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The Way To Happiness The philosophy of these lessons: Look, Learn, Practice

Chapter 17 of "The Way To Happiness" deals with Competence. I've found that too many limit their own progress as an artist with the concept that they "haven't got the talent." 90% of being a good professional artist is about looking for yourself, learning (including good study habits), and practicing what you have learned to become Competent. If you are interested in a free copy of "The Way to Happiness", please email me for one.

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Lesson 31

1. Thought

"Despite his growing career, Malett [well-known dog portrait artist] feels that his measure of success is on the canvas, not in his bank account. 'I would really rather be a good artist and completely unknown that a mediocre one who is well known.' he says. 'I just try to be a better painter, and if I do that, I know things will be all right.' " American Artist, July 92 p. 20

2. Word for the week:

ARTISAN: n. [F., fr. It. artigiano.] 1. Obsolete. An artist. 2. One trained in some mechanic art or trade.

(Note: I find it interesting that this word is not in the North Light Dictionary and is an obsolete term for artist according to the Webster's. At some point in the past, artisans were considered artists. What happened? Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the English Language contains both terms, with only a slight difference in meaning, the term artist including One skilled in the fine arts; as a painter, sculptor, architect, etc.

3. Practice: "Learning bears fruit when it is applied."

In the early lessons, I ask that you concentrate on using values to define the picture plane, because most of us have more of a history of using line as a shorthand for seeing. But now that you have worked with value as a means of defining shape and edges, bring line back in as a calligraphic and visually interesting element. For homework, try doing a "contour drawing" of an object or face. (This can also be a "blind contour drawing") You are familiar with contour maps. Treat the object you decide to draw as if it were geographical, and your drawing instrument a moving point (perhaps an ant) on the surface of that object. The effect can be quite interesting. Try it and we'll discuss.

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Last updated: December 13, 2004