Friday, February 4, 2011
Classical Painting Atelier
Author Juliette Aristides even has a name that's made for this approach to painting instruction. Aristides is an advocate for a return to the atelier method of art instruction, wherein talented students work with a master painter, who passes on the secrets of the craft, and teaches painting, sculpture and drawing from life, developing in artists an acute eye for observation.
This of course is how it was done for centuries before the development of art instruction in universities. And it has very much the virtues of teaching and progressing in an organized, coherent fashion with new learning based on the old. University education can be very much a hop-scotch of learning, especially in an era of underfunding and overcrowding. Students have to get classes when they can.
While this approach can and has in he past led to academic straitjackets on what is acceptable in art, current methods can lead to a lack of craft and critical acumen. A balance, as always, is needed. Aristides' arguments that traditional subjects such as still life, portraiture and figure can be handled with an eye to the modern sensibility, and retain the power to evoke an emotional response is amply demonstrated through the choice of illustrations, which includes paintings by old masters with student work from her atelier.
This book is inspiring me to attempt painting again.