Self-paced study program ...

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Self-paced study program ...

From Mark Junge

Published before 2005


One thing you might consider having nearby is a mirror. When you're working on a drawing or painting, sometimes one can get so used to seeing it a certain way that the artist may not always truly see what's really there (obviously, learning how to SEE is a skill that must be developed). Holding your work up to a mirror and looking at the reflection seems to make any errors very apparent. I've caught mistakes this way years ago in my landscape paintings where I've painted trees or whatever that are supposed to be vertical and I think they are, then I look at the reflection in a mirror and discover they are ALL leaning one way or the other. If you're not able to have a good art instructor looking over your shoulder as you're working, a mirror is a distant second-best choice.

On a more philosophical note, you had earlier expressed concerns that you may simply lack the talent to be an artist. Some people may well be born with an innate ability to see and observe accurately and have great hand-eye coordination so they can translate what they see to the paper or canvas. But in my opinion, such people are rare. Most of us have to learn those skills. It goes much faster if we can find someone to teach us; otherwise, we have to do the best we can, often re-inventing the wheel until we get it right or at least getting some advice from people like Virgil to steer us into directions we might not have thought of on our own. My best advice: do what Virgil says! =)