Review and paintings by Liezl, Watercolor Academy Correspondence Course student
I loved drawing as a child, but after some bad remark from a teacher, I quit drawing. I started drawing again about 10 years later, but went to university and gone another direction, putting drawing on ice once again. It is now years later, and I decided to give it another try.
I attended contemporary art classes, but they taught how to be creative, instead of teaching proper drawing skills, and painting techniques. I also went for a portrait workshop where we learned how to copy photo references.
I think my biggest challenge was to understand that they were teaching to paint shapes of values to form a picture. Almost a paint-by-number exercise. I wanted to draw a proper linear drawing, but was told that I wouldn't learn it there. Rendering tonal values became a mountain for me.
I one day came across the Drawing Academy, but soon realised that I had so many missing gaps in my skills. I needed tutoring to learn the fundamentals from the beginning. The Life Drawing Academy was launched and I enrolled for the Correspondence Course.
When the Watercolor Academy was introduced, I just knew I wanted to learn watercolors, although I learned to paint in oil previously. I am now a correspondence student of the Watercolor Academy as well.
I told my personal tutor, Vladimir London about the challenge I have with rendering tonal values. Vladimir explained that before applying tonal values, an artist should make good constructive drawing. One first needs to "build the house" before "decorating" it. I realised that my previous teachers neglected teaching me skills like: measuring with a pencil, drawing objects as if they were transparent, contours, proportions, perspective, and anatomy. These things need to be in place before rendering tonal values. I am now in the process of learning these things.
When I checked the video about what Russian art students learn, I realised that my drawing skills were at level zero. I am currently busy learning the proper skills of drawing. My personal curriculum, which was custom-designed by the academy tutors, serves as a goal statement for me. Skills are not a vague concept hanging in the air anymore. I can measure my skills against this document. The other day my tutor told me that my skills are getting better. It is more meaningful in this context, than people looking at one's art and giving a personal opinion e.g. saying it is beautiful.
My art education is still in progress, but it is wonderful to watch how tutor is painting and demonstrating, before I have to do the tasks. My previous art teacher never demonstrated "the how to". I had to "discover it" myself.
About the tasks in the correspondence courses. Every task comes with very clear instructions in writing, including the objectives of the task, methods to be used, step-by-step guidance, as well as what needs to be reported.
Vladimir London is always ready to help. He replies to my e-mails the same day. In these e-mails, he helped to clear some misunderstandings I had from previous learning. He answers me on every art related question I have. He is also ready to help whenever I struggle with a task. Vladimir is very patient; he always identifies something positives in my artworks and also points out my mistakes.
I have to make each task with good quality before the next one is given, and this creates a professional standard to achieve.
I definitely recommend both the Life Drawing Academy and the Watercolor Academy Correspondence courses.
Here are my two paintings. It is mixed media, the underpainting was done in watercolor over texture paste, followed by a glaze in oil.
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