No this is not an intro to a joke or something political. Rather it is a story about the universal language of art. It is a story about about an American a long way from home. He is working in a China as a teacher. To fill up his spare time he decides to take up painting. After all, what better way to appreciate the new sights than to paint them?
But our young American artist needs a few painting lessons. Where to find a convenient course on painting? He decides to try udemy.com and comes across a course called Learn to Paint With Impact. A course presented by yours truly from South Africa.
Meet Danny Dixon. Teacher and art student in China. Danny started with Learn to Paint with Impact and then took my other painting courses too. He is currently working on my plein air course Learn Outdoor Painting With Confidence. As you can see from his photo Danny is getting stuck in and loving it!
There are many amazing parts to the internet revolution. Some bad and others downright wonderful. One shining success of the internet must be online learning. So much to learn!
Take my painting courses for instance. There are students from 108 countries who have enrolled. That is the wonder of online learning. I would never have been able to reach people in these different countries without the internet.
There are still artists skeptical about online courses though. For these the traditional workshop at the teachers's studio is the way to go. I do admit that personal attention is a plus. However this can still be met through online teaching as I will explain later.
So what are the advantages of online art courses?
So there you have it. The ancient art of painting combining with cutting edge technology to benefit artists all over the world.
What do you think? Do you take online classes? What has been your experience with online learning?
At some point in your landscape painting you arrive at this dilemma. Should you add figures to your landscape scene or not? You would like to give it a try, but will the figures look weird? Will you spoil the painting? Is it really necessary? All of these self-defeating thoughts crop up for beginners. But it need not be so scary. Here are a few useful tips to help you.
Will the Figures Add Something?
This is important. Certain landscape scenes will not require a figure. A quiet country back-road where the natural elements dominate, light and shade, trees and so forth make figures superfluous. It may be okay to add a distant figure, but keep it a secondary focal point.
Where figures add a lot are in lively scenes like a beach, street or other active environments. Here a few figures make all the difference. If you are not confident with figures then use the distant figure concept.
The Advantage of Distant Figures
Avoid These Traps
I do encourage you to try adding figures into your landscape. In the video below I offer helpful tips for you. The main points are:
Have a Go!
Most importantly try adding figures more often. It can be the difference between ordinary and exciting paintings. Look at the impressionist's and how they dealt with this topic. You can get away with surprisingly loose brushwork while still suggesting much. This is the secret.
I find that my figures look best when completed in one pass. A few strokes and done. When I start to labour them a bit is when I know that I should scrape off the figure and start again. This is always the better option.
Gesture is Key
Another important idea is to observe the gesture of the figure. Watch real people going about their business. What does a walking figure really look like? Maybe bending or carrying parcels? Get the basic shape of the gesture and you have succeeded. Practice making quick gesture studies with paint before putting them onto the canvas. This helps to get your eye in.
Hopefully this has given you a bit of inspiration to try out figures in your landscapes. Have fun!
Figure Painting Demo:
Now for the situation where the figure is closer to you, but not close enough for the painting to become a portrait of some sort. In this case the painting is about the figures more that it is about the landscape. it is more intimate, but not personal either. Kind of like a day at the park where you can observe people around you without getting too close. This is one of my favorite ways to paint figures and is the subject of the demonstration below.
Once again gesture is key together with shape. These two qualities should be enough to describe the person fairly accurately. Especially for you to identify what the person is doing. In this way the figure becomes a part of the overall scene.
Would you like to see more videos of painting tips? Then subscribe to my YouTube channel now.
Please note that the demo painting and more lessons are available in my course How to Solve Painting Problems.
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What comes to mind when you hear the words "art marketing"? Probably a modern idea of Pop art like Andy Warhol or maybe Salvador Dali? Outrageous behavior by artists seeking attention? Or something more mundane like adverts in magazines? Yes all these are true and all in the relatively modern era. So I was amazed by this true story of the first art marketer. He lived over five hundred years ago.
Albrecht Durer was born in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1471. His father was a prominent goldsmith who quickly recognised his son's intelligence. Young Albrecht was sent to school to learn how to read and write. With that achieved he was put into his father's goldsmith business. But Albrecht's talent for drawing was so strong that he was quickly apprenticed to Nuremberg's leading artist.
Durer's fame spread wider as he traveled to Italy and the Netherlands where artists were held in high regard. However opportunists wasted no time in copying Durer's style and producing their own prints. Sound familiar? One enterprising plagiarist even used Durer's monogram. However Durer did not take this lightly.
Durer launched possibly the world's first trademark and copyright lawsuit against the plagiarist. The court ruled that the work could be copied, but that the monogram could not be replicated on copies by anyone other than Durer himself. The monogram was recognised as authentication of the artist's work. Does this sound modern to you? Yet it took place in the early 1500's.
This story of Durer's marketing skills is a side-note in a remarkably prolific career. Durer was a true Renaissance man. His legacy continues to this day especially in Germany where he remains a national hero.
Durer nevertheless knew the importance of printing and the power of celebrity to build his career. By taking advantage of these concepts together with his immense talent his legacy was assured. Today we have the internet, which is a revolution much like the printing press was in Durer's time. What would Durer make of it all?
I am sure he would love the opportunities that modern communication provide.
You can find out more about this extraordinary artist in the BBC documentary below:
Interested in learning more about marketing your creative business online? If so then take a look at my new marketing workshop.