Three Weeks – Feels Like Three Months

Three weeks ago, I packed my Prius and headed north on I-25, rolling over the hills and plains of Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota, traveling 500 miles.  Just before I reached Canada, I turned east and drove another 500 miles. Gradually the prairie gave way to clusters of trees, and I found myself passing through familiar territory of my hometown.  There, I visited my family before continuing the final 75 miles to Duluth, MN.

Today, we finished our first week of class, and I’m exhausted.  Standing in front of an easel for 7 hours a day, copying drawings, measuring angles, distance, space, and line, we search for errors of millimeters, all in preparation for working with a model in October, where fractions of inches and angles make a difference.

Work in progress – Bargue copies

Maintaining Focus

One of the greatest challenges is maintaining focus for lengthy periods of time.  Luckily, the time is punctuated with short lectures and critiques.  We generally slip on our headphones and get lost in a world of line and shape, coming up for air at lunchtime.  Occasionally there’s a mutter as we talk to ourselves, or a sigh of frustration as we miss our mark.

Slowly, we are developing our ability to see and enable our hands and pencils create the mark we want. Paper, pencil, eraser.  The simplest of tools that provide the foundation for great works of art.  What will we do with those tools?  Where will this path lead? 

“Bad attitudes and poor life skills are more detrimental to you being a successful artist than faulty shapes, values or color.”

Much like learning to play the piano, we start with the basic notes, finding our own version of middle C with a plumb line.  From there, we practice scales and small melodies of abstract shapes.  To move into chords, we must first master the basic notes.  And to do that, we must practice, and practice, and practice.

First, I will sleep.  Have a great weekend, friends.

Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art in the refurbished St, Peter's Church built in 1926.
Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art in the refurbished St, Peter’s Church built in 1926.

PS: It’s been raining all week.  Waves of water and wind.  Definitely not sunny Colorado. Thank goodness for Amazon delivery.  My vitamin D arrived Tuesday.

4 Responses

  1. Laura
    | Reply

    Wow, that sounds intense!! I’m super impressed that you were able to take the time to share how things are going. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Warm (and dry!) Colorado Wishes,

    L 🙂

    • nelia
      | Reply

      It’s quite the start! I’m excited to see the progress that the students have made in such a short amount of time. Missing all of you in sunny CO though!

  2. Paul Lane
    | Reply

    I’m so glad to know you Nelia. Your journey is taking you to places unknown and undiscovered, both literally and figuratively. Thank you for sharing this snippet of your experiences. I look forward to seeing more of your craft and knowing more about you.

    • nelia
      | Reply

      Thank you Paul. I’m glad you are enjoying my work. I appreciate your kind words.

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