    Hmm u probably know this but this site seems to sell alot of russian drawing book published by chinese publishers.

    http://www.gallerynucleus.com/detail/6866?page=1

    Looks really interesting. They are kinda costly and i think u can find them at a low price in china. I will try to find the publisher and see if they sell it direct from china which will probably be at a much lower price.
    wow, thanks for posting these! This actually is starting to answer my questions about the style of cast drawings I was taught back in the late 90's. I could never quite figure out why what I was taught as "cast drawings" was so different in style and technique for the "cast drawings/paintings" taught by the ateliers I've seen popping up lately. I thought maybe it was a variation of Bargue's stuff, but as I understand it now the technique and approach is quite different. It's interesting to find that the roots are actually Russian.

    The same technique (breaking down into planes and rendering with roughly layered hatching) was applied to everything from basic still life of cones and spheres to pots, pans, vegetables and casts. It is pretty interesting to see the same look taken to the figure drawings as my own figure drawing training has been a vastly different approach.

    Last edited by forsaken dreams; March 17th, 2010 at 10:55 PM.
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