Friday, February 12, 2010

Sketching and Style

The latest issue of Drawing Magazine features an amazing artist and friend of mine, Michael Mentler. Michael is the founder of the Society of Figurative Arts here in Dallas, and he teaches several portrait and figure classes at his studio. I go to his portrait group occasionally to paint from life, and during model breaks, Michael will often do what he likes to call "Chalk Talk," lectures involving demonstrating features and form with sketches on a chalk board. Some of his chalk sketches are masterpieces in and of themselves. He draws every day and has a vast wealth of knowledge built up from years of drawing from life, from reference, and from imagination. Richard Schmid has called him a "modern-day Leonardo," and Michael's sketchbooks, which are featured in the Drawing article, have inspired me to get back into drawing on a daily basis. After all, good drawing is essential to good painting!

Michael Mentler's 'Chalk Talk'.jpg
(You can view Michael's work at his website:

I used to doodle incessantly as a kid; in fact, when my parents remodeled my old bedroom recently, they pulled up the carpet to find crayon drawings on the wood floor underneath! I don't really know why I stopped - perhaps because I'm so obsessed with color...

Regardless of whether I work in black and white or color, having a sketchbook is great because it's the artist's own private playground, without the pressure of anyone seeing it or judging it. The sketchbook is the perfect place to develop one's skills by copying master works, practicing anatomy, or drawing whatever catches your eye.

Sometimes I wonder, when I see so many great artists out there and observe their unique quality and style, whether or not I should be in this business. What's the point? Well, here's one answer: only I can express my artistic vision in my own way. I may share a common interest of medium, subject matter, and even style with other artists, but only I can arrange these things and see them and paint them in a way that's never been done before in quite that way. Each work of art - no matter how many times an apple or hand or face has been painted - is completely unique. It is a huge privilege for me to have these skills and to be able to pursue them the way I do. And I owe much of it to other artists, like Michael, who are helping to inspire me along the way. :-)

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...