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Monday, November 9, 2015

Street Smart vs Educated in Art

"Funny! You don't do all the foundational things I think all fine artists should have!  And yet you still create beautiful things. Perhaps it comes from years of drawing on site and learning - muscle learning and eye learning and mind learning which you have that doesn't mean you've had years of art education - you've got street smarts :)" 
"Street smart" is a very good expression and spot on. I had a big laugh! dear friend and I have been chatting over drawing methods, theoritical issues, styles, her approaches and my approaches. Street smarts are my case. 

People ask me how to draw, colours, composition. I have to confess that I draw like a happy child and it's enough. Other famous artists do preliminary sketches and well organise composition, colour etc, etc. I always... do not do it. I've never thought of theoretical stuff. My good work is a sub product of coincidence. Or when intentionally / deliberately / consicously / calculatedly I had tried to organise these theoretical things in my work, all of the attempts died in theories and lively work never came upProbably, I'm not a type to obey to disciplines. My honest feeling, "I like it. I want to draw it," motivates me to get on a painting. It works well. What about you, Friends? 
My study of David Davies, "A Summer Evening." 
I made his oil work much brighter than the original. 
I assume that a theory or theoretical stuff are all made by clever people in an art history. Sometimes, theories are helpful. However, any theory has limitation and it's not almighty to cover all areas in art (*My study at uni taught that a theory is not perfect). Always we have exceptions. We can do work different from a theory. In addition, a publisher or an editor asks an artist to demonstrate or show drawings, not a theory at all. Don't worry about a few publications in your CV. A publisher/an editor searches for an illustrator who has drawing skills and matches their projects, not a number of books.   

Instead of "street smart," a very famous picture book illustrator often told me, "Instinct" to organise images and checked the balance of colours etc in composition. The illustrator was originally from design. She said with surprise, "You understand what I've said about picture books and illustrations (*composition, colour, page structure etc). Often others do not get my say!" Her feedback made me happy. We have instinct to feel something good or comfortable in drawings/art like a golden ratio and it's universal. All of us have it, don't we? I emphasise it in my workshops. I encourage anyone to feel that "instinct" or "street smarts," when we need to check technical things in work. "You know where's wrong in drawing. You can tell which colour is uncomfortable. We all have knowledge accumulated in our eyes. Use it!" My say lightens up participants. In my opinion, only the difference between an artist and a non-artist could be being activated by instinct or not. Technical things will follow it. It's a matter of time and as long as a person has enthusiasm to draw. 

The street smart is great, which has been gained from life long drawing! It's resilient and capable. Good craftsmanship gives shapes credit and enables an artist to play with colours. As long as tonal value is correct, all the colours get credit and you can use any colour -- is my belief and any artists agree with it (*particularly the above is applied in Western art. Asian countries' drawings do not have tonal value such as Ukiyoe.) Also, very good drawing skills can simplify subjects. Then, we can distort subjects and play up images. A good cartoonist is a great portraitist. So, I draw, draw, draw anything interesting and whatever the results would be. I hope myself to make tens of millions of drawings than a word ... and I will find answers I pursue in art. My "just-do-it" approach is fit, flexible and full of fun!   
My study of Sydney Long, "The Hour Of Romance," oil on canvas. 
The simplified and enhanced contrast in a subject interested me so much. 
I enjoyed playing with colours in watercolour.  
At the same time, the street smart has made this woman quite humble in a group because of no official education of art. "I'm a starter. Please teach me," is my say in any group. I met art students or graduated people in life drawing class and an open teaching day of Julian Ashton art school.  My life drawings amazed art students and impressed their teachers. (*their response surprised me so much. I blushed up.) The excited art teachers said, "Your next stage is to express different styles," and suggested me to explore different approaches. 

I study other people's approaches like above. When I read the art books, I understand them well and reproduce their work in practice from my street smarts. I remember that famous illustartor's say above. My experienced simple drawings have allowed me to study other's work and learn techniques. Also, I've been looking at good art works since childhood that have taught me well and are still teaching me. The little girl dreamed and vowed to draw like the greats in a humble manner. (I'll see them in NSW Art Gallery!) In picture book industry, I fell in love with leading Australian picture book illustrators' work such as Robert Ingpen and Ann Spudvillas etc, etc. I still dream to draw like them, but in my own way.

I do not focus on others styles too much. I always remember my wise publisher/editor Helen Chamberlin's say, "Where's your stance!" and "Enjoy it!"  In picture book illustration, Helen Chamberlin wanted me to keep what I am fully. It's is so true and important. Thank you, Helen.  
Whilst keeping my own stance, I want to grow in art. Friends, teach me and guide me so that I will bloom out in my own way. Educate this street smart. I'm a life long learner. 

Btw, if you have any feedback to my study of Australian landscapes, I'd really appreciate it. Thank you!
Friends, Happy Painting!  





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14 comments:

  1. Hello Sadami. I read and have been following your blog and your illustration career. Hard work and wonderful things have been happening to you.

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    1. Thank you so much, Alissa. Very busy with following projects with Helen and Ann. Very happy to be loved/nurtured by topnotches in Australian picture book industry. Now, I must prepare "People of Parramatta" exhibition that will start from next week. I hope you will have a wonderful career and success.
      Best wishes, Sadami

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  2. I enjoy both of these studies - bright, light, summertime look to the first and then dark evening coming on, just a hint of color in the second. You do both very well. I wonder why, in life drawing, we are asked to draw not like ourselves but like the instructor or leader? I had the same thing happen - the leader had strong lines and told me to stop scratching the paper to get the shape - but I see others "scratch the paper" to get to the shape and it looks fine! ha ha Maybe it's just that they want us to experience all styles?

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  3. Oh, thank you, so sweet Rhonda! Yes, it's quite fun and great to study famous works that are good examples to teach me techincial stuff. I always find somethig. Hahaha, your life drawig class story always gives me a bitter smile. So sorry, your life drawing class experiences were dreadful. Where was freedom? I'm certain when a child starts walking, care givers must let her walk on her own. The same is true of our art journey. Go every direction and explore the world.
    Best wishes, Sadami

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  4. Hallo Sadami! My painting process and attitude is similar to yours. No planning and no preliminary sketches (with 4 children I usually hadn't time for it). Sometimes I also paint master studies as you do (watercolor or coloured pencil study of original painting in oils). I think it's good exercise on choosing different color palette or composition or even subject. Sometimes I pick only a detail of master's work and paint a small study. For exemple a person in medieval or renaissance clothing with all the richly folded draperies.

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    1. Thank you, Agnieszka! Good to know your and I have the similar methods. I perfectly agree with you. I haven't tried a part of masters's paintings. It sounds very interesting. I will try it later. Paintings in Medieval and Renaissance are great. Yes, their clothes are very fascinating. I've loved Frans Hals since childhood. When I was young, I copied masters for my oil study. I enjoyed to copy Vermeer and Van Gogh's sunflowers. My mum hung the sunflower in her own shop. To our surprise, a lady customer happily bought it! Hahaha, it was the beginning of my carrer?! But I stopped oil and went back to watercolour and to the present.
      Thank you for your kind and useful suggestion. Keep up wonderful work and writing.
      Love and smile, Sadami

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  5. I love your study of David Davies, "A Summer Evening." Great colours and composition!! I agree with you. Always strive to improve your work, learning from the masters and being honest to yourself. Cheers!

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    1. Thank you, Anna! I'm sure you, too, have kept studing art and learning all the time. Yes, being honest to onself is so precious. Cheers, Sadami

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  6. Yo creo que ser espontaneo es importante tanto como studiar los temas y planificarlos, no hay un metodo cada uno tiene el suyo, en lo que estoy completamente de acuerdo es en disfrutar pintando, para mi es esencial. Un abrazo

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    1. Estimado Tina, realmente aprecio tu comentario amable siempre. Me anima mucho. Sí, yo también, de acuerdo con usted! Tina, es muy importante flexibles, libre y espontánea. Vamos a disfrutar de dibujo. Ese es el elemento más importante !! ((Abrazos)) Sadami

      Dear Tina, I really appreciate your kind comment always. It encourages me so much. Yes, me, too, agree with you! Tina, it's very important to flexible, free and spontaneous. Let's enjoy drawing. That's the most crucial element!! (( Hugs )) Sadami

      >>>> Tina said...
      I think it is important to be spontaneous as well as study the issues and schedule them, there is a method everyone has his, what I fully agree is enjoying painting for me is essential. A hug

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  7. Oh, the life drawing experience was a good one - I was just always curious that instructors teach only the way they do it and don't seem to be able to let others experience their own style (at least, not at first; maybe later when you get better at the foundational stuff). I did learn a lot from those courses and classes and open studio sessions and may go back again in the springtime to do more. One never stops learning!

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    1. Good point, Rhonda! The technical limitation of instructors indicates "being only human." I experienced two instrcutors in a life drawing class at NSW art gallery (run by state gov). It was really a fun that they taught me completely different drawings. It is still fresh in me. A rest of my life drawing learnings are all on my own. Books are not bad. Quite helpful to understand academic approaches and anatomical knowledge to check my own drawings. Even in no instrctor class, it is wonderful to study from other's different styles. You and I never stop learning! Best wishes, Sadami

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  8. Sadami, llevas el arte en tus venas y aunque la teoría ayuda a perfeccionarla, tú siempre harás cualquier pintura con arte, porque lo llevas dentro. Soy también algo anárquico a la hora de pintar y por ahora no me puedo quejar de los resultados.
    Muy bien Sadami, eres una gran pintora que lleva los "genes" de la pintura interiorizados y siempre pintarás bien.
    Un fuerte abrazo.

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    1. Joshemari, no estoy seguro de que yo naciera con un gen artística. Todo lo que puedo decir es que me encanta dibujar. Ese es el único activo que tengo. Estoy seguro de que, también. Sólo vamos a disfrutar de dibujo. En última instancia, no sé cosas complicadas en el arte, tampoco. Cuanto más simple, mejor.
      Mis mejores deseos, Sadami

      Thank you Joshemari. I'm not sure I was born with an artistic gene. All what I can say is I love drawing. That's the only assets I have. I'm sure you, too. Just let us enjoy drawing. Ultimately, I do not know complicated stuff in art, either. The simpler, the better.
      Best wishes, Sadami

      >>>Joshemari said...
      Sadami, you bring art into your veins and although the theory helps to perfect it, you always do any painting art, because what you have inside. I am also somewhat anarchic when it comes to painting and now I can not complain about the results.
      Sadami well, you're a great painter who takes the "genes" of internalized painting and always will paint well.
      A hug.

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