Friday, September 29, 2017

Painting Talent Test

Painting Talent Test, 18 cm x 18 cm, oil

Talent comes with the drive to develop skills and to keep them in shape.
The NBA basketball player keeps practicing free throws no matter the number of champion rings. The ballet dancer keeps stretching, the chess player keeps learning game introductions, the singer basic voice exercises.
Talent means to have a natural joy in the basic form of exercise required to develop a skill. Not finding joy means to not have talent. In my opinion it’s as simple as that. Because not having joy means to not be able to carry through long term. 
At painting an understanding of color is important. Painting coloured blocks from direct vision is the best method to improve color at any level and is useful for beginners in particular. I am not aware of any exercise more effective and important. To identify and mix colors accurately is crucial in any genre ... still life, portraiture, landscape even at abstract painting. If you can’t paint blocks convincingly you cannot paint houses, apples, flowers or noses any better!
The development of color takes time. To bring color to a reasonable level takes much longer than learning to draw reasonably, for example. Blockstudies are a must.
I write this because i am receiving questions daily on whether I teach or have videos… this text is my copy/paste answer. I feel complimented of course by the questions and continuously give this advice: there is no need for me to reinvent the wheel. The virtual art academy (for example) is an outstanding pool of knowledge and exercises, including the blockstudies. Above all…..Do the blockstudies! I am puzzled why people sign into painting courses and don’t even do the basic form of study. I don’t have not enough time is what i hear most often. They do have enough time to paint complex stuff with bad color though… no talent fits it better! 
My point is this: i am not interested in anyone’s money by helping to just getting just a little better. Painting videos are alright, but are more an entertainment than a solid basis to build upon. I am very very interested in finding talented people who understand what it takes so we could work together improving our skills and have more fun….

Finally the simple painting talent test:

Do 150 blockstudies from direct vision. Do them on small formats like 20 cm x 15 cm. 3 to 5 blocks per study. Do not spend more than 90 mins at the beginning and reduce to 60 mins over time.


Gayle said...

Thanks for this great advice Thomas! I have a bag of blocks but haven't put this exercise into practice yet so you've motivated me to do so. It was also one of the techniques promoted by Charles Webster Hawthorne (founder of the Cape Cod School of Art in 1898). I think a good title for this painting could be "Block Party"!

Jean-Marie McDonnell said...

Accepting the challenge. Now to find some colored blocks!

LS Nelson said...

Why 150? Is that where you felt comfortable that you were getting the color right?

Thomas Ruckstuhl said...

No. The learning effect is greatest for the first 150. But at 450 it is the most effective form of study still.