10 things a beginner artist needs to know

The beginning of an artist’s journey can be fear-inducing, overwhelming, exciting, inspiring (among many other things)! These ten tips will hopefully help you successfully continue on your creative path, with the knowledge that the journey is just as important (if not more) as the destination.

1. You will really learn how to “see”

Drawing is the foundation of many art practises, and you will most likely find yourself learning how to draw again, and during this period, you will learn (or re-learn) how to “see”.

The moment that lightbulb switches on for a beginner artist is unforgettable. It is when you move away from the way you drew as a child. For example, a nose is not a “nose” anymore – it is made up of many smaller shapes – balls, cylinders and curved lines. You will begin to look at previously mundane objects around you and break them down into parts – analysing the different shapes within shapes; the negative space around them; the graduation of lights and darks. Learning how to draw truly opens up a new way of seeing – and it is so exciting!

2. Always be curious

Have your eyes open. Be observant; look at and be engaged in the physical world around you. It can not only inspire you, it can bring forth those moments of inspiration that wouldn’t normally strike you if you didn’t have your eyes truly open.

3. You are unique

You have a unique way of viewing the world and you have chosen to share this through art. Someone, somewhere will identify with your view and love what you do, and even pay for it. Don’t be scared if your work is different; as we all know, controversial artwork in the past has created art movements.

4. Don’t compare your work to others’

The only work you should be comparing is your new work to you old. Everyone is on a journey, and there will always be someone who is ahead of you. It’s very easy to compare your work to other artists’; however, this is not useful if it is affecting your art practice in a negative way. Learn from others, be inspired by others, and reserve the comparisons for your studio only.

5. Prioritise your creative practise

Create every single day or as often as you can. It’s the only way you will learn, and improve. Overcome your internal resistance; it is important to prioritise time to be creative in your life if you want to grow.

6. Keep learning

You don’t have to attend traditional art school to become an artist, however, taking art classes to improve your skills will help get you there faster. If you’re interested in a certain style – research it. Visit galleries and find art the inspires you – then copy it. Learn how the masters created their work; learn about the mistakes they made, and their successes. Take technical art classes, or engage with your local art scene and join an art community to be in the company of other creatives. And don’t stop learning!

7 Embrace your mistakes

The best thing about making mistakes is that you can learn from them. What you might see as a mistake at first, could be part of the journey to a great piece of art. When you believe you have made a mistake, try and push through and continue working. It is often a blockage, and it takes courage to continue working with it. Or leave the piece of work so you can sit with it for a few days – you will often come up with a solution (and you have learnt so much more than if you destroyed the work).

8. Stop thinking

During the creative process, have you ever experienced what can be described as “flow”, where the concept of time disappears and so does your internal dialogue, and it is just you and your work? It’s hard to switch off your inner critic, or your daily running dialogue, but when you do – magic happens. Sometimes it helps not to have a perceived end-goal, and just create for the sake of being creative. This can also help break the initial mental barrier preventing the physical act of creating – to stop thinking/judging/analysing and put that pencil or brush to paper. See what happens.

9. It takes time

It can be frustrating when you are just starting out and can see a masterpiece in your head, but you don’t yet have the skills to bring it to life. Be kind to yourself and remember that every artist has experienced this part of their journey. It takes a lot of work. Enjoy the journey and the improvements you notice in your work along the way.

10. Believe in yourself

Self-doubt can be your biggest enemy. Until you really believe in yourself, you will not understand the true enormity of this statement. These tips above should help you get some of the way there, however you can only truly know when you believe in yourself. We believe in you!

 At Melbourne Art Class we offer a range of art classes for every step of the artist’s journey. You can view all of our current courses here.

Written by Lauren Ottaway

Students’ life model work from Painting Term 3

We had a full class for Term 3 Painting and our students produced some incredible work which we are very proud of and would love to share.

Four sessions over the ten weeks were dedicated to painting from one life model, in an ongoing pose. Painting the figure is difficult but a wonderful way to develop as a painter. Marco is able to guide students through the drawing foundations of the painting through to the final techniques. The focus in these session was on establishing fundamental processes for painting in a short time. Marco helped students create fleshy tones, finding the lights and darks, and using colours you wouldn’t normally associate with flesh.  He was also aware of the different painting techniques of his students, and made sure his tuition only enhanced their personal style. You can see the different works produced below:

Long-time student Felice has a background in folk art which meant that she has a good mastery of certain brush techniques which have gradually expanded with her recent participation in the course.

Felice, Term 3 Painting, 2015
Felice, Term 3 Painting, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Megan has been with Melbourne Art Class for a couple of years now and is a prolific oil painter. Megan returned to painting after many years away and has become an extremely effective painter.

Megan, Work in progress, Term 3, 2015
Megan, Work in progress, Term 3, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monika is a Graphic Designer by day but maintains a love for painting and continues to develop her painting technical skills. She has a natural disposition to describing the figure through painting.

Monica, Term 3, 2015
Monika, Term 3, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn how to paint the Figure with Marco Corsini

This term we have introduced a short painting course – Painting from a Life Model with Marco Corsini. During this seven-week course, students will be encouraged to develop drawing skills, conceptual understanding and technical proficiency in painting.

When: Saturdays, 7th November to December 19th, 9am – 11.30am

Where: Enderby Studio, 314 Church Street, Richmond.

Cost: $375

Read more about this course and enroll here.

“Marco teaches traditional/proper painting techniques and methods from the basics, taking time to explain all facets of painting. I find the content inspiring and extremely beneficial to my art practice. I trust in Marco’s experience and knowledge and appreciate his very personable style of teaching.”

Monika, Term 2, 2015 student

Summer Art Classes at MAC

Over the summer holidays many of us our leave our paintbrushes and pencils where we left them after our final art class. So we have introduced two new short courses to motivate you to continue your art practice throughout the break. These short courses are also great gifts to give at Christmas time because the gift of creativity and experience is invaluable. Be sure to request a gift certificate upon payment.

Drawing and Painting Intensive with Marco Corsini – Dec 29th, 30th and 31st

Join Marco this December for a three-day Intensive Drawing and Painting Course.

Marco Corsini, A kind of homecoming, 2014, Oil on linen, 120 cm. x 120 cm.
Marco Corsini, A kind of homecoming, 2014, Oil on linen, 120 cm. x 120 cm.

Marco will combine a series of presentations with personal tuition in drawing and painting, with an emphasis on working from observation and the development of sophisticated technique. Some of the aspects covered include composition, underpainting, representing form, space and texture, colour and its relationship to composition and form, and more.   Find out more information and enrol here

Introduction to Drawing with Hilmi Baskurt – Jan 15th to Jan 29th

This course presents a fantastic opportunity to learn the four elements of sketching with our new teacher, Hilmi Baskurt.

Hilmi Baskurt Untitled
Hilmi Baskurt Untitled

A former student of iconic British painter Frank Auerbach, Hilmi will introduce you to structural sketching, value sketching, Chiaroscuro and contour sketching. Hilmi earned a Master of Fine Art degree in painting from Royal Academy of Arts and his Masters’ thesis was on the subject of Composition. This drawing course will be extremely beneficial for beginners and artists who would like a refresher over the holidays. Find out more information and enrol here

An inspiring start to Term 4 Painting

Saturday morning painting classes recommenced two weeks ago, and the work being produced by our early-morning artists is phenomenal.

Marco will be teaching us a variety of different painting techniques this term, which a number of our students are currently using. Below you can see examples of the students’ current pieces, which are all works in progress.

Lynne Oil Painting 18 10 2014
Lynne’s oil painting in progress

This is Lynne’s oil painting. She has chosen to work from a photograph and is using a “layering” technique with opaque colours, which also can be called a tonal painting.

Lynne has been with MAC for two terms now and continues her art practice in her spare time, which we like to encourage all students to do!

Marco will be demonstrating this “layering” painting technique later in the term.

Leigh's oil painting in progress
Leigh’s oil painting in progress

To the right is Leigh’s current oil painting. She is working from still life, which Marco arranges every lesson.

Leigh has chosen a “blocking out” technique, using a local colour on the vase and a yellow underneath the apples.

Rivkeh's oil painting in progress
Rivkeh’s oil painting in progress

Rivkeh has joined MAC this semester wanting to learn different painting techniques.

She is currently working on one of the busts we have here at MAC. Rivkeh began with a dead colour painting but has continued to model the form using the semi opaque and opaque white for the second layer.

You can see the burnt umber that she used in the first layer and it demonstrates how effective this painting process can be when creating shadow and variation in tone.

Spencer's oil painting
Spencer’s oil painting in progress

Last term we had a model sit for us and Spencer is continuing this work.

He has also used the glazing technique; he began with a monochrome underpainting and has since applied several layers of colour. He achieved the sensitive skin tones using glazing and layering techniques.

Spencer has been with us for two terms now and we are excited to be part of his creative journey!

Meagan's oil painting in progress
Meagan’s oil painting in progress

Meagan is also working on her painting of the model from last term.

She also began with an underpainting, which has helped her achieve the skin tone (especially on his forearms) and his vest.

Meagan’s technique for painting skin in striking; when you get up close to her painting, the different colours on his face almost looks like patchwork, but as you can see, our eyes make all the colours work together.

Jude's oil painting in progress
Jude’s oil painting in progress

Many students bring in current projects they are working on so Marco can offer feedback.

Jude, who has been with MAC all year, always has several paintings on the go, and we love seeing her progress.

She learns a considerable amount with every painting she completes, from the reflection of water on skin, to how to realistically paint cloth. Jude has been working on the painting to the right for a few weeks and at the moment she is working on the difficult task of painting a newspaper at that angle.

If you would like to watch the progress of these paintings, and works of art from our other classes, follow Melbourne Art Class on Facebook and Instagram.

Six ways that Life Drawing improves you

1. Life drawing helps improve your fundamental drawing skills

Drawing the figure demands a lot of an artist as the anatomical and structural complexity of the figure is difficult to master. Many artists use drawing from a model to see and describe subtle nuances of proportion, tone, texture, space and gesture.

Student Life Drawing
Student Life Drawing

2. Drawing from a model increases the fluency and economy of your drawing.

With the inevitable time limitations of a Life Drawing session and the range of expression available from a Life Model, an artist can constantly find new and more economical ways to describe the figure. The possibilities for expression available to an artist are virtually unlimited.3.

3. Drawing the body tunes you to the visual proportions, rhythms and harmonies of the body

As with drawing from nature in general, working from the body’s complex proportions, rhythms and harmonies can tune an artist in to many rich visual possibilities. This could prove useful in in other fields such as architecture, design, various forms of composition and engineering. It could even help art practice!

Student Life Drawing
Student Life Drawing

4. Drawing as a form of meditation

Drawing from a Life Model encourages you to focus your mind upon and respond to the human body and to a human being. Not only is this a great way of clearing your mind but it can invite a reality check by reminding us of our common humanity.

5. Drawing from life is better than drawing from photographs

An authentic experience in our digital era is becoming more of a rarity. Life Drawing allows you to see and capture the human body with a sensitivity and understanding that you simply cannot achieve through copying a photograph.

6. Drawing within a group encourages learning

Life Drawing classes not only bring like-minded people together, they also help artists explore a variety of ways to approach a single subject.

We do not often have the privilege of viewing individual artists’ processes, and Life Drawing classes encourage sharing and critiquing of work in a relaxed and non-judgemental environment. You will always find artists of varying skills in a Life Drawing class.

MAC’s next tutored Life Drawing Short Course with Jesse Dayan begins on October 30. Find out more information here.

Drawing short course

Drawing for Beginners, Image: J. Dayan 2012
Image: J. Dayan 2012

Jesse Dayan (BFA – Drawing VCA) will be teaching a Drawing short course, designed for anyone who wants to develop their drawing skills. Jesse will introduce you to new techniques you can use and will guide you to becoming a better drawer.  Jesse has earned a reputation as a fantastic drawing teacher and this course should be a great opportunity for anyone wanting to get started in drawing. For more information please go to:

http://melbourneartclass.com/drawing/