After enrolling in two different sculpture classes and having both cancelled on me, I enrolled in the only art class left offered by the City of Ottawa-Drawing.
The class is on Monday nights and I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to start sketching naked people and fruit. But the class was nowhere near to what I expected. It was a million degrees in there, the windows wouldn’t open and the approach that the instructor took did not make sense to me at all! He asked us to draw an easel, which I did, but when he came around to me, he said: “You’re not supposed to draw an easel. You’re supposed to draw shapes and negative space”
Um, o.k. Then he walked around the room, picked up somebody’s drawing and said ” Now, THIS is interesting!”
The person drew a bunch of skewed triangles and squares.
Over the next two hours, he said stuff like this to me : “Forget proportion and proper distance” and “You live 100 years after Picasso. You’re free!”
“Free”, meaning to make crazy shapes and not do what I really want to do, which is realism and eventually realism mixed with fantasy.
Feeling frustrated, I tried to follow along and draw the friggin’ shapes, but it still wasn’t good enough. “Don’t close the shapes, he would chastise, “move onto some other object”
Feeling mischievious, I started to draw some bored guy in the class and he tsk tsk’d “No!”
Some middle aged woman also decided to join in and literally got right in my face and said:
“Think of the Italian sculptors!”
You mean like Michelangelo? Because he spent years studying the human form. As the teacher continued to lecture me, she also decided to pick at me, which was very annoying and gave me the urge to stab her with my pencil and ask the instructor: “So is THIS art? I call it ‘ Annoying Suck-up makes “interesting” shapes with her blood on the floor”” LOL
Anyways, after putting me on the spot and asking me what I thought of everyone’s drawings, I replied that they reminded me of spearheads, city plans or childrens blocks, he said not to associate them with anything “outside” the class. He asked to see examples of my work so I showed him some earlier sketches and he said “Good, good. But these are scientific, not artistic.”
Yeah, I think they are artistic, since I created them using my own perspective and experiences and took the time to study each subject. I didn’t just draw a crooked triangle and say: “Done! That’ll be a million dollars please!” LOL
Now, in all seriousness, I respect abstract/cubist art, but it is not for me. (Or at least some of it isn’t for me) I didn’t get the ‘Voice of Fire’ when I saw it at the National Gallery, not do I feel any type of connection to art of a similar nature.
If other people want to make art this way, fine, but art ultimately is up to the individual. Everyone draws/paints/sculpts how they feel most comfortable. The role of the instructor is to strengthen that voice, not try to weaken it by having them imitate an art style that is not their own.