Friday, April 25, 2008

Discovery of the Atelier

So why doesn't anyone tell me these things...? I guess I'm doomed to discover 'em on my own.

What I thought I knew, I was wrong; what I thought was wrong, I knew. ...In other words. my "impulse" since teaching myself to draw, back a few years ago, in my 30's, was to very carefully learn to draw in a classical sense, whatever that means, I thought. I mean, I had no idea. I was just a nomad, a poorly-disciplined reader of philosophy and porn and vodka labels. But I was vaguely aware that learning to be an artist was something more than occasional sketches, or silly jobs making cartoons of tourists. And when I started making MONEY making cartoons of tourists, I was snobbish, thinking how lousy were the starving artists, who couldn't draw a face, yet had a degree in art, or who were unwilling to draw a face in a comic context, for mere financial gain. But I've come full circle, now. I desperately wish to be like the old masters, and I've discovered HOW, now. The old-fashioned way, through an ATELIER. I didn't know these still existed, but they do exist, and they're making a comeback. I've included with this post an entry from Wikipedia. Now, all I need do is FIND an atelier studio which is in a warm clime (so I can sleep in my boat) and which won't charge me much... Anybody got any ideas? ...Here's the Wikipedia post:

Atelier Method

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The Atelier Method is a method of fine art instruction modeled after the private art studio schools of 15th-19th century Europe. Taking its name from the French word for "artist's studio," the Atelier Method is a form of private instruction in which an artist, usually a professional painter, works closely with a small number of students to progressively train them. Atelier schools can be found around the world, particularly in North America and Western Europe.



[edit] Philosophy

Atelier programs teach a form of realism based upon careful observations of nature with attention to detail. A series of tasks (cast drawing, cast painting, drawing and painting from the live model, and still life, for example) are done by the student. Students must complete each task to the instructor's satisfaction before progressing to the next. This system is referred to as "systematic progression" or "systematic teaching and learning." The methods used by Atelier instructors may vary greatly from one studio to another; however, artists using the "Atelier" approach tend to be united in their desire to reintroduce classical methods and techniques to modern painting.

[edit] Methods

Because they lack a central governing body, Atelier instructors are free to teach whatever methods they wish. However, there are several methods that are common to most Atelier schools. Atelier schools and teachers generally agree that the practice of careful drawing is the basis of painting.

[edit] Drawing and painting from plaster casts

Student Cast Drawing after Ariadne. Mims Studios School of Fine Art, Southern Pines, NC.
Student Cast Drawing after Ariadne. Mims Studios School of Fine Art, Southern Pines, NC.

Atelier students often begin to draw or paint using plaster casts as subjects. These casts are usually faces, hands, or other parts of the human anatomy. Plaster casts provide some of the benefits of live, human models, such as the presence of natural shadows. They also have their own distinct advantages: they remain perfectly still and their white color allows the student to focus on the pure, grayscale tones of shadows. This is the method that contemporary painter Jacob Collins pursues at his schools, the Water Street Atelier and the Grand Central Academy.

[edit] Sight-size drawing

Sight-Size drawing is a method of drawing an object exactly as it appears to the artist on a one to one scale. The artist first sets a vantage point where the subject and the drawing surface appear to be the same size. Then, using a variety of measuring tools -- which can include strings, sticks, mirrors, levels, and plumb-bobs -- the artist draws the subject so that, when viewed from the set vantage point, the drawing and the subject have exactly the same dimensions. When properly done, sight-size drawing can result in extremely accurate and realistic drawings. It can also be used to draw the exact dimensions for a subject in preparation for a painting.

Contemporary realist painter Adrian Gottlieb notes that "while professional painters pursuing a full-time career will develop an 'eye' that precludes the need for measuring devices and plumb lines (tools necessary during the training period), the observation method itself is not abandoned - instead it becomes second nature. Sight-size can be taught and applied in conjunction with a particular sensitivity to gesture to create life-like imagery; especially when applied to portraiture and figurative works."


Mandy said...

I have no idea about the atelier studios, but I'm all about the string.

Tim Gardner said...

The string? The plumb line?

Esly Carrero said...

That's like better than going to a university! Wouldn't they all charge a lot???


Mandy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mandy said...

... as a measuring device, and setting a vantage point, as well as dropping a vertical line and seeing how things usually don't align, people have a tendancy to draw things lined up that are not really lined up, a lot of people do this without realizing it. Normally you draw what you think you see and not what you are really seeing and the string helps to see things clearer. Also, it helps with proportions.

Esly Carrero said...