Student Paintings

student paintigs from beginner to intermediate

Quotes on Learning to Paint

I am still learning. – Michelangelo

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.  – Abigail Adams

The fingers must be educated, the thumb is born knowing.  – Marc Chagall

I am progressing very slowly, for nature reveals herself to me in very complex forms; and the progress needed is incessant. – Paul Cezanne

Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else. – Sydney  Clemens

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. – Picasso

The only people who need degrees are dentists and brain surgeons. – David Hockney

The only way to learn to paint is by painting  – Charles Hawthorne

One of the most striking features of adult students is their anxiety that they might be making themselves look foolish, or that they might be exposing themselves to failure.  –  Jenny Rogers, Adults Learning.

flashing gif graphic

First Steps…

To begin, begin.  – William Wordsworth

The important thing is somehow to begin. – Henry Moore

A good beginning, a good middle & a good end. – Adam Cope

Buy a paint-box, and have a try. When I die and go to heaven, I want to spend the first million years painting — so I can get to the bottom of the subject. – Winston Churchill

Take the first step, and your mind will mobilize all its forces to your aid. But the first essential is that you begin. Once the battle is started, all that is within and without you will come to your assistance. – Robert Collier

 
If the farmer worries himself with the question
Of how the sown grain transforms itself in the summer,
He will get nowhere. The Earth gives forth.
– Rilke, Sonnet to Orpheus

There are no mistakes, only tracks of where you have been to get where you are. – Robert Kaupelis

The sooner you make your first five thousand mistakes, the sooner you will be able to correct them. – Kimon Nicolaides

Even carelessness can be read as confidence. It’s better to make a mistake and leave it, than paint something very labored. – Joseph Zbukvic

No matter what a budding artist’s background, education, or point of view, he or she must ultimately go to a room and become an inventor. Only in quiet moments of struggle will both success and joy manifest themselves.  – Robert Genn

flashing gif graphic

Aspiration

Mon enfance a été très misérable. Mon père est parti et ma mère était avec quatre enfants, qu’elle devait faire vivre par elle-même. C’était une enfance très dure. Mais moi, toujours, j’ai voulu être peintre. On m’a donné des crayons de couleurs à 7 ans, et je faisais un dessin avec un moulin, et on trouvait ça si beau… je n’ai jamais quitté l’idée d’être peintre.  – Bram Van Velde

It is difficult to say why I decided I wanted to be an artist. Obviously, I had some facility, more than other people, but sometimes facility comes because one is more interested in looking at things, examining them, more interested in the visual world than other people are. – David Hockney

The path forward is about curiosity, generosity, and connection. These are the three foundations of art. – Seth Godin

Learn to Look

When we see keenly enough, there is very little difficulty in drawing what we see; but, even supposing that this difficulty be still great, I believe that the sight is a more important thing than the drawing

Ruskin

Cultivate an ever-continuous power of observation. Wherever you are, be always ready to make slight notes of postures, groups and incidents. Store up in the mind without ceasing a continuous stream of observations from which to make selections later. Above all things get abroad, see the sunlight, and everything that is to be seen, the power of selection will follow. Be continually making mental notes, make them again and again, test what you remember by sketches until you have got them fixed. Do not be backward at using every device and making every experiment that ingenuity can devise, in order to attain that sense of completeness which nature so beautifully provides, always bearing in mind the limitations of the materials in which you work. – John Singer Sargent

Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see – to see correctly – and that means a good deal more than merely looking with the eye.

– Kimon Nicolaides, The Natural Way to Draw

The overwhelming tendency is to see what we believe to be there, rather than believing in what we actually see. – Arthur Maderson

I always teach my students beauty. No one should pass through four years of college without being given the knowledge of beauty and eyes with which to see it. – Chiura Obata

The world is colourful. It is beautiful, I think. Nature is great. Van Gogh worshipped nature. He might have been miserable, but that doesn’t show in his work. There are always things that will try to pull you down. But we should be joyful in looking at the world. – David Hockney

Elle envoya chercher un de ces gâteaux courts et dodus appelés Petites Madeleines qui semblaient avoir été moulés dans la valve rainurée d’une coquille de Saint-Jacques. … Mais à l’instant même où la gorgée mêlée des miettes du gâteau toucha mon palais, je tressaillis, attentif à ce qui se passait d’extraordinaire en moi. Un plaisir délicieux m’avait envahi, isolé, sans la notion de sa cause. Il m’avait aussitôt rendu les vicissitudes de la vie indifférentes, ses désastres inoffensifs, sa brièveté illusoire, de la même façon qu’opère l’amour, en me remplissant d’une essence précieuse : ou plutôt cette essence n’était pas en moi, elle était moi. J’avais cessé de me sentir médiocre, contingent, mortel. D’où avait pu me venir cette puissante joie ? Je sentais qu’elle était liée au goût du thé et du gâteau, mais qu’elle le dépassait infiniment, ne devait pas être de même nature. D’où venait-elle ? Que signifiait-elle ? Où l’appréhender ? Je bois une seconde gorgée où je ne trouve rien de plus que dans la première, une troisième qui m’apporte un peu moins que la seconde. Il est temps que je m’arrête, la vertu du breuvage semble diminuer. Il est clair que la vérité que je cherche n’est pas en lui, mais en moi.
Marcel Proust, Du côté de chez Swann, 1913

The true journey of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having fresh eyes. – Marcel Proust

I found them here at first without hunting,

by grace, as all beauties are first found.

I have hunted and not found them here.

Found, unfound, they breathe their light

into the mind, year after year.  

– Wendell Berry

Imagination… “dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to re-create” – Coleridge

To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour. ‒ William Blake

The Ghost of a Flea c.1819-20 William Blake 1757-1827

Observation without evaluation is the highest form of intelligence. – Jiddhu Krishnamurti

The self, the place where we live, is a place of illusion. Goodness is connected with the attempt to see the unself… to pierce the veil of selfish consciousness and join the world as it really is. – Iris Murdoch

more beautiful wiorld when paint you see
– Adam Cope

How? Why?

Never let it be supposed that anyone can be a good painter if he does not clearly understand what he is attempting to do. He draws the bow in vain who has nowhere to point the arrow. – Alberti, Treatise on Painting, 1435

Study is the teacher of knowledge, but play and improvisation are the teachers of skill. Make as many paintings as you can, and let yourself enjoy the process of painting, and your progress will follow a natural and unique course. – Bruce McEvoy, Handprint.com

Art comes out of art. It begins with imitation, often in the form of parody, and it’s in this process of imitating the voice of others that one comes to learn the sound of one’s own voice. 

– Alan Bennett

Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style. – Kurt Vonnegut

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. – John Muir (meaning that every element in painting is attached to all the other elements)

 
 
Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
Mary Oliver

 

You’re not learning to paint. You are painting to learn. – David Leffel

Reflection is an important human activity in which people recapture their experience, think about it, mull it over and evaluate it. It is this working with experience that is important in learning. – David Boud

Technique & Tools

The most perfect technique is that which is not noticed at all. – Pablo Casals

You don’t know a recipe until you have cooked it & eaten it at least ten times. – Adam Cope

Art is a thing so much of the imagination, of the soul, that it is difficult to descend to the fundamentals of technique and yet make it plain to the student that these are but the ‘means’ and not an end in themselves. – John F. Carlson

Your rules should arise out of your passions and your experience with what works for you. – Richard Schmid

Learn technique; have full command to the extent of not being conscious of how it is done. When craftsmanship has been developed, you are free to create… technique will give way to expression!  – Sergei Bongart

If one really wishes to be a master of an art, technical knowledge is not enough. One has to transcend technique so the art becomes an “artless art”, growing out of the Unconsciousness. – D.T. Suzuki

Une béarnaise c’est simplement un jaune d’oeuf, une échalote, un peu d’estragon. Mais il faut des années de pratique avant que le résultat ne soit parfait. – Ferninand Point

Working from photos makes you a little more analytical, a little more cerebral, because you’re less connected to the intensity of life. – George Carlson

There is nothing wrong with photography, if you don’t mind the perspective of a paralysed Cyclops. – David Hockney

The video camera dominates art. It’s a bore, it makes everything look a bit the same. If you look at things with a pencil and paper in your hand, you are going to see far more. – David Hockney

How many geniuses at the level of Bach and Van Gogh died before the needed technologies were available for their talents to take root? ―Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants

We are reaching deep within ourselves to adjust the master knob. ― Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants

The Learning Curve

No one has your answers because no one but you can comprehend the enormity of your questions. – Patti Digh

One of the most striking features of adult students is their anxiety that they might be making themselves look foolish, or that they might be exposing themselves to failure. – Jenny Rogers, Adults Learning.

Learning is experience. Everything else is just information. ― Albert Einstein

Intelligence is what you use when you don’t know what to do. – Piaget

It doesn’t get any easier; you just go faster – Cycling Wisdom

Teachers have a profound effect on their students and I wonder if they are really aware of that. Passing on our knowledge must be done in a way that enables the student to understand it, to retain it, to be able to implement it and to be enthused by it. – Robert Wade.

It’s like trying to teach someone to swim when you’ve never been in the water. You need direct experience with mindfulness to teach it—and your embodied expression of mindfulness transmits a confidence in the path of practice. – Oren Jay Sofer

flashing gif graphic

Improving & Innovating

That’s what I like about a garden. It’s forever evolving. – Tamara Taggatt

One must always be prepared to learn something totally new.  – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Don’t try to recreate something you’ve done before. Challenge yourself constantly.  – Suzanne Partridge

There is no such thing as starting where Cezanne left off. You have to start where he started… at the beginning. – Kimon Nicolaides

The general fact is that any modification, however important, is accomplished by the addition of corresponding regressions to progress. – Elisée Reclus

What artists do—in addition to changing people—is they give gifts…When an artist realizes they have abundance, that they’re not going to run out of ideas, that they’re not going to run out of smiles. What people who make art realize is that the more they give away, the more they touch people and change people, the better they do. – Seth Godin

Tout homme peut dire véritablement ; mais dire ordonnément, prudemment et suffisamment, peu d’hommes le peuvent. – Michel de Montaigne (For sure any man can say something; but say something in way that is orderly, prudently and sufficently, few can do this).

flashing gif graphic

Practice, Practice, Pratice (and Some Play)

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up & get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part & a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. ~ Chuck Close

The most essential thing in dance discipline is devotion, the steadfast and willing devotion to the labor that makes the classwork not a gymnastic hour and a half, or at the lowest level, a daily drudgery, but a devotion that allows the classroom discipline to become moments of dancing too… – Merce Cunningham

If it’s a hobby, it’s for you. If it’s work, it’s for others. – Seth Godin

Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing that makes you good. – Malcolm Gladwell

Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, but because it wishes to be art. – Barthelme

It may be when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.
 

– Wendell Berry

To understand theory is not enough. Much practice is necessary…  – Kimon Nicolaides